Of Ethiopian origin, the Abelmoschus esculentus or Hibiscus esculentus is known by many names worldwide – okra, kiabo, okro, lady fingers (England), gumbo (USA), quimbombó (Spain), guibeiro (Portugal) , Kacang bendi (Malaysia), and Bhindi, Gombo, and Bendakai (India). The fact that it even has so many names suggests its global popularity and widespread cultivation. The tender, young and seedy pod of the okra plant is consumed as a vegetable in salads, broths, stews and sauteed.
Benefits of the Okra:
Like a series of natural ingredients, scientists are looking back at this proven home remedy. We now have research that supports folklore, which turned out to be the right one. The following are benefits of okra, most of which probably would never have occurred to us.
1. It is Full of Nutrients:
Okra pods are loaded with significant amounts of vital nutrients – protein, fiber, calcium, iron and zinc. Therefore, it is qualified as an effective economic tool capable of treating malnutrition worldwide.
2. Help Control Hunger:
The okra is loaded with soluble fibers. Soluble fiber makes you feel full faster and longer. This can help you keep your calorie intake under control, helping you with your weight loss goals. With a more lasting feeling of satiety, your need for bingeing will be greatly reduced.
3. Avoid Getting Tired:
It is unfortunate how common the word “fatigue” has become in today’s world. What used to be mainly related to age and disease is now a daily struggle for young and healthy individuals. Okra seeds can delay fatigue. They contain antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids that promote glycogen storage in the liver. Glycogen is a reserve of fuel in the body, and more of this means it will take longer to get tired.
“This is the reason why okra is also good for people suffering from depression”.
You can fight the feeling of being inexplicably tired.
4. Control Diabetes Mellitus:
Okra seed and shell can reduce blood glucose levels, making them useful in the control of diabetes mellitus. They do this by inhibiting carbon-breaking enzymes, increasing insulin sensitivity and ensuring that there are enough insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. More insulin and less breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose mean less blood sugar. One study showed that okra seeds prevent the intestinal breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose by inhibiting the enzyme alpha-glucosidase.
5. Stabilize Cholesterol Levels:
The okra promotes the degradation of cholesterol and inhibits the production of fat in the body. Therefore, it lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides and increases the excretion of bile acids (made from cholesterol) in the stool. By regulating blood cholesterol levels, okra can prevent clogging of arteries, protecting us from heart disease such as atherosclerosis.
6. Strengthens Bones and Prevents Excessive Bleeding:
The most abundant vitamin in the okra is the vitamin K. This vitamin helps strengthen bones and promotes blood clotting. Okra, therefore, helps prevent osteoporosis, fractures and excessive bleeding (due to injuries or bleeding disorders).
7. Increase Immunity and Improve Eyesight
Okra contains moderate levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A stimulates the production of white blood cells, key players in your immune system. While infections and diseases make their round in the general population, the okra will equip your body well enough to resist. Vitamin A also helps eye health. If you have weak vision or if you come from a family with a history of weak vision, it makes sense to consume ointment regularly.
8. Prevents Gastritis:
The H. pylori bacteria infect the stomach lining and cause inflammation called gastritis. Okra juice contains non-stick compounds that bind to the surface of bacteria that float freely in the intestine. This unforeseen union blocks the sites of bacteria responsible for attaching to the stomach lining. Indeed, okra juice prevents H. Pylori infections and gastritis. Important note: A concern that arises is whether the nonspecific binding of okra to bacteria can deter normal intestinal bacteria. Additional studies are required to assess whether okra’s benefits outweigh its potential side effects. That said, we can take refuge in the fact that okra has been widely consumed in Asia and Africa for centuries without adverse effects on the digestive system. Children 2 to 5 years are more vulnerable to H. Pylori infections, so it makes sense to make sure they eat ointment regularly.
9. Prevents Liver Disease:
Your liver is the main detoxifying organ of your body. Okra can help ensure that it is protected from diseases. In one study, chemically induced liver disease in rats was effectively counteracted by it. Prior oral administration of okra extracts reduced the effects of harmful free radicals that cause liver disease. It may have done so by stabilizing the liver cell membranes, making them more defensive against intrusive free radicals.
10. Avoid Neurodegenerative Disorders:
Okra can help reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals who are genetically predisposed to it. It can also help prevent other neurodegenerative diseases related to oxidative stress. Imagining how difficult it can be to live with a nervous disorder, this benefit of it is of great preventive value.
11. Kill Breast Cancer Cells:
In one study, an isolated okra lectin was able to instigate cell suicide (Apoptosis) in breast cancer cells. The growth of breast tumor cells was inhibited by a significant 63%. Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women throughout their lives. The incorporation of this in your diet can help reduce this statistic dramatically.
12. Keeps Asthma Symptoms Under Control:
The okra seems to be beneficial for asthmatic patients. It is not yet known exactly how he does it. Some postulate that the high vitamin C content of this is responsible for its respiratory benefits; however, there is no clear correlation between vitamin C and asthma.
How to Consume Okra?
It is safe to say that for the general population, this vegetable has a special flavor. You can incorporate it into your meals with some healthy and attractive recipes for the palate. To maximize the benefits, you can consume the following:
1. Okra Water:
Soak okra pods in a glass of water overnight at room temperature. Some of its nutrients and water soluble compounds will seep into the water. Drain the pod, and drink the infusion of water. Alternatively, you can soak sliced pods instead of whole pods. Keep in mind that the aftertaste will be bitter.
2. Okra Shell:
Using a hand grater or a lemon grater, scrape off the shell of the its pod. Directly consume half a teaspoon of the peel at a time. This is a good way to avoid ingesting the mucilaginous secretion of the okra.
3. Okra Seeds Powder:
It is difficult to manually separate the seeds from the pod and then make a powder. A more pragmatic approach is to buy dry powder okra seeds readily available. Generally, it is advised not to take more than 5 g of this powder in one day. Check the dose with your doctor, especially if you are taking diabetes medication.
An Interesting Fact:
In addition to the wide variety of nutrients, it also contains antinutrients that reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. However, the antinutrients are of low concentration and the minerals offered by this vegetable can be easily absorbed and used by the body (the bioavailability of minerals is high) despite them. It can be argued that most laboratory studies that support the statements mentioned above use extracts and compounds isolated from the okra and not from the entire pod. While this is mostly true, natural remedies are the ones that best prove themselves. They have been proven worthwhile and are effective for centuries, unlike antibiotics and medications developed only in the last century or two.