Okra, commonly known as ladies’ fingers is a warm-season vegetable. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Okra belongs from the same plant family of mallow as cotton and hibiscus. The geographical origin of okra is widely disputed between West Africa, Ethiopia, and South Asia. It grows in tropical and subtropical regions around the world like the southern part of the United States, parts of Africa and the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and South America. The term “okra” commonly refers to the edible seeds of the plant.
It is highly rich in nutrients and considered an important dietary vegetable in many countries. It offers a range of benefits for our health
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the nutritional value of okra per 100 grams is as follows-
- 33 calories
- 1.93 gm protein
- 0.19 gm fat
- 7.45 gm carbohydrate
- 3.2 gm fiber
- 1.48 gm sugar
- 31.3 mg vitamin K
- 23mg vitamin C
- 57 mg magnesium
- 82 mg of calcium
- 60 micrograms (mcg) folate
- 36 mcg vitamin A
So as we can see it is low in calories and has high dietary fiber content. Okra is also suggested by doctors to include in the diet of those persons suffering from high blood sugar levels and diabetes. Okra also contains some amounts of iron, phosphorous and copper. Okra is a rich source of antioxidants. It also contains Oligomeric catechins and flavonoid derivatives both of which have been known to fight cancer. Apart from this, it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits of including okra in diet
- Helps in stress management
Okra seeds are rich in antioxidants which help in reducing stress. It is very beneficial for people suffering from diabetes as high stress can increase diabetes.
- Anti-fatigue benefits
It helps to overcome fatigue and depression. By including okra in your daily diet you can be more productive at work.
- Known to cure cancer
A type of protein called lectin found in okra fights against breast cancer.
Must during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Okra contains folate which prevents fetal problems during pregnancy.
- Improves heart health
A high level of fiber also helps prevent heart-related diseases.
- Fights osteoporosis
As okra is rich in vitamin K it is good for the bones. Vitamin K helps bones absorb calcium.
- Improves gastrointestinal health
The presence of dietary fiber in okra prevents constipation and keeps the digestive system in good shape.
Okra for controlling asthma
High content of vitamin C prevents asthma. According to a study conducted in 2000 and published in the journal, Thorax found that citrus fruits and okra which contain high levels of vitamin C prevent wheezing symptoms of asthma in childhood.
Okra for diabetes
People can keep diabetes under control with a range of therapies and medications. Some treatments include directly injecting insulin in the blood to keep insulin hormone levels in our body under control. Research has also shown that many people with pre-diabetic conditions can prevent the condition from worsening to acute diabetes through dietary changes and exercise.
If doctors provide medicines they take time to act. Also, some medicines have side effects that will worsen the condition of the diabetic patient. But if you using medicament in a proper way then it’s not giving more side effects. You can use ketosteril for asthma treatment. Even with medicines, it is suggested to keep a diet under supervision as given by a pediatric doctor and doing some exercises to keep a check on blood sugar level.
Increased absorption of sugar by muscles
In 2017 a study was conducted which investigated the effects of okra on rats with diabetes. A substance called myricetin is present in okra which helps to keep diabetes under control. The researchers isolated myricetin from okra and gave it to the rats. It was observed that there was an increased absorption of sugar by the muscles thus lowering blood sugar levels. The same action has also been seen occurring within humans. It had been also found that okra reduces the absorption of metformin a drug used for curing diabetes. People having metformin drugs should consult doctors before trying okra as a natural remedy to fight diabetes.
Okra for reducing cholesterol
Cholesterol is a substance produced by our body for hormone production but too much quantity of cholesterol in our body increases the risk of heart diseases as it forms a plaque in our arteries. Okra is rich in dietary fibers which help in digestion and lowering cholesterol levels in our body. Fibers that do not dissolve in water and do not get digested binds with cholesterol and is extracted out in the form of wastes.
100 grams of okra contains about 3 grams of fiber. It also contains very little fat which induces high cholesterol. Increasing the amount of low-fat food like okra in your diet helps to check cholesterol. It is also rich in vitamin C and phytosterols which reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Buying and using okra
Okra is a common and cheap vegetable found in markets. Choose the ones which are firm to touch and avoid the shriveled and soft ones. Okra should be stored in a dry place and avoid washing before use. It is best to cover them with paper or store them in a plastic bag to prevent them from becoming slimy and moldy. Remember to consume okra within 3-4 days.
Preparing okra water
Drinking okra water is a popular method and does not require cooking.
Step1. Cut 2-3 okras into small pieces.
Step2. Put the freshly cut pieces of okra in a glass of water.
Step3. Allow the okra pieces to soak overnight by keeping it in a cool place.
Step4. Remove the okra pods from the water by using a filter.
Step5. Drink the water in empty stomach in the morning. It may have a slightly bitter taste.
You can also be preparing delicious okra recipes like spicy roasted okra, grilled okra with parmesan and lemon, okra and prawn soup etc.
Okra is a green vegetable with multiple health benefits. It’s very useful for asthma solution. IF you want to get more information about asthma treatment then click here. It is cheap and can be cooked in a variety of ways. It is recommended to include okra in your diet daily.