Okra might be the most conventional vegetable but it is rich in vitamins and minerals. There are several health benefits of lady finger. It is a rich source of dietary fibre. Some of the lady finger benefits are that it is anti-inflammatory, reduces blood sugar, improves bone health, helps conceiving, relieves constipation, home remedy for cold and flu and also reduces the risk of colon cancer. Okra also reduces cholesterol, prevents obesity, boosts immunity, cures ulcers, prevents anaemia and improves vision.
Some of the okra health benefits are listed below:
Lower Cholesterol Level
Okra contains soluble fibre pectin which helps to reduce serum cholesterol. This helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases and prevents atherosclerosis. The mucilage of okra eliminates the bile acids and bad cholesterol by binding with them.
The mucilaginous fibre content in okra adds bulk to the stools. It works as a natural laxative and helps to regulate bowel movements, relieves constipation and reduces other gastro intestinal issues such as stomach bloating and cramps.
Okra is a good source of vitamin A, beta-carotene and other antioxidants. These improve vision and other issues such as glaucoma and cataract. This also helps to inhibit eye related illnesses.
Improve Heart Health
The soluble fibre content in ladyfinger is help to lower cholesterol naturally. This reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease. Including okra in your diet will efficiently manage the cholesterol level in the body due to the pectin. It improves heart health by modifying the bile creation in the intestines.
Okra is an excellent immunity booster due to their high vitamin C and antioxidant content. The essential minerals in okra promote healthy immune system by fighting against harmful free radicals.
The alkaline mucilaginous content in okra is speed up the healing of peptic ulcers by neutralizing the acids. The mucilage provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive track and aids in curing ulcers.
Improve Skin Health
Okra is rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. This helps to quick healing, reduces appearance of scars and wrinkles. Vitamin C in okra acts as a skin detoxifier. It helps to heal body tissues, reduce acne, psoriasis, prevents skin pigmentation and other skin ailments.
Vitamin K in okra is a co-factor in the process of clotting blood. This along with folates strengthens bones, restores bone density and prevents osteoporosis. Okra also contains calcium which helps to maintain healthy bones and regulate heart rhythms, cholesterol levels and blood pressure as well.
Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Okra is rich in insoluble fibre which helps to clean the intestinal tract, thereby decreasing the risk of colon cancer. The antioxidants in okra protect the immune system against free radicals, thus preventing cell mutation.
Rich Protein Source
Okra seeds are rich in protein with a perfect balance of dietary fibre and amino acids cysteine, lysine and tryptophan.
Okra is high in dietary fibre and low in calories. The fibre keeps you fuller for a long time, which helps in diet control and prevents obesity. Okra is low in calories but loaded with nutrients that provide nourishment to the body.
The mucilaginous quality of okra makes it an excellent remedy for treating common cold and flu at home. A decoction made from flowers and leaves of okra is used in the treatment of pneumonia and bronchitis.
Vitamin C in okra prevents skin pigmentation, reduces acne, repairs body tissues, help to cure psoriasis and other skin conditions. The fibre in okra eliminates toxic waste from body and helps in the detoxification process.
Acts as Probiotic Feed
Probiotics in the intestines flourish on okra which helps to maintain the intestinal tract healthy. As in case of yogurt, it helps in the biosynthesis of vitamin B complex in the small intestines.
Hair Grow Benefits
The mucilaginous content in okra is highly beneficial for hair grow. Okra acts as a wonderful hair conditioner, as a moisturizer for dry, itchy scalp and helps to get rid of dandruff.
Benefits of Okra for Diabetes
Medical research on okra for managing diabetes is still in nascent form. In Turkey roasted okra seeds have been used for a long time for diabetic treatment. It has proven to show positive effect on reduce blood sugar. Studies on pregnant rats with gestational diabetes have shown improvement in their blood sugar levels with okra water.
