Okra: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Okra: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

Okra, which is commonly used in cooking in a number of countries, is actually a star among herbal medicine.

It looks like a pepper with the green color and mild taste.

There are some different names of this plant around the world, but one of the most popular is lady’s fingers. Okra is the most common name in the United States only.

Meanwhile, scientists often call it “Abelmoschus esculentus”.

The origin of this plant is still unknown, but some evidence showed that it originated from South Asia or West Africa.

Nowadays, okra appears in numerous cuisines, whether in China or in the Carribean.

People can choose to eat okra raw or combine it in daily cooking.

In many cultures, people even transform it into vegetable oil which provides  a lot of applications.

One of top explanations for the popularity of okra is that it is very beneficial for human health.

And before digging deeper into okra health benefits, we should spend a couple of minutes on studying okra nutrition facts.

Nutrition Facts

Okra - Nutrition Facts

Despite its small size, okra contains in itself many nutrients that play an essential role in maintaining our well-beings.

One of the most important features in okra nutrition facts is its richness of fiber and vitamins.

There is a wide range of vitamins in okra, from A, B, C to E, K.

In addition, minerals are an indispensable part of okra nutrition. Some of the most typical minerals are calcium, potassium, zinc, or magnesium.

And they all contribute to okra health benefits on human beings.

Health Benefits of Okra

This article will shed light on top 6 health benefits of okra that have been known for centuries.

However, only when the technology has allowed people to analyse okra nutrition can scientists jump into the final conclusion.

1. Digestion

Perhaps when you read okra nutrition facts, one of the very first health benefits of okra that comes to your mind immediately is related to the digestive system.

It is because of its abundance of fiber.

Yes, it is completely true!

The association between fiber-rich foods and the improvement in digestive tract has been well-known for long (1).

Fiber stimulates the digestion of foods inside the body, adding bulk to your stools.

As a result, your bowel movements will be much easier and smoother.

It means that you can protect yourself from constipation or gastrointestinal issues (2).

Bottom Line: The richness of fiber in okra nutrition enables it to save you from many digestive problems, from constipation to diarrhea.

2. Eyes

Okra - Eye Health

There is a considerable amount of vitamin A in okra, in addition to many antioxidants.

These qualities are responsible for one of the best health benefits of okra, which is to improve the eye health.

Undeniably, when it comes to vitamin A, people will think of positive impacts on the vision (3).

However, what makes okra more special is the presence of antioxidants, especially lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotenes.

Many studies suggested that lutein and zeaxanthin are beneficial to prevent eye problems happening when people get older (4) (5) (6) (7).

These antioxidants have powerful effects on the elimination of free radicals which might damage your body cells (8).

Bottom Line: Containing much vitamin A and antioxidants, namely, lutein and zeaxanthin, okra can foster your eye health and prevent eye problems in elderly people.

3. Skin

Antioxidants, like zeaxanthin and lutein, have great effects on not only the eyes but also the skin.

This statement is convincing thanks to numerous studies.

Therefore, it is undoubted that skin improvement is also among top health benefits of okra (9).

As mentioned above, free radicals in the body might lead to the destruction of cells and they are one of the main causes for aging signs on the skin (10).

Antioxidants you get from okra and other foods can hinder the activities of free radicals.

In other words, okra can provide you a quick relief from wrinkles and other skin problems, such as acnes.

In order to help your skin profit more from okra nutrition, you had better apply these following steps several times per week.

  • Prepare two cups of okra which is chopped before.
  • Mix it with two glasses of water.
  • Boil the mixture for about 15 minutes and then, steep it in the next 10 minutes.
  • Okra pods should be taken out and combined with a carrier oil.
  • The paste should be applied on the skin in about 15 minutes before you use water to clean it.

Bottom Line: Antioxidants from okra take part in the protection against aging-related problems on your skin health.

4. Immunity

Okra - Immune System

Besides antioxidants that bring cardiovascular and aging-protective advantages, okra still contains many other great nutrients.

One of them is vitamin C which is responsible for okra health benefits on the immune system.

For long, vitamin C has been famous for its stimulation in the production of white blood cells and the fight against pathogens as well (11) (12).

Therefore, including okra in your diet will enable you to strengthen your immune system, which protects your body from bacteria and virus.

Bottom Line: With the abundance of vitamin C, okra serves as a great contributor to a stronger immune system.

5. Lower Blood Sugar

When it comes to the influence of foods on the blood sugar level, people often refer to the glycemic index (13).

The lower the score is, the healthier the food is to the blood sugar level.

Interestingly, the score for okra is quite low – only 20.

Therefore, one of top health benefits of okra is to stablize the blood sugar level.

This means that diabetic patients can be relieved to use okra without worrying about unwanted effects.

According to the Journal of Pharmcy and BioAllied Sciences, with antihyperlidiemic and antidiabetic qualities, okra is effective to cope with diabetes in rats.

Another research in 2011 conducted by ISRN Pharmaceutics indicated the effectiveness of okra in lowering glucose absorption.

As a result, the blood sugar level will be reduced significantly.

Bottom Line: With the low score of the glycemic index and its antidiabetic property, okra can be a great relief from high blood sugar level.

6. Heart Health

Okra - Heart Diseases

Okra health benefits on the blood sugar level are important for the heart health.

In addition, benefits of okra on our heart are also shown in its ability to lessen the blood pressure.

This quality mainly comes from okra nutrition which consists of much potassium.

Potassium that balances sodium plays a vital role in the balance of fluid in your body (14) (15) (16).

Potassium is also necessary for preventing the malfunction of arteries and blood vessels (17).

Thus, less pressure is put on the blood, which prevents cardiovascular disease effectively.

Bottom Line: The richness of potassium is one of the main reasons for okra benefits on the heart health.

Side Effects

Even though orka brings many health benefits to us, it is worth mentioning the fact that it accompanies with side effects as well.

The presence of oxalates in orka is a big concern that any consumer should pay attention to.

Oxalates might have negative impacts on those with kidney problems or gall stone.

Besides, if you consume too much fried orka, the intake of cholesterol will become excessive, which might be even life-threatening.

Therefore, it is imperative to keep an eye on the dosage and method of using orka on a daily basis so that you can benefit most from it.

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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