Okra, also called gumbo or lady’s finger, is a tall, flowering plant that is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions around the world. It has been prized for centuries for its edible green pods, which transform into a thick, gooey mucilage once cooked. However, many cultures like to cook okra pods with acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice, which reduces their mucilage and makes them suitable for drier vegetable dishes.
Here are 16 Health Benefits of okra
1- The pods contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta-carotenes, xanthin and lutein. It is one of the green vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
2- The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from within the intestinal tract.
3- The mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
4- It helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. It also binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids), these can cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. It is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
5- The fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
6- A supreme vegetable, used in treating those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
7- Used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
8- Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
9- Has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
10- Normalizes blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
11- Good for asthma, it contains vitamin C which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, curtailing the development of asthma symptoms.
12- It is believed to protect us from some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
13-Eating it helps to support the structure of blood capillaries.
14- Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
15- Help To Prevents diabetes. The superior soluble fiber content in okra shows powerful effects on blood glucose levels as it can help slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
16- Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. Maybe now we can understand the reason why Cleopatra loved it.
If you’ve come across some more interesting uses of okra, please share in the comments section below.