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20 Health Benefits Of Okra That Are Constantly Overlooked

20 Health Benefits Of Okra That Are Constantly Overlooked

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.

Today, it is used in a variety of dishes around the world. In the southern U.S., it is an old favorite for thickening gumbo thanks to its gooey texture when cooked in water. It can also be chopped into stir fries or roasted in the oven for a crispier dish. More and more people are now getting creative with okra as its versatility and nutritional spectrum becomes better known.

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. Here are 20 impressive benefits of the deceptively simple looking okra:

1. It keeps you feeling full

Okra’s dietary fiber helps you feel full for longer, which will keep you from snacking on those stray potato chips after dinner.

2. It’s great for your digestion

The fiber is the main factor here again. High fiber content is great for the digestive tract and keeps you going more regularly. This not only helps keep your weight down, but makes you healthier over all.

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3. It’s a low calorie food

It’s always nice when a food can satisfy your hunger and help you stay trim. The low caloric count of okra means you can definitely scoop another spoonful onto your dish and still see the numbers go down on the scale.

4. It’s a diuretic

That means it helps the body detoxify itself and helps you shed excess water weight. A great weapon in your arsenal for de-bloating!

5. It helps control cholesterol levels

The pectin in okra lowers LDL or bad cholesterol, which improves cardiac function.

6. It’s cancer fighting

Packed with antioxidants, okra can provide much-needed support to cells in fighting off free-radicals that can lead to cancer.

7. It boosts the immune system

The healthy fiber in okra feeds much-needed good bacteria in our intestines, which builds our immunity against viruses and infection.

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8. It supports fertility and healthy pregnancy

The high amount of folates in okra are especially important in a pre-conception diet as it “decreases the incidence of neural tube defects in offspring“. Likewise, eating more folates during the pregnancy helps support a healthy mom and baby.

9. It stabilizes blood sugar levels

Okra’s fiber content is also responsible for slowing down the rate of sugar absorption in the digestive tract.

10. It helps prevent diabetes

Research has shown that in addition to its stabilizing effects on blood sugar, okra actually reduces blood sugar levels and could be an option for diabetes prevention.

11. It helps prevent kidney disease

Studies have shown that eating more okra results in the reduction of kidney damage over time.

12. It may help reduce asthma symptoms

Okra’s powerful dose of vitamin C has been linked to easing respiratory issues like asthma.

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13. It can give you shiny, bouncy hair

Okra boiled, cooled, and mixed with lemon juice can be applied to your hair for a nice bouncy finish. Neat, huh?

14. It’s good for your brain

Okra is believed to be a top brain food and is eaten frequently in the Middle and Far East by students who need a mental boost.

15. It’s anti-inflammatory

That means it’s good for joints, as well as treating lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.

16. It’s good for eye health

Okra’s nutrients like vitamins C and A have been linked to a reduction in the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

17. It supports strong bones

Thanks to its vitamin K and folates, okra has been credited with preventing bone loss and fending off osteoporosis.

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18. It’s great for your skin

The high vitamin C content helps the growth and rejuvenation of skin cells and collagen, which keeps skin looking smoother, younger and healthier

19. It’s a great source of vegetable protein

With 2 grams of protein per cup, okra is an easily-digestible, vegetarian source of filling, fibrous protein.

20. It supports ulcer healing

Okra coats the digestive tract when consumed and helps speed the healing of peptic ulcers.

So whether you’re trying to lose weight, or just eating healthier to feel better and prevent future health issues, okra should definitely make it onto your next grocery list.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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