Okra is rich in Vitamin A and flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein that help to protect us from lung and oral cavity cancers. The folates present in okra help to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects in newborn babies. Consumption of okra helps to improve digestion, vision, skin health and also help to strengthen bones. It also takes care of your heart and the entire cardiovascular system by helping to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It further strengthens our immune system.
Okra or ‘lady’s finger’ or ‘bamia pod’ is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the Malvaceae family. It is a plant of the tropical and warm climates and the plant is highly valued due to its green pods. This vegetable is used in many dishes and cuisines and is rich in nutritional content. There is, however, some debate regarding the origin of this vegetable.
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, pantothenic acid and vitamin B-6. Essential minerals like calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium are present in okra.
Okra contains mucilaginous fiber that helps to move food through the digestive tract as it adds bulk to the stool. This helps to prevent digestive issues like bloating, cramping, constipation and excess gas. It adds bulk to watery stools and even helps to prevent diarrhea. The fiber also helps us to regulate the absorption of sugar in our body as it clears out the excess cholesterol.
Okra is rich in Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants that help to strengthen our body immunity 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 defense mechanisms against foreign pathogens and other materials.
Okra has high content of Vitamin A and other anti-oxidants which act against the free radicals in our body. These free radicals, which are formed as a result of cellular metabolism, can cause harm to the cells which allow us to see. Thus okra helps to protect our eyes against the dangerous effects of these free radicals and prevent the onset of macular degeneration and cataracts.
The high content of soluble fiber in okra helps to regulate blood sugar levels. This helps to manage diabetes as the soluble fiber 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.
The dietary fiber in okla keeps digestive problems at bay and provides you with healthy skin. Vitamin C helps to repair body tissues and help your skin to look younger and more vibrant. The nutrients in okla also prevent skin pigmentation and helps to rejuvenate your skin.
Potassium, present in okla, helps to balance sodium and thus maintains a proper fluid balance in the body. It also helps to reduce the pressure on the cardiovascular system by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries and thereby reducing blood pressure. Blood pressure regulation helps to prevent atherosclerosis and blood clotting.
Containing no unsaturated fats or cholesterol and being very low on calories, okla can be a useful substitute to calorific food if you are trying to lose weight. It is also rich in nutrients and dietary fiber which helps to keep your digestive system in good health. This nutrition-rich food fills you up and prevents you from gorging on unhealthy food and thus helps to fight obesity.
Incorporating okla in your diet helps your body to properly absorb water as this vegetable is rich in a number of essential nutrients. This, in turn, helps the stool to seamlessly traverse the digestive tract and get eliminated.
In tropical countries, okra pods are one of the most widely used vegetables. They can be consumed in a variety of ways – chopped, sliced, stewed or fried. The pods of okra can be pickled and preserved. The leaves of this vegetable are also edible and they are often utilized raw in salads. When okra is boiled with water, a transparent mucilage is formed which can be used to moisturize your hair. It also helps you hair to gain bounce and shine.
It is advisable for people taking metformin not to consume okra as it interferes with the drug’s action. Metformin helps to 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. Therefore okra should be consumed in optimum quantities.
Okra plant is cultivated tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions of the world but its origin is debatable. The Egyptians and Moors had known the use of this vegetable in the 12th and 13th century respectively. It spread to Eqypt from the Arab states while it is believed to have come to Arab from Ehiopia. However, 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. The okra plant is grown in the tropical and warm temperate regions all over the world due to its nutrient-rich pods. It requires a long warm growing season and it is highly sensitive to frost. A temperature of less than 20 degrees celcius is harmful for the seeds. Although this plant can grow in a wide variety of soils, sandy loam and clay loam soils are best suited for its cultivation.