Okra is a funny little green vegetable with a funny little name. A small, spear-shaped green veggie with a mild taste, okra resembles a pepper and has been cultivated as a food source for hundreds of years.
Because of its gooey texture when cooked in water, it is an old favorite for thickening gumbo in the southern United States. It can also be chopped into stir fries or baked for a crisper dish. As the versatility and nutritional spectrum of okra become more widely known, more people are getting creative with it.
While okra might be easy to overlook in the produce section, don’t overlook it in your health and weight-loss regimen. Okra packs impressive amounts of nutrients into its little pods.
10 Health Benefits Of Okra
Here are 10 impressive benefits of the deceptively simple looking okra:
1. Help With Weight Loss
Foods that are high in fiber, such as okra, take longer to digest than foods that are low in fiber. As a result, they stay in your stomach for longer, making you feel fuller for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to experience hunger pangs or snack cravings in between meals.
Unlike most fruits and vegetables, okra is low in calories and high in protein. This means you can add another spoonful to your dish and still see the numbers on the scale fall.
2. Great For Digestion
Okra is high in insoluble fiber, which is essential for maintaining healthy digestion. Fiber helps to bulk up your stool and promotes waste movement through your intestines. This can help prevent constipation and other digestive issues like bloating and gas.
Furthermore, okra has a gastroprotective effect against ethanol and may help to prevent gastric ulcers.
3. Help Control Cholesterol Levels
Okra contains mucilage, a type of soluble fiber that aids in cholesterol reduction.
Mucilage binds to bile acids in the digestive tract and transports them out of the body, forcing the liver to use cholesterol to produce more bile acids. This procedure can aid in the reduction of total cholesterol levels.)
4. Help Prevent Cancer
Okra is high in antioxidants, which are compounds that help prevent cell and DNA damage by neutralizing harmful free radicals. This can help to reduce the risk of cancer cell development.
Okra also contains lectins, which are proteins that have anti-cancer properties. Lectins have the ability to inhibit cancer cell growth and induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells.
5. Boost the Immune System
Okra has a high fiber content, which can aid in the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is necessary for a robust immune system.
Okra is also high in vitamin C, which helps the body produce white blood cells to fight infections, and high in antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavonoids, which help to protect cells from damage and support the immune system.
6. Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Because okra contains soluble fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar from your intestines, it helps to prevent blood sugar spikes and promotes more stable blood sugar levels, as well as preventing diabetes.
7. Good For Your Skin And Hair
Okra is a great moisturizer for dry and itchy scalps, leaving hair soft, bouncy, and shiny.
Vitamin C, which is present in okra, helps in tissue repair and preserves the appearance of young skin. This, in turn, helps to keep your skin younger and more vibrant.
8. Enhance Brain Health
Okra has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat anti-neuroinflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which are mediated by microglial cells.
9. Promote Eye Health
Okra is high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both of which are antioxidants that can help prevent age-related vision problems like Macular Degeneration and Cataracts.
The presence of vitamins A and C in okra also helps to support healthy tissues in the eyes and mucous membranes, protecting against health problems associated with eye infections.
10. Strengthen Your Bones
Okra is a great source of calcium and vitamin K, which can protect against osteoporosis and slow down bone loss.
In fact, according to reports, okra hydrocolloids have the potential to serve as a foundation for the development of prosthetics and scaffolds for bone and cartilage engineering.
Okra is a high-nutritional-value vegetable with numerous health benefits. It is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, all of which can help with digestion, immunity, and overall health. If you haven’t tried okra yet, think about including it in your meals as a tasty and nutritious addition to your diet.
Featured photo credit: Neha Deshmukh via unsplash.com