Okra is one of the best medicinal vegetable, that hasn’t got its due sometimes due to its taste. Read this article to understand why this is unarguably one of the best natural veggies to add to your wonder list and diet today!
What is Okra?
Okra, also known as “lady’s finger”, is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the Malvaceae (mallows) family and named scientifically as Abelmoschus esculentus. One of most nutritious vegetables around Okra is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions around the world for its fibrous fruits or “pods”. The pods are handpicked while just short of reaching maturity and eaten as a vegetable.
Why you should include Okra in your diet?
Okra has a long list of health benefits:
1. Rich Fiber Source: Okra’s rich fiber content helps in better digestion, and regularization of bowels. The soluble fiber, Pectin, swells up in the intestine and helps in easier elimination of the wastes from the intestine.
2. For Diabetes: It has insulin-like properties that help to reduce blood sugar levels. Eugenol, a type of fiber found in Okra, helps to stabilize blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
3. For Pregnancy and Fetal development: Abundant Folates in Okra, not only help in conceiving but also in fetus’ brain development, prevention of miscarriages, formation of the fetal neural tube, and preventing any defects in the tube.
4. For Strong Bones: Vitamin K is a co-factor in the vital blood-clotting process and along with Folates, restores bone density, strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis.
5. For Asthma: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Okra, and rich vitamin C content, curtail the development of asthma symptoms and prevent fatal attacks.
6. Respiratory soother: A decoction of leaves and flowers of Okra are used in treating bronchitis and pneumonia. Its mucilaginous (slimy, gluey) quality makes it an excellent home remedy for treatment of common cold and flu.
7. Relieves Constipation: The rich fiber and mucilaginous content in Okra pods help increase stool bulk, facilitate proper absorption of water, bind to toxins, lubricate the large intestines, and ensure easy bowel movements, with its natural laxative properties.
8. Treats Sun strokes: Those suffering from summer heat and sun strokes should include Okra in their diet. Relieves from weakness, exhaustion, and overall depression.
9. Lowers Colon cancer risk: The insoluble fiber found in Okra cleans out the intestinal tract, decreasing the risk of colon-rectal cancer. The high antioxidants in Okra helps protect the immune system against harmful free radicals and prevent mutation of cells.
10. Prevents Obesity: Okra provides minimum calories, the fiber helps in keeping you full for longer, and the abundant nutrients nourish you.
11. Lowers Cholesterol: Okra contains soluble fiber pectin, which helps in lowering the serum (bad) cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis. It does it by altering the production of bile in the intestines and aiding in elimination of deposited cholesterol and clots.
12. Skin Detoxifier: Fiber aidstoxic waste cleansing and Vitamin C aids in repairing body tissues, preventing skin pigmentation, reducing acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
13. Lively Hair: The transparent mucilage imparts life and bounce to unruly, curly and lifeless hair. It acts as a great hair conditioner, scalp moisturizer for dry and itchy scalp, fights dandruff and lice, and adds a youthful sheen to your hair.
14. Detoxification: Okra’s fiber not only aids the stool function but the mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid, ejecting toxins, dumped into it by the filtering liver.
15. Immunity Booster: The high antioxidants and vitamin C content make Okra a good immune booster food. Other essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, calcium and iron fight against harmful free radicals and promote healthy immune system.
16. Clear Vision: Okra contains beta-carotenes (precursor of vitamin A), xanthin and lutein, all antioxidant properties, preventing eye problems like cataract and glaucoma.
17. Prevents Anemia: Iron, Folate, and Vitamin K aid in hemoglobin formation, blood coagulation, and red blood cells production, providing a supreme defense against anemia.
18. Cures Ulcers: The alkaline mucilaginous content helps neutralize acids and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract speeding up the healing of peptic ulcers.
19. Treats Genital Disorders: Okra increases sexual potency and is beneficial in treating genital disorders like syphilis, gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, dysuria and excessive menstrual bleeding.
20. Rich Protein Source: The seeds of Okra are an excellent source of first-rate vegetable protein and oils, enriched with amino acids like tryptophan, cystine and other sulfur amino acids.
21. Feeds Blood Network: Studies show that eating plenty of flavonoid and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, such as Okra helps to support the structure of blood capillaries.
22. Probiotics Feed: Good bacteria (probiotics), in intestines, thrive on Okra, contributing greatly to the health of the intestinal tract. It helps biosynthesis of Vitamin B complex, similar to how yoghurt serves the small intestine.
If you want to get healthy from the inside out this is one food that you should not miss out on.