We all know that vegetables are one of the healthiest foods in the food pyramid. However, not all vegetables are capable of giving the same amount of nutrients and vitamins to the body. Most of us think that green leafy vegetables are the ones that can provide the most benefits. However, other vegetables like okra can also be recognized as one of the most useful and beneficial. But what are the okra health benefits?
Okra, which is otherwise known as lady’s fingers or gumbo in many English speaking countries, is a type of a flowering plant that is categorized under the mallow family. This plant is valued for its edible green seed pods that are called okra fruits. This vegetable is originated from Africa and is now cultivated in many tropical, subtropical and warm temperate countries all over the globe. These days, the rural area of Kami in Japan is known to be the world’s most productive land of okra and is considered by many locals as their secret in having good health.
Aside from its many benefits in health, okra is also considered beneficial in promoting ones youthfulness. Because of this, many historic and beautiful women all over the world such as Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China are known lovers of the said vegetable.
Nutritional Benefits of Okra
Okra is a very good source of many vitamins and minerals. This type of vegetable is rich in vitamins A and C, which is very good for immunity, eyesight and skin health. Aside from this, okra also contains iron and calcium. This plant is also rich in starch and ash as well as thiamine and riboflavin, which are types of vitamin B. It’s no wonder why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei are considered some of the world’s most beautiful people.
For half a cup of sliced and cooked okra, the total calorie count is only 25. It contains 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1.52 grams of protein, 5.76 grams of CHO or carbohydrates, 460 IU of vitamin A, 13.04 mg of Vitamin C, 36.5 micrograms of folic acid, 50.4 milligrams of calcium, 0.4 milligrams of iron, 256.6 milligrams of potassium and 46 mg of magnesium. For a cup of raw okra, it contains 33 calories, 3.2 grams of fiber, 0.1 gram of fat, 2.0 grams of CHON or protein, 7.6 grams of CHO, 660 IU or vitamin A, 21 mg of vitamin C, 87.8 mcg of folate and 57 mg of magnesium.
Other Health Benefits of Okra
- The fiber found in okra is very essential in stabilizing the blood sugar as well as curbing or slowing the rate at which the sugar is absorbed in the body through the intestines.
- The mucilage in okra helps bind cholesterol and bile acid carrying all the toxins dumped into the filtering liver.
- Okra also helps in the lubrication of the colon due to its large bulk laxative properties. The fiber likewise absorbs water thus ensuring bulk in the stool. This prevents the body from experiencing constipation unlike other oats and wheat bran that can cause irritation to the intestinal tract. The mucilage of okra soothes as well as facilitates elimination properly.
- Okra is considered non toxic and has no adverse reactions to the body. This is also very affordable compared to other vegetables or over the counter medicines.
- The fiber is also a good material for feeding the probiotics or the good bacteria. This improves the overall wellness of the GIT.
- Okra is also very useful against fatigue, exhaustion and depression.
- This is a good remedy for ulcers and is an effective agent in keeping the joints limber. This likewise helps in neutralizing the acids and serves as a temporary protective coating of the GIT. Okra likewise helps in the treatment of lung inflammation, sore throat and IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
- It is used effectively in experimental blood plasma replacements and is good as a summer heat treatment.
- Okra is also helpful against asthma. The vitamin C component of this vegetable is considered an anti oxidant and carries an anti-inflammatory property, which helps in the prevention of the development of the symptoms of asthma.
- Okra is also good for people with atherosclerosis.
- This food likewise prevents the spread of certain cancers, particularly colorectal cancer.
- Increasing okra in the diet also supports the development or the formation of the structure of the capillaries in the body.
- This also lowers the risks of having cataract formations.
- Since it controls the blood sugar level in the body, okra is considered a good food against diabetes.
- Okra helps in the prevention of pimples as well as the maintainance of smooth and beautiful looking skin.
- Okra is also a good protection against trans fat.
These are just some of the many health benefits of okra or lady’s finger to the body. A lot of people may not be appealed with the slimy mucilage of okra. However, eating this can offer us a lot of advantages to our health. This makes okra one of the healthiest vegetables all over the world.