Okra is a fruit/vegetable typically grown and largely consumed in African and south Asian countries.
Although some people are absolute lovers of this vegetable, others outrightly dislike it – mainly because of it’s slimy, goey texture when cooked.
Yet still, hating okra is not enough reason to cut it away from your diet. Okra is packed with a concentrated variety of nutrients that you could never have guessed and these nutrients give off useful benefits to the body when eaten.
Here are a few health benefits of including okra in your family meal plan.
- They contain several nutrients
Okra is a brilliant source of protein, carbohydrates, folate, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, K and B6. The nutrients help to improve overall immune function, aid weight management and boost bone health.
- They have high amount of antioxidants
Studies show that a regular consumption of polyphenol-rich foods can actively lower an individual’s risk of blood clot and oxidative damage – luckily, okra contains concentrated amounts of polyphenols. Polyphenols also boost brain health and cognitive functions.
- They help lower the risk of heart problems
Mucilage is a gel-like substance found in okra and it is said to bind with cholesterol in the gut, upon digestion, and cause it (the cholesterol) to be excreted alongside stools rather than being absorbed into the body. Low levels of cholesterol in the body in turn lowers the risk of developing heart diseases. The polyphenol content of this vegetable also helps to fight against inflammatory markers, which are known to affect the heart.
- They possess anti-cancer properties
It contains, lectin, a protein known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the body. Although more research needs to be conducted as regards the certainty of this effect, individuals who regualrly ate okra were found to be less prone to cancer risks than others.
- They could assist in lowering blood sugar
Studies have shown that eating this vegetable can significantly assist in blood sugar control because it reduces the rate of sugar absorption in the digestive tract.
- Lowers the risk of Neural Tube Defect in Pregnant women
Pregnancy is a very delicate stage and as such, needs to be treated with utmost care and attention. Folate is one nutrient that is vital for pregnant women because it helps to lower the risk of developing neural tube defect, known to affect the brain and spine of a growing fetus.