The health benefits of okra include reducing cholesterol levels, enhancing vision, protecting infant health, and boosting skin health. Moreover, it also aids in developing digestive health, inhibiting certain cancers, toughening bones, lowering blood pressure, and developing cardiovascular health. Lastly, it plays critical role in supporting the immune system and protecting heart health.
What is Okra?
Okra, a flowering plant recognized across the globe for names as bhindi or ladies’ fingers. It is most extremely valued due to its seed pods. Its scientific name is Abelmoschus esculentus.
Okra is commonly used in various recipes from the Caribbean to China. Its fame continues to grow mainly because of the extensive use of this vegetable pod. For example, it is commonly-used as an ingredient in soups or as a pickled vegetable for side dishes. It can also be extracted for its oil which makes good part of cooking.
It is uncertain where the definite foundation of this vegetable was. Conflicting studies state that it could have originated from West Africa, South Asia, and Ethiopia. However, its place of origin hasn’t been concluded up to this day.
Due to its wide variety of health benefits, okra offers a lot of alternative uses. Most of these benefits boil down to the plant’s abundance in vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds.
This vegetable holds great amounts of vitamins and minerals. They comprise of vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with minerals, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
In addition, it also holds great amounts of mucilaginous fiber.
Top Health Benefits
Some people hate okra for its slimy texture which is unlike most vegetables. But those who know this plant, love it for many of its healthful benefits.
Okra is rich in digestion-aiding, cholesterol-reducing dietary fiber.
Mucilaginous fiber, like the ones that are present in okra, help carry food through your digestive tract by adding substance to it. This indicates more regular bowel movements and a major decrease in gastrointestinal disorders like cramping, bloating, excess gas and constipation.
Unusually, it helps avoid diarrhea too, since it adds substance to watery stools. Furthermore, fiber aids in getting rid of the body’s excess cholesterol.
Combining both benefits, you prevent a plausible case of digestive issues and ensure optimal heart health when you regularly consume this plant.
Blood Pressure and Heart Health
Okra is an excellent source of both minerals and vitamins, including potassium.
Potassium is a vital part of the human health. The presence of sodium in the body ensures the proper balance of fluids in it. This is due to potassium’s ability to balance sodium. At elevated levels, sodium causes the blood pressure to increase. If unmediated, this could result to the so-called “silent killer,” hypertension.
Moreover, potassium aids in soothing the blood vessels and arteries which lowers blood pressure and reduce the pressure on the cardiovascular system. In the same vein as keeping the body’s fluid in check, relaxed blood vessels ensure a healthy blood pressure which offset potential heart conditions.
As such, a healthy inclusion of this veggie in the diet indicates a massive reduction in clotting and and serious heart ailments like atherosclerosis.
Do you ever wonder why you are less likely to get sick when you consume plenty of vitamin C-rich foods? Vitamins is not just responsible in aiding the body with its normals functions, it fends off disease causing elements, too.
Okra contains numerous antioxidant components that make it very effective in battling off free radicals, including vitamin C. This vitamin, specifically, fuels the immune system in producing white blood cells which fight other foreign pathogens and other detriments.
As such, when you consume vitamin C-enriched okra, you reinforce your body’s needed immunity against elements which cause you disease.
Okra holds great levels of vitamin A, along with antioxidant constituents like lutein, beta carotenes, and xanthein.
Antioxidants are influential compounds that eliminate or offset free radicals which are the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism. Free radicals are accountable for the degradation of body cells, together with cells that are in control of our vision.
Including high amounts of okra in your diet will guarantee added protection for your eyesight and the prevent of macular degeneration and cataracts.
So, if you are predisposed to developing eye problems, you can somewhat prevent them from occurring by incorporating a diet rich in vitamin A like this vegetable.
Vitