10 Okra Health Benefits
Okra is fast gaining a reputation as a so-called ‘superfood’ for people with or at risk of diabetes or cancer. Commonly referred to as ladyfingers, or by its botanical names Abelmoschus esculentus and Hibiscus esculentus, okra is known to have a positive effect on blood sugar control, among many other health benefits.
What is okra?
Okra is a tall-growing vegetable that traces its origin from ancient Ethiopia (Abyssinia) through to Eastern Mediterranean, India, the Americas, and the Caribbean.
Parts of the plant (immature okra pods) are widely used vegetables in tropical countries and are typically used for making soups, stews or as a fried/boiled vegetable.
1. It is excellent for your digestion
The fiber is the main factor here again. High fiber content is great for the digestive tract and keeps you going more regularly. This not only helps keep your weight down but makes you healthier overall.
10 Benefits of eating okra
2. Beneficial During Pregnancy
The folate in okra makes the vegetable quite beneficial during pregnancy. Folate has been found to reduce congenital disabilities in babies (11).
Okra also contains vitamin C, a nutrient that boosts iron absorption. Iron is an essential mineral during pregnancy as it enhances blood health and promotes the baby’s growth and development. The growing fetus and placenta also require it – and to increase the maternal red cell mass (12).
3. Okra Helps Treat Diabetes
The fiber in okra scores the most points here. Eight medium-sized okra pods contain over 3 grams of fiber – which is a lot.
Adequate fiber intake has shown to boost digestion and cut down cravings. It keeps you full for long periods.
Fiber-rich foods are particularly suggested for patients with diabetes. This is because increased fiber intake has shown to control blood sugar levels and even improve insulin sensitivity.
Okra also contains myricetin, a substance that can increase sugar absorption by the body’s muscles. When this happens effectively, there are low sugar levels in the blood.
4. It helps prevent kidney disease
Studies have shown that eating more okra results in the reduction of kidney damage over time.
5. It’s anti-inflammatory
That means it’s good for joints, as well as treating lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
6. It supports strong bones
Thanks to its vitamin K and folates, okra has been credited with preventing bone loss and fending off osteoporosis.
7. It supports ulcer healing
Okra coats the digestive tract when consumed and helps speed the healing of peptic ulcers.
So whether you’re trying to lose weight, or just eating healthier to feel better and prevent future health issues, okra should make it onto your next grocery list.
8. Protects your heart
The fiber in okra can help lower bad cholesterol levels – and this invariably contributes to heart health. High-fiber foods, like okra, also cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Pectin is one of the essential fibers in okra – it modifies bile production within the intestines, thereby lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Okra is rich in magnesium as well, a mineral known to regulate blood pressure levels – protecting the heart by cutting down the risk of stroke.
9. Can Boost Skin Health
This is particularly true with vitamin A and beta-carotene in okra. Studies show that beta-carotene can help prevent skin damage and boost skin appearance.
Topical application of vitamin A was also found to fight wrinkles and fine lines. That’s about the benefits of okra. Apart from what you read, there are other nutrients in this veggie that contribute to its greatness.
10. Prevent Obesity
Another fantastic use for the polysaccharides found in this tubular veggie is to help regulate metabolic disorders and obesity that is induced by high-fat diets. The constituents of okra can accomplish this by helping maintain blood glucose levels, body weight, improved glucose tolerance, and an overall decrease in the amount of bad cholesterol.
Some of our Okra recipes you may like.