Discover the Surprising Health Benefits of Okra- you won’t believe what we found!
Okra, also known as lady’s fingers, is a popular vegetable in many parts of the world. It’s a rich source of vitamins and minerals and has been associated with several health benefits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the health benefits of okra and what the research says about them. It’s a keto diet-friendly food.
Nutritional value of okra
Okra is a low-calorie vegetable that’s high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of raw okra contains:
- 33 calories
- 7.6 grams of carbohydrates
- 2.0 grams of protein
- 0.1 grams of fat
- 3.2 grams of dietary fiber
- 36% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C
- 14% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A
- 11% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K
- 10% of the daily recommended intake of folate
Okra is also a good source of other essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Surprising Health benefits of okra
Below are a few surprising health benefits of okra you never know.
1. May help lower cholesterol levels
Several studies have shown that okra may help lower cholesterol levels in the body. Okra contains soluble fiber, which can bind to cholesterol in the digestive tract and prevent it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that rats fed a high-cholesterol diet supplemented with okra experienced a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels.
2. May improve digestion
The high fiber content of okra may also improve digestive health. Fiber helps to bulk up stools and promote regular bowel movements, which can prevent constipation and other digestive problems. Okra also contains a gel-like substance called mucilage, which can soothe and protect the digestive tract.
3. It Manages Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by high levels of blood glucose, which can lead to various health complications if not managed properly. Okra has been found to be beneficial in managing diabetes due to its high fiber content.
Fiber is essential for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels as it slows down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. Okra contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, making it an excellent food choice for individuals with diabetes.
Furthermore, okra contains a compound called myricetin, which has been found to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels in the body. By improving insulin sensitivity, okra can help individuals with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels.
4. It Boosts Immunity
The immune system plays a vital role in protecting the body against infections and diseases. Okra contains various nutrients that can help boost the immune system, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and zinc.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to various health complications. Okra contains high levels of vitamin C, making it an excellent food choice for individuals looking to boost their immune systems.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes, which act as a barrier against infections. Okra is a rich source of vitamin A, making it an excellent food choice for individuals looking to boost their immune systems.
Zinc is a mineral that is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. It helps in the production of white blood cells, which play a vital role in fighting infections. Okra is a good source of zinc, making it an excellent food choice for individuals looking to boost their immune systems.
5. May help manage blood sugar levels
Okra may also be beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences found that okra extract helped to reduce blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes. The study authors suggest that okra may help to increase insulin sensitivity and improve glucose uptake in the body.
6. May have anti-cancer properties
Some studies have suggested that okra may have anti-cancer properties. Okra contains compounds called flavonoids, which have been shown to have anti-cancer effects in test-tube studies. However, more research is needed to determine whether these effects translate to humans.
7. May support healthy skin
Okra is a good source of vitamin C, which is important for healthy skin. Vitamin C helps to promote collagen production, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin texture. Vitamin A, another nutrient found in okra, can also help to improve skin health by promoting cell turnover and reducing inflammation.
How to incorporate okra into your diet
Okra can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming, boiling, frying, and grilling. It’s often used in stews and soups, and can also be pickled or eaten raw in salads. Here are a few ideas for incorporating more okra into your diet:
- Add sliced okra to vegetable soups or stews
- Roast okra in the oven with a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings
- Make a spicy okra stir-fry with onions, garlic, and chili peppers
- Try pickling okra for a tangy, crunchy snack
Okra is a nutritious vegetable that offers several health benefits. It may help lower cholesterol levels, improve digestive health, it also potentially manage blood sugar levels, have anti-cancer properties, support healthy skin, manages diabetes, boost immunity etc. With its high fiber content and rich nutrient profile, okra is a great addition to any healthy diet.