Originating from Ethiopia, okra, also known as “Lady’s Fingers”, is a bright green subtropical vegetable. Okra has a distinct taste that livens up a number of dishes ranging from Southern gumbo to Indian okra curry. Each pod can reach lengths of 3 to 10 inches, and has a sweet taste and a distinct texture depending on how you choose to prepare it. The seeds within okra are sometimes even ground, toasted, and used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute.
Not only is okra delicious, but it is great for your body and mind! Keep reading to discover the amazing health benefits of okra.
Full of Fiber
This unique veggie is a very rich source of fiber, and can assist in maintaining your digestion. This study states that a “very high-vegetable fiber intakes reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and possibly colon cancer”.
Stabilizes Sugar Levels
Similar to kiwi, okra is especially beneficial to those who are having trouble managing blood glucose levels. Another study has proven the effect okra has on regulating diabetes mellitus and also helps decrease the amount of cholesterol and lipids within the blood.
There has been promising research that correlates eating okra with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. When you regularly consume this vegetable, it reverses the damage that may be caused by oxidative stress in your brain.
Another amazing use for the polysaccharides found in this tubular veggie is to help regulate metabolic disorders and obesity that is induced by high-fat diets. The constituents of okra can accomplish this by helping maintain blood glucose levels, body weight, improved glucose tolerance, and an overall decrease in the amount of bad cholesterol.
While this research is ongoing, this study highly suggests that there is an inverse effect of folate on the risk of cardiovascular disease. The folate present in okra can protect your heart by increasing the production of nitric oxide and attacking harmful superoxide radicals.
Lack of Lethargy
Okra contains a high level of polysaccharides, which are the healthy long-chain carbohydrates, and are evident for prolonging the swimming time of sperm in vivo. Polysaccharide also increase the amount of glycogen within the liver, which aids in energy storage. Research has also proven that increasing your intake of okra has had anti-fatigue effects on humans.
The seeds within okra are what carry the most amount of anti-oxidant and anti-fatigue effects, so don’t pick them out! Scientific evidence proves that the seeds work their magic by reducing harmful levels of blood lactic acid and urea nitrogen. Who knew that okra had such powerful anti-oxidizing effects!
Each half-cup of cooked okra provides 37 micrograms of folate, which aids in metabolizing carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Folic acid, also known as vitamin B-9, is essential to include in your everyday nutrition, since it allows your body to generate new cells and can also prevent harmful damage to the DNA that may lead to cancer. Some studies even show that folic acid helps decrease the risk of birth defects in expectant mothers, and is commonly included in prenatal vitamins.
An extract of okra has been proven to have protective properties for the liver by reducing damage caused by certain chemicals. Increasing your intake of okra may help yield lower inflammation levels and even lower risk of necrosis of the liver due to its high anti-oxidants.
Just half of a cup of this delicious vegetable of the mallow family provides 1.5 grams of protein. There are various ways to prepare this tasty meat substitute for those who choose to follow a vegetarian diet, here is a flavorful way to prepare okra curry that is vegan friendly.