Okra Nutritional Value: Nutritional Benefits and Health Benefits of Okra
by Sourav RC
Health Benefits of Okra.
Okra is a flowering plant of Malvaceae family. It is known for its edible green seed pods. This plant has been cultivated for centuries, and it belongs to the same plant family as Hibiscus and Cocoa. Okra is native to Africa and was a very popular food in Egypt at the times of Cleopatra. It is later spread rest of the world. Today, okra is a popular vegetable in Indian subcontinent, eastern Mediterranean region and also in the Japan, US and Caribbean islands. Okra has some health benefits as well. Health benefits of okra come from its significant amounts of nutrition.
Okra Nutritional Value:
First of all it is very low in calories (i.e. 30 cal per 100 g). Also, okra does not contain any kind of saturated fats and cholesterol. Okra is a good source of dietary fiber, minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It also contains protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and folic acid or folate. It contains Vitamin B6 as well. According to the experts okra is a very good food for the pregnant women. Because folic acid is good for pregnant women as it prevents birth defects. Wheat Foods Council recommends that boiled okra is very good for pregnant women.
Health Benefits of Okra:
1. Okra is good for preventing diabetes. The mucilage and dietary fiber in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Regular intake of okra can help to get rid of diabetes. One can soak okra in a glass of water overnight and drink the water on empty stomach in the morning. By doing it on regular basis one can reduce blood sugar levels remarkably.
2. Okra is known for lowering cholesterol. Dietary fiber in okra is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. It also reduces triglyceride levels as well.
3. It is a good food for digestive system. It regulates digestive system and binds cholesterol and bile acid, so that cholesterol and other toxins can be flushed out from the body.
4. Okra prevents atherosclerosis. Vitamin C in it protects from oxidative damage of cells, thus prevents blood vessel damage and plaque build up.
5. Insoluble fiber in it is good for intestinal tract which is helpful in preventing colon cancer or colo-rectal cancer.
6. The laxative properties, fiber and water content- all of these are really good for preventing constipation. High Pectin foods like okra are very good to deal with constipation.
7. High antioxidant properties in okra such as Vitamin A, lutein make it a very good food for eye health or vision. Vitamin A is important for skin as well.
8. Okra helps to treat lung inflammation and cancer; it also helps to treat oral cavity cancers.
9. Folate content in okra is responsible for preventing birth defects. It is a good vegetable during pre-conception period.
10. It is said that okra is a good food for brain or mind. It helps to come out of depression, exhaustion and mental weakness.
11. The seeds of okra contain oleic acid (the same fatty acid found in olive oil and canola oil) which is excellent for reducing blood pressure levels.
12. It is a good food to ease painful joints. Okra is considered as a good food for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia.
13. It’s a good food for leaky gut syndrome. It helps to soothe and coat the intestinal lining which helpful in treating leaky gut.
14. It is a vegetable that helps to heal many digestive disorders and it might prevent stomach ulcer as well. The alkaline pH of okra neutralizes the digestive acids and prevents gastro-intestinal ulcers.
15. Like lung inflammation it can also treat sore throats.
16. It can be complex replacement of human blood plasma.
17. Vitamin C in it helps to promote immunity and prevents from cold, flu and infections.
18. Okra is for weight loss. That means okra helps to lose and maintain weight. High fiber content keeps one full for a longer time. The low glycemic index of okra also helps in weight loss.
19. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of okra makes it a good food for asthma. It helps prevent developing the risk of asthma.
20. It’s a good food for summer and treats and prevents sunstroke.
21. It’s a good vegetable for spreading good bacteria or probiotics.
22. It’s a very good food for skin. Vitamin C plays an important role in it. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties protect from skin ailments like pimples other skin blemishes.
23. Okra is good for the eyes and it reduces the risk of developing cataract. Lutein rich foods are very good to protect eye problems and diseases including cataract, macular degeneration and age related macular degeneration (ARMD). Okra can preserve vision and protects from eye problems.
24. Regular consumption of okra provides protection against Trans fats.
25. Capillaries are minute blood vessels connecting arterioles with venules. Vitamin C rich foods like okra help to support the structure of capillaries.
In addition, okra is a good vegetable for decreasing Multiple sclerosis (MS) risk.
Vitamin K in Okra
According to USDA, okra contains high levels of Vitamin K. Vitamin K rich foods helps in blood clotting, protects heart from coronary disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Vitamin K is very good for bone structure as well.
Okra has been used in traditional medicines. It can be used as home remedies for many health problems and diseases. Fresh and immature okra pods are great for health. It can be eaten raw and should be cooked as little as possible. Normally okra contains no side effects and it’s a non-toxic food.