Okra, also known as lady finger or gumbo, dates back to antiquity and is believed to have originated in Africa. It is a highly nutritious tiny vegetable that has numerous beneficial effects on the human body. Consuming okra on a regular basis can greatly improve your health and your overall well-being.
But let’s see why are okra health benefits so highly appreciated and widely know.
1. Okra is an Extremely Rich Source of Fiber
It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. The fiber and the mucilaginous content in Okra provide many important health benefits that are absolutely worth mentioning.
- Soluble fiber (mucilage) binds to bile acids in the intestines and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, as well as metabolic toxins.
In this way it reduces the risk of heart disease and carries harmful toxins out of the body, while lubricating the digestive tract.
- The okra fiber helps prevent flatulence and constipation, by absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools.
- The high content of fiber found in okra helps regulate blood sugar levels, by slowing down the intestinal absorption of sugar, and thereby the release of sugar into the system.
- The Okra fiber has also an excellent ability to propagate the formation of good bacteria, i.e. probiotics, within the intestines. In this way it contributes to a healthy intestinal tract.
- Okra is very efficient in protecting the intestinal membrane, and thereby decreasing the risk of inflammations that can lead to certain forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer.
2. Okra Helps Maintain the Acid-alkaline Balance in the Body
- Being highly alkaline in nature, okra can be very useful in neutralizing acids in the digestive tract, and thereby very helpful in preventing ulcers.
3. Okra Contains High Amounts of Vitamin A and Antioxidants
- Okra is extremely rich in flavonoid antioxidants such as beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein, which together with vitamin A help keep up a healthy vision. They act to protect the retina and prevent eye cataracts. This is one important okra health benefit.
- Vitamin A has also many other important health benefits, one of them being skin repair and maintenance
4. Okra is Rich in B-complex Group of Vitamins
- Another okra health benefit lies in its high content of niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. Adding this vegetable to your diet will help maintain your nervous system healthy, while reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
- Okra is also an excellent source of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folate is extremely important during pregnancy, for it helps prevent neural tube defects in babies.
5. Okra is a Rich Source of Vitamin C
- A cup of okra pods contains 26.1 mg of the antioxidant vitamin C, which corresponds to 36% of the required daily intake. Vitamin C is important for building a strong immune system. It keeps infections at bay, protects the body against free radicals, and reduces the risk of many diseases.
6. Okra Provides Good Amounts of Vitamin K
Vitamin K helps build and maintain strong bones and is essential for the production of blood clotting proteins that control bleeding.
7. Okra Contains Also Many Important Minerals
Okra is a good source of minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium that are essential for many bodily functions.
8. Okra Helps Lose Weight
- Okra contains 35 calories per cup. It has no salt and no saturated fats, and is cholesterol free.
- Okra is high in fiber, which helps keep the intestinal tract in good shape and increases the sense of satiety.
- Okra is a nutrient rich food that provides our body with numerous vitamins and minerals, without adding any extra calories to our meals. This makes it an excellent food in weight loss diets and programs.
Other Okra Health Benefits
- Okra is also used as a blood plasma replacement or blood-volume expander.
- Okra helps prevent asthma symptoms.
- Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, okra can help prevent the formation of cancerous cells.
- Okra reduces the risk of heat strokes.
- Okra helps maintain the skin healthy and smooth, and free of acne and blemishes. It is said that Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat plenty of okra!
Ready to get your daily supply of okra? Please, write in the comment section below and let us know what you think. Have we missed any of its benefits?