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10 Health Benefits Of Okra That Are Overlooked

Written by Nagina Abdullah
Rajeev Kurapati MD, MBA practices Hospital Medicine and also serves as the Medical Director of Integrative Oncology at a large healthcare organization in Kentucky.

Fact Checked. Our dedicated editorial team tirelessly evaluates every article we publish to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date and free of bias.

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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[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] This means you can add another spoonful to your dish and still see the numbers on the scale fall.[4]

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.[5]


Furthermore, okra has a gastroprotective effect against ethanol and may help to prevent gastric ulcers.[6]

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.[7])

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]


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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

Bottom Line

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


[1]New York Times: Okra’s Triumph of Taste Over Texture
[2]Mayo Clinic: Weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories
[3]International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition Engineering: The Comparative Assessment of Nutritive Values of Dry Nigerian Okra ( Abelmoschus esculentus ) Fruit and Oil
[4]Nutritionix: Orka
[5]Molecules.: Okra (Abelmoschus Esculentus) as a Potential Dietary Medicine with Nutraceutical Importance for Sustainable Health Applications
[6]Pharm Biol.: In vivo anti-ulcerogenic effect of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) on ethanol-induced acute gastric mucosal lesions
[7]Molecules: Phenolic Compounds, Antioxidant Activities, and Inhibitory Effects on Digestive Enzymes of Different Cultivars of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus
[8]Int J Biomater.: The Effect of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) Seed Extract on Human Cancer Cell Lines Delivered in Its Native Form and Loaded in Polymeric Micelles
[9]Biotechnol Lett.: Lectin of Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) promotes selective antitumor effects in human breast cancer cells
[10]Journal of Biology & Biology Education: Okra Polysaccharides Improves Spleen Weight and B-Lymphocytes Proliferation in Mice Infected by Staphylococcus aureus
[11]Randomized Controlled Trial: Anti-hyperglycemic effect of Abelmoschus culentesus (Okra) on patients with diabetes type 2: a randomized clinical trial
[12]Skincare Awareness: Amazing Benefits Of Okra/Lady’s Finger For Skin, Hair And Health.
[13]Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: Okra ( Abelmoschus esculentus Linn) inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory mediators in BV2 microglial cells
[14]Food Hydrocolloids: Composite materials based on okra hydrocolloids and hydroxyapatite
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