Okra is treated as a healthy food choice as it is low in calories and high in dietary fibre. It contains Calcium, Potassium and Vitamins B, C and Folic acid. Studies suggest that okra helps in blood sugar management is cases of Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Okra is used for medicinal purposes in various forms as okra water, powdered seeds and okra peels. Okra is beneficial for diabetes management due several nutritional advantages. Some of the benefits of okra for diabetes are listed below:
#1. Dietary Fibre
Okra is rich in dietary fibre. Eight medium-sized okra pods are found to contain 3 grams of dietary fibre. Since they are high in fibre content, eating okra keeps you fuller for a long time, controls hunger and aids in digestion. Such high fibre foods are important part of the diabetic food plan and dietary treatment for diabetes. Research reveals that increased intake of dietary fibre promotes better glycemic control and thus improves insulin sensitivity.
#2. Lower Cholesterol Levels
Researches on lab mice have revealed that okra has managed to lower their cholesterol levels. Okra can be recommended for diabetics for their antioxidant properties and high content of dietary fibre. Diabetics are likely to have high cholesterol levels. Including okra to the diabetic diet proves beneficial.
#3. Reduces Stress Level
Okra seed extract have a stress reducing effect in the bloodstream of lab mice. Increase in stress levels may cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Okra and its seeds extracts may be included in the diabetic treatment plan for improving mental health and reducing stress levels.
#4. Reduce Fatigue Level
Studies reveal that by including okra in diet fatigue level can be improved. Active lifestyle with cardiovascular workout, a healthy exercise routine and recovery time after exercise all can be enhanced by okra. This is an essential part of prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Common Methods of using Okra for Diabetes Management are as below:
a) Okra Water
The most popular form is including okra for diabetes management is drinking okra water. It is suggested that regularly drinking okra water reduces the symptoms of diabetes. It can be prepared by soaking the okra pods in water overnight. Due to this some of the nutrients in the okra skin and the seeds are absorbed in the water. Okra pods can also be sliced and soaked in water, but this may taste bitter.
b) Okra Peel and Powdered Seeds
Traditionally okra peel is used for medicinal purpose. Just a teaspoon of shredded okra peel is beneficial for your entire body. Dried and powdered okra seeds are found to be beneficial as a supplement for diabetes management.
Okra can’t be considered as a replacement for insulin. It can be concluded that okra can be a part of diabetes management, but cannot be labelled as cure for diabetes.
Okra Nutrition Facts
Okra is highly nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals. Okra is low in calories and has a high content of dietary fibre. It is a great source of folates, potassium, calcium and vitamins B and C. Almost half of the nutritional content in okra is soluble fibre in the form of gum and pectin.
Following are the Okra Nutrition values of 100 g fresh raw okra:
- Energy: 33 Kcal (1.5% RDA)
- Carbohydrates: 7.03 g (5.4% RDA)
- Proteins: 2.0 g (4% RDA)
- Total Fat: 0.1 g (0.5% RDA)
- Cholesterol: 0 mg (0%)
- Dietary Fibre: 3.2 g (9% RDA)
- Folates: 88 ug (22% RDA)
- Niacin: 1.000 mg (6% RDA)
- Pantothenic Acid: 0.245 mg (5% RDA)
- Pyridoxine: 0.215 mg (16.5% RDA)
- Riboflavin: 0.060 mg (4.5% RDA)
- Thiamine: 0.200 mg (17% RDA)
- Vitamin C: 21.1 mg (36% RDA)
- Vitamin A: 375 IU (12.5% RDA)
- Vitamin E: 0.36mg (2.5% RDA)
- Vitamin K: 53 ug (44% RDA)
- Potassium: 303 mg (6% RDA)
- Sodium: 8 mg (0.5% RDA)
- Iron: 0.80mg (10% RDA)
- Magnesium: 57 mg (14% RDA)
- Calcium: 81 mg (8% RDA)
- Copper: 0.094 mg (10% RDA)
- Phosphorus: 63mg (9% RDA)
- Selenium: 0.7ug (1% RDA)
- Zinc: 0.60 mg (5.5% RDA)
- Manganese: 0.990 mg (43% RDA)
It is recommended to include okra in your diet because of the several health benefits. Okra can be prepared in several ways and numerous recipes are easily available. No doubt okra should be considered as the best natural vegetable with medical benefits and a must on the list of super foods!