Okra, also known as Gumbo or Lady’s Finger, is a vegetable used in many famous food dishes. An absolutely tasty food fit when on a diet or filling an empty stomach. The health benefits of Okra include the treatment of various illnesses especially, diabetes.
Okra is a nutritional powerhouse known throughout history for its culinary and medicinal uses. The infamous gumbo dish and other modern food preparations still use Okra. The pod-producing vegetable is native to tropical regions. It dates back 3500+ years ago; Nowadays, many find the vegetable palatable.
Health benefits of Okra are similar to that of Kiwi. It is abundant in Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Its folate content may not be as high as that of kiwi, but Okra is known to possess a very high fiber content. It aids digestion and facilitates the rate of sugar absorption, which leads to the stabilization of blood sugar level in the body.
Surprisingly, Okra is highly advisable for those medically diagnosed with diabetics. It may be taken on a daily basis to assist in controlling blood sugar naturally. It’s suitable for people who prefer natural treatments, such as vegetables, for treatment rather than take medication. Apart from all that, there is so much more to this simple vegetable.
Nutritional Value of Okra
Okra provides nutrition value depending on the amount eaten, and how it’s ingested. There are some key compounds that stay the same. Some of the Okra’s vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients are highlighted below, based upon 1 cup of Okra or 100g:
- Zeaxanthin, Lutein – 516 μg. micrograms
- Manganese – 15% RDA (Recommended Daily Value), 0.3 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin B6 – 9% RDA, 0.2 mg
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 4% RDA, 0.9 mg
- Vitamin A – 6% RDA, 283 international units
- Vitamin C – 27% RDA, 16.3 mg
- Fiber – 10% RDA, 2.5 grams
- Beta Carotene – 225 μg
- Folate – 11% RDA, 46 μg
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) – 9% RDA, 0.1 mg
- Magnesium – 9% RDA, 36 mg
- Vitamin K – 50% RDA, 40 μg. Okra’s Vitamin K form is referred to as Vitamin K1. K2 is another beneficial form of Vitamin K. It is advisable to avoid K3, the synthetic form of Vitamin K.
You may learn more by having a peek of Okra’s general nutritional profile from the Nutrient Database of USDA.
Health Benefits of Okra
Again, Okra is abundant in many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Okra owes its astounding health benefits to these constituents. Below is an enumeration of the health benefits of Okra:
1. Helps in Diabetes Prevention
Okra owes its ability to help prevent diabetes to its nutrients and superior fiber content. It can make the body’s blood sugar stay at normal levels.; thus, it helps diabetic patients normalize their blood sugar content.
2. Promotes Colon Health
The dietary fiber that Okra possesses is high. The digestive system and the colon benefit from Okra’s dietary fiber. It helps in cleansing and the gastrointestinal system; thus, it makes the colon function properly and effectively. Our helps in maintaining the healthy functioning of the digestive tract. Okra also comprises of Vitamin A, which helps in keeping the mucous membranes healthy.
3. Promotes Skin Health
Vitamin C, found in Okra, is a skin-friendly vitamin. It is responsible for keeping your skin healthy and younger-looking. Vitamin C helps in repairing and growing tissues of the body, affecting skin pigmentation and collagen formation. In addition, it supports the rejuvenation of damaged skin.
If you want to use Okra for topical purposes, it needs to be boiled. After being boiled, he Okra needs time to cool down. After the Okra is cooled, then you can mash it and have it applied to your face. This makes your skin feel rejuvenated and smooth.
4. Promotes Healthy Pregnancy
Okra also has folate, a significant form of Vitamin B, responsible for cell regeneration and production. The compound is essential for optimal pregnancy. The vitamin contributes to the prevention of spina bifida and other birth defects. It promotes the baby’s healthy growth and development. Another vitamin vital in the development of a fetus is Vitamin C. Fortunately, Okra is high in both Folate and Vitamin C.
5. Helps in Managing Kidney Disease
According to one of Jilin Medical Journal‘s published study in October of 2005 of October, another clever way to prevent kidney diseases is to consume Okra regularly. The study stated that there is a reduction of clinical signs of damage in the kidney for those who followed a regular consumption of Okra than those who strictly followed a diabetic diet.
6. Helps in Managing Respiratory Issues
Okra is able to help in dealing with asthma and other respiratory issues. As mentioned earlier, Okra is rich in Vitamin C. The vitamin contributes in dealing with respiratory problems, like asthma. According to a study by Italian researchers, consuming Vitamin C-rich fruits, even in few amounts, may lessen symptoms of childhood wheezing. Also, vitamin C is effective for those who are already susceptible.
7. Promotes Eye Health
Lutein and Vitamin A are nutrients famous for improving eye health. It is fortunate that okra also happens to possess these remarkable nutrients. Okra is an excellent food source of vitamin A and Lutein.
Cellular metabolism produces harmful free radicals, which are responsible for the degradation of cells. Even those cells responsible for keeping the eye healthy is affected. Lutein is an antioxidant component of Okra. It is a potent compound capable of neutralizing and eliminating free radicals. A diet including Okra improves vision and protects the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.
8. Helps in Cancer Prevention
High in minerals, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, there is no surprise why Okra could be useful in preventing cancer. It needs to be properly cooked before consumption.
In a global list of the leading causes of death, cancer ranks first. The most reoccurring cancer types are colon and lung cancer. The roughage that Okra is made of, contributes in the prevention of cancer, through its antioxidant properties.
9. Boosts Immune System
Antioxidants found in Okra are not only good for cancer prevention, but in protecting the body against free radicals. Vitamin C boosts the immunity of the body, by producing white blood cells that plays an important role in boosting immunity. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system; thus, Okra prevents any compromise in the immune system by inhibiting foreign materials and pathogens from doing so.
10. Ensures Healthy Digestion
You may not like how slimy and gooey Okra is, but the substances in it contribute to a proper and healthy digestion. Okra helps in enhancing the peristalsis movement. Aside from that, Okra is rich in dietary fiber, which promotes intestinal health. The fiber on Okra works as intestinal sweepers for a good bowel movements.