Okra (Abelmoschus esculenta) also known as lady’s finger is a flowering tropical plant with edible seeds pods from (malvaceae) family. Okra is biologically group as fruit but generally eaten as a vegetable. It grows best in warm climates and often cultivated in Africa and South Asia. Okra is low calories but packed with vitamins, minerals as well as compounds.
However,okra seeds contains several nutrients such as: carbohydrates 31%, protein 14%, fibre (soluble) 8%, fat (linoleic, linolenic acid, oleic) 2%.
Okra is packed with the following minerals: zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, sodium, selenium, phosphorus.
Okra contains the following vitamins: folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
Okra is rich in the following compound as well:
epigallocatechin, triterpenes,sterols, tanins, catechins, flavonol derivatives, quercetin, hydroxycinnamic derivatives, pectic rhamnogalacturonan l structure.
Okra Health Benefits
(1) Promote Weight Loss:
Okra is rich in fiber and important nutrients that improve digestion and keep you satiated for a long period of time. It minimizes your food cravings. With regular consumption of either raw or cooked okra, it will help you to shed your weight to a great extent.
(2) Enhance Healthy Digestion:
As a result of soluble fibre in okra, it promote effective digestion and easy bowel movement.
(3) Regulate Blood Sugar / Diabetes:
Okra improve insulin sensitivity and assist in regulating and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Myricetin in okra enhance sugar absorption by muscles and lowering blood sugar levels.
The soluble fibre in okra pod slow down the sugar uptake into the blood. This is done by lowering the levels of sugar absorption from the intestine. It reduces the glycemic load of glucose in the blood that otherwise negatively impact the body function to properly process glucose or sugar resulting in diabetes.
How to Use Okra for Diabetes
Obtain 2 sizeable okra pods wash them and cut off their ends. During the cutting process the pods sticky liquid will ooze out. Do not wash it away. Take a glass cup full of water and drop the pods inside at night and cover it to prevent contamination. In the morning, take out the okra pods and drink the okra water in the glass.
Always prepare fresh okra water everyday to regulate your high blood glucose levels in the morning. Raw or uncooked okra water will help you to stabilize you blood sugar levels than the cooked okra.
(4) Fight Cancer♋:
Okra is packed with polypenol including vitamin A and vitamin C. It contains a protein known as lectin that may inhibit cancer cells growth in humans. Studies using concentrated compounds from okra showed they hinder the growth of breast cancer cells up to 63%. However, more research is needed for descriptive proof of okra cancer blocking properties. Adding okra in your meals also prevent colon cancer and other related diseases to large extent. Folate in okra help in the prevention of risk of different types of cancers.
(5) Prevention of Constipation:
By facilitation of water, okra ensure free bowel movement and disposal by the body and prevent constipation.
(6) Good for Pregnant Women:
Folate in okra reduce neural tube defects in new born baby. This makes it helpful during the preconception period and pregnancy.
(7) Regulate Blood Cholesterol Levels:
Mucilage which is a thick gel-like substance in okra can bind with cholesterol during digestion for it to be passed out of the body. High body cholesterol is a major factor which triggers obesity and heart ❤️ diseases. Okra contains soluble fibre that forms a type of gel inside the bowel that slows down the body absorption of food from the intestine. Soluble fibre lower body cholesterol by drawing bile acids which contribute to high cholesterol. This allows the body to excrete acids out of the system and prevent it reabsorption.
(8) Source of Vitamin K:
Vitamin K is a co-factor in blood clotting process as well as calcium that plays greater role in strengthening of bones in human body. Hence prevent osteoporosis.
(9) Prevention of Kidney Disease:
If you consume okra regularly as well as okra water. It will assist you to prevent Kidney disease. If you’re diagnosed with type – 2 diabetes, kidney problem may not be far from you. Almost half of the diseases related to kidneys are as a result of diabetes.
(10) Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases:
Okra is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium that help in regulating and stabilizing your blood pressure levels. Fibre in okra help in lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol levels in the body. Okra contains polypenol that decrease your risk of heart problem and stroke by preventing blood clots and reducing free radical damage.
Things to Watch Out for:
People suffering from diabetes should be careful when adding okra in their diet. Although okra may be able to assist diabetic people better control their blood glucose, it can also interfere with metformin a medication often used to treat type 2 diabetes.
This write-up is not meant to be a substitute to where the service of dietician or medical professional is urgently needed.