Okra belongs is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the Malvaceae family and named Abelmoschus esculentus and is grown in tropical and warm regions. It is mainly found in Africa, South America and the Middle East. The health benefits of okra are that they have a medicinal impact on the body as well as have a high nutritional value. It is known as “okra” or “lady’s finger” commonly. It can be cooked in different ways like boiled, steamed, fried, etc. Okra mucilage is used in China for sizing glazed paper products. In the Caribbean, okra is served with fish in soup while in the Middle East; okra is known as bamiya and cooked with beef or lamb. In India, it is made into spicy dishes in various ways. It can also be used in salads.
32 Health Benefits Of Okra
1. Prevents Obesity
Okra is rich in fiber and therefore can help in aiding digestion and also is necessary for protecting against obesity. It gives a feeling of satiety and also is low in calories. It also is high in nutrition which is a major problem in people with obesity.
2. Low Glycemic Index
Low glycemic index foods are necessary in people suffering from diabetes. As per medical standards, the glycemic value of okra is 20 which is considered to be very low.
3. Rejuvenated The Skin
One of the health benefits of lady finger is that it can benefit the skin a lot. This is because it helps in repairing skin damages and also helps in promoting the formation of new skin cells. It also helps in preventing skin pigmentation.
4. Treats Urinary Tract Infection
The leaves of okra are good natural remedy for treating urinary tract infections. The juice of lady’s finger helps in treating tract infections like gonorrhea, syphilis and other problems that cause painful urination.
5. Promotes Bone Health
People that have a lower bone density due to various bone conditions; can start adding okra to their diet. It helps in increasing bone density and also helps in preventing age related bone problems.
6. Boosts Memory
Okra has a good amount of folate present in it which helps to improve your memory. This helps in stimulating the brain functions and also helps in protecting the brain against neuro-degeneration and dementia.
7. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
One of the health benefits of okra is that they help in maintaining blood sugar levels. A study showed where rats were given liquid sugar as well as purified okra through a feeding tube. The rats that consumed okra showed a reduction in their blood sugar level after feeding and this indicated that the okra inhibits the absorption of sugar in the intestines. Thus, it can be beneficial to people who suffer from diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
8. Improves Diabetes
The benefits of okra for diabetes are many as they can help reduce blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and are high in fiber. Okra has been believed by researchers to inhibit the absorption of sugar in the intestines. Also myricetin a compound from okra is known to researchers to decrease blood sugar levels. A study has shown where myricetin when given to rats helps to increase sugar absorption in muscles while lowering it in the blood. Thus, it helps to reduce the complications in diabetes.
9. Improves Digestion
It helps in promoting digestive health by aiding in better digestion. This is due to the fact that it has high amounts of fiber present in it.
10. Relieves Constipation
Okra contains soluble and insoluble fibers that helps in absorbing water in the stools and hence makes them easier to pass through the colon. Thus, it relieves the pain that can be caused due to chronic constipation.
11. Promotes Intestinal Health
One of the health benefits of okra is that it promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria that are harmless and do not cause infections in the gut. These bacteria help to promote better digestion and protect the digestive tract from infections.
12. Helps In Bowel Movements
Okra helps in promoting regular bowel movements. Thus, it helps in preventing bowel conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and others.
13. Prevents Stomach Ulcers
The mucilaginous content present in okra, helps in lining the stomach with a protective coat. This helps in preventing stomach ulcers that can be caused by infections or stomach acid.
14. Relieves Respiratory Ailments
Okra is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C. This vitamin helps in fighting off respiratory infections and also helps in protecting against conditions like asthma or reducing their symptoms.
15. Anti Aging
Okra health benefits the body by providing the body with essential nutrients like antioxidants and phytonutrients. They helps in slowing down the process of cellular aging and thus promoting organ health. They contain powerful agents like vitamin C, lutein, xanthin and beta-carotene that prevent cell damage.
16. Improves Eye Health
Vitamin A and beta-carotene are crucial for vision and both of them are present in okra. It helps in slowing the ageing process of cells present in the eye and thus prevents conditions like macular degeneration and others with improving eye health.
17. Boosts Immunity
Okra contains high amounts of vitamin C which helps fight infections caused by bacteria. It helpful in mostly fighting common colds and coughs. Thus, it naturally helps the immune system to fight against infections.
18. Prevents Hemorrhoids
One of the health benefits of okra is that it helps in protecting the body against unnecessary blood loss. People that bleed a lot from minor cuts and injuries can benefit from okra, as it contains good amounts of vitamin K that is a natural blood coagulant and thereby, prevents blood loss and is good food for hemorrhoids.
19. Neutralizes Free Radicals
Free radicals that are released in the body as cellular wastes or by harmful compounds that enter the body can have detrimental effects on the body. These free radicals can cause cancer and also promote cellular aging. Okra has various minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, selenium, manganese, copper, calcium and iron can help fight against free radicals and neutralize them.
20. Prevents Anemia
Iron deficiency in people leads to a condition of anemia. Okra has good amounts of folate and iron that increases the amount of iron in the system that helps in getting rid of the deficiency of iron in the blood. Hence this is one of the health benefits of okra.
21. Improves Sexual Health In Females
Women that suffer excessive loss of blood during periods. This is due to disintegration of the uterus lining during the menstrual cycles which is known as endometriosis. Thus, it can help promote sexual health in females.
22. Treats Infertility In Males
It helps in regulating the sperm count in males. This can be done so by adding okra to a glass of water and letting them soak overnight and then drinking the juice every morning. This helps in increasing the sperm count and promoting fertility in males.
One of the health benefits of okra is that it can be a used as a natural aphrodisiac. This means that it can enhance sexual stamina as it is rich in antioxidants and minerals.
24. Prevents Birth Defects
Okra can help prevent birth defects caused during pregnancy. Conditions like spina bifida and neural tube issues can be caused due to the lack of folate in the diet of pregnant women. As okra is rich in folate, it can help in promoting healthy foetal growth and reduce defects.
25. Benefits Pregnant Women
Pregnant women may suffer from anemia and also improper brain development in the foetus. This can be prevented by increasing iron and folate in the diet. Okra is rich in both iron as well as folate and therefore, can benefit both mother and child. Okra also contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals that are vital during pregnancy and prevents a miscarriage from occurring.
26. Prevents Skin Infections
Skin infections are commonly caused by bacteria or lack of nutrition. As okra is high in nutritional value and also contains antioxidants that help fight infections; it can counteract on problems like acne, psoriasis, eczema and others.
27. Promotes Hair Growth
One of the okra health benefits are that they help in providing the scalp with the necessary nutrients and minerals. They help fight against bacteria and fungus that cause dandruff. Also they nourish the scalp to get rid of a dry and itchy scalp and promote the growth of hair follicles.
28. Lowers Cholesterol
Okra helps reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol which is termed as ‘bad cholesterol’ in the body. It also promotes HDL levels in the body that helps to greatly reduce the risk of heart problems.
29. Regulates Bile Production
Okra helps to reduce the LDL cholesterol in the body by promoting the bile production the intestines.
30. Promotes Blood Circulation
One of the benefits of lady finger is that it helps in promoting the increase in hemoglobin levels throughout the body. This blood circulates through the organs and also the skin and helps protect them from various health conditions.
31. Prevents Colon Cancer
Okra helps to promote digestion in the digestive tract and allows smooth excretion of stools from the body. This leads to a reduction in the inflammation of the colon and thus prevents the body from colon injuries that may result in colon cancer.
32. Prevents Osteoporosis
Okra is rich in vitamin K. Vitamin K helps the body to better absorb calcium that is crucial in maintaining bone health. People that have low levels of vitamin K or have deficiency of Vitamin K are more likely to suffer from bone fractures. One cup of okra can provide up to 66% of the daily requirement of Vitamin K.
33. Nutritional Value Of Okra
According to the National Nutrient Database, just one cup of okra contains the following nutrition:
- 33 calories
- 0.19g fat
- 1.93g protein
- 3.2g fiber
- 1.48g sugar
- 7.45g carbohydrate
- 88ug folate
- 1mg niacin
- 0.24mg pantothenic acid
- 0.21mg pyridoxine
- 0.06mg riboflavin
- 0.20mg thiamin
- 21.1mg Vitamin C
- 0.36mg Vitamin E
- 53ug Vitamin K
- 303mg Potassium
- 8mg Sodium
- 0.094mg Copper
- 57mg Magnesium
- 81mg Calcium
- 0.80mg Iron
- 0.990mg Manganese
- 0.7ug Selenium
- 63mg Phosphorous
- 0.60mg Zinc
- 225ug Beta-carotene
- 516ug Leutin-zeaxanthin
Thus, adding okra to your diet would be a step closer to a path to good health.