What is Okra?
The Benefits of Okra. Okra or ‘lady’s finger’ or ‘bamia pod’ is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the Malvaceae family. And is highly valued due to its green pods. Widely popular, okra vegetables are used in many dishes and recipes and are rich in nutritional content. However, there is some debate regarding the origin of this vegetable.
Cultivation and Origin of Okra
The Benefits of Okra. Okra, is cultivated in tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions of the world but its origin is debatable. But, the Egyptians and Moors had known and used this vegetable in the 12th and 13th century respectively. But, there are different voices from different parts of the world such as from South Asia, from Ethiopia. And also from West Africa which all claim that this vegetable originated in their respective areas.
The pods of the okra are rich in nutrients. And grown in tropical and warm temperate regions worldwide due to its nutrient-rich pods. It requires a long warm growing season, which is susceptible to frost. A temperature of fewer than 20 degrees celcius is harmful to the seeds. As a result, this plant can grow in various soils. But, sandy loam and clay loam soils are best suited for cultivation.
Nutritional Value of Okra Per 100 Grams
Okra contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals and so is beneficial for your health. Okra is very low in calories and has no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is rich in dietary fiber, mucilage and folates which have a number of pertinent nutritional benefits. Okra is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, thiamine. Also, pantothenic acid and vitamin B-6. Essential minerals like calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium are present in okra.
Health Benefits of Okra
The Benefits of Okra. Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Okra. Also, it can be used with different vegetables easily, and you can use okra in other ways. Such as, you can use okra seeds, and you can even make it juice. And you can boil some okra with water to get health benefits. As a result, this vegetable is very beneficial for older adults.
Helps to improve digestion
Okra contains mucilaginous fibre that helps move food through the digestive tract as it adds bulk to the stool. This helps prevent digestive issues like bloating, cramping, constipation and excess gas. Also, it adds dimension to watery stools and even helps to prevent diarrhoea. And the fibre present in okra also allows us to regulate the absorption of sugar in our body. Because, it clears out the excess cholesterol.
Okra is good for immune system
Okra is rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants that help strengthen our body’s immunity. So then, it does this by acting against the harmful free radicals in our body. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of more white blood cells. which are our body’s primary defence mechanisms against foreign pathogens and other materials.
Okra Benefits for Eyes
Okra has high content of Vitamin A and other anti-oxidants which act against the free radicals in our body. Free radicals, are formed as a result of cellular metabolism. Hence, they can cause harm to the cells which allow us to see.
Okra helps to protect our eyes against the dangerous effects of free radicals and prevents the onset of macular degeneration. And cataracts, so okra also helps with dry eye problems and helps to improve eyesight
Okra Benefits for Skin
The dietary fibre in okra keeps digestive problems at bay and provides you with healthy skin. Vitamin C helps repair body tissues and helps your skin look younger and more vibrant. The nutrients in Okra also prevent skin pigmentation and help to rejuvenate your skin.
Okra for Diabetes treatment & Kidney disease
The high content of soluble fibre present in okra helps to regulate blood sugar levels. This helps manage diabetes as the soluble fibre affects the absorption of sugars in the intestine. This further reduces the chances of developing kidney disease as half of such ailments develop from diabetes.
Okra water for lower blood pressure
Potassium, present in okra, helps to balance sodium and thus maintains a proper fluid balance in the body. Okra also helps reduce blood pressure. Blood pressure regulation helps to prevent atherosclerosis and blood clotting.
Okra water good for Asthma and Constipation
Incorporating okra in your diet helps your body properly absorb water as this vegetable is rich in many essential nutrients. This, in turn, helps the stool to pass naturally and alleviates constipation.
Uses of Okra
One of the most widely used vegetables in tropical countries is okra pods. Often consumed in many ways, such as chopped, sliced, stewed or fried. Besides, okra pods can be pickled and preserved. Subsequently, the leaves of this vegetable are also edible and often used raw in salads. By the way, boiled with water, a transparent mucilage is formed, which can be used to moisturise your hair. It also helps your hair to gain bounce and shine.
Okra Side-Effects & Allergies
It is advisable for people taking the drug Metformin not to consume okra as it interferes with its action. Metformin helps keep sugar levels in control, and okra intake may nullify its effects. Moreover, okra is rich in oxalates which may bind with existing gall and kidney stones and cause them to deteriorate. In this case, okra should be consumed after advice from your doctor.
Okra is a superfood due to its many benefits, especially beneficial for older adults. So then, often, older adults have diets that lack many of the vitamins and nutrients needed to stay healthy. But by using okra, you can help fill that gap, so don’t be shy to try it. Follow this link for some recipes, and there are plenty more online you can find easily.
Important Note *
Remember that everyone is different, and it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.
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