Okra contains health benefits due to its nutrients which are very beneficial. Okra has a lot of minerals and vitamins. Okra can help you in lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, in improving your mood and in regulating blood sugar levels.
In this article, we will show you how to use okra in your diet.
What is Okra?
Okra is plant which can be found in warm climates in South America, the Middle East, and in the southern United States. According to The Encyclopaedia Britannica, okra is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae). The Okra produces large yellow flowers.
Okra can be also found under the name lady’s fingers. Okra is used to thicken many stews, broths, and soups.
Is Okra a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Okra is a fruit, but people eat it as a vegetable.
Okra Benefits & Nutrition Facts
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Okra contain a lots of vitamins and minerals and it should be included in your diet. Okra also contains fiber which improves the digestive system and reduces and the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Rich in vitamin C
Rich in vitamin K
Okra contains vitamin K. This vitamin aids the function of the blood clot and prevents bruising.
Good source of vitamin A
Okra improves you vision due to its source of vitamin A and other antioxidants.
Rich in magnesium
Okra has high levels of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient that gives us energy, controls blood sugar and regulate blood pressure.
Calcium and potassium
Okra also contains calcium and potassium, which helps the health of the bones and regulate muscle function. 3
Good source of folate (B9)
Okra contains great source of vitamin from B group. 100 grams of okra contains around 20% of your recommended daily folate (B9) intake. Folate is essential during pregnancy.
Okra Health Benefits
Let’s take a look into the benefits of the consumption of okra.
Full of nutrients
Okra is enriched with nutrients which are essential for good health.
As per the journal Food Science & Nutrition, okra is a rich source of vital nutrients These nutrients include:4
- Dietary fiber
Including Okra in your diet can help to boost your energy naturally. This is especially important if you suffer from fatigue and if you don’t have energy.
According to a study, published in the journal Nutrients, okra contains anti-fatigue properties. One research discovered that okra seeds have anti-fatigue properties and okra pods are rich in antioxidants.5
Helps lose weight
Okra also aids in losing weight. Okra is full of dietary fiber which provides satiety and fullness.
Controls cholesterol levels
If you include Okra in your diet, you can lower the cholesterol levels.
As per research, published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, okra’s components lower fat cells in the blood. It was also discovered that okra can aids in management of conditions linked to LDL cholesterol other metabolic disorders.6
Regulates blood sugar levels
Okra is helps to prevent blood sugar levels spiking after a meal.
A review of medical literature, discovered that diet full of okra has a hypoglycemic effect. Okra extracts lower levels of glucose in the blood and can be useful in managing type 2 diabetes.7
Lower stress and anxiety and boosts your mood
The Scientific World Journal, showed that Okra can calm you and get you relieved from stress. Okra has an anti-anxiety, anti-stress, and anti-depression effects. What is more dried okra had a similar effect to benzodiazepine drugs that treat depression and anxiety.8
Okra extracts have antidepressant properties, according to research which was taken in 2013.
Protects the liver
Okra can protect the liver and prevents liver disease.
As per study ,published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, okra has an antioxidant effect on liver tissue. In the study, okra aided to stop liver disease and had liver-protective properties.
Treat ulcers & gastritis
Okra is an excellent treatment for gastritis and stomach ulcers. The amount of mucilage in okra aids to glue bacteria in the gut and treat the symptoms of ulcers.
Boosts cognitive power
The health benefits of okra prevent Alzheimer disease and boost your brain’s cognitive functions.
Quercetin and rutin from okra aid to improve learning abilities and reverse cognitive deficits.10
Can prevent symptoms of asthma
Okra can treat symptoms of asthma and other respiratory issues.
The journal Clinical and Translational Allergy , said that okra is one of the fruits and vegetables that can lower asthma symptoms.13 These effects could be due to the raised content of vitamin C in okra, which boost immunity and improve bronchial symptoms.14
Okra also contains properties which can aid against getting cancer. These properties also lower the size of tumors.
Okra Benefits for Diabetes
Okra helps in lowering blood sugar levels. This is especially important if you suffer from type 2 diabetes..
According to The journal IRSN Pharmaceuticals, the okra’s dietary fiber lowers glucose absorption. Also, Okra has been used in treating type 2 diabetes in regulation of blood glucose levels. 17
In 2013, the journal Natural Product Communications , showed that okra’s seed extract can aid in preventing glucose absorption.18
You can manage your diabetes symptoms if you drink okra water.
Safety concerns for people who have diabetes
Although okra is safe for consumption, okra may interact with some medication for diabetes. The journal ISRN Pharmaceuticals discovered that okra can affect the work of metformin hydrochloride. They suggest that people who cure diabetes with metformin don’t intake high quantities of okra.17
Other Precautions with Okra
Gastrointestinal problems. Okra contain high levels of glucose, and if you are glucose intolerant, you may get digestion problem. 19 such as: abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and excess gas. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may worsen their symptoms if the consume okra.
Kidney stones. Avoid okra if you have kidney stones, because okra contains calcium which makes kidney stones. 20
Blood clotting. If you deal with cope with vein thrombosis , always speak with your doctor before using okra for health benefits.
Okra During Pregnancy?
Okra is generally safe for consumption and there are not precautions for pregnant women. However, if you have fructose intolerance, kidney stones and blood clotes, speak with your doctor.
Okra water for diabetes
You can enjoy okra benefits if you consume okra water. Here is how to prepare okra water:
How to make healthy okra water:
- Wash 4 medium size okra pods.
- Slice down both okra pods.
- Split them in half.
- Place in an 8-oz. glass of water and leave overnight.
- The next day, squeeze the goopy substance from the pods.
- Drink this water every day and you will boost your health.
Cooked okra’s health benefits
Here is how to reach benefits from cooked okra:
- Cut the okra before putting it on a dish.
- 30 minutes before cooking, soak the okra pods in lemon juice or vinegar.
- Before cutting and using, wash and dry them well.
- If using okra as a thickener for stews, blanch the whole. Add slices of okra 10 minutes before the cooking finishes.
Other ways to use okra
- Cut okra pods into 1/4-inch slices, dip in some beaten egg and leave them for 5 minutes.
- Use okra pods as side dish with rice and vegetables or meat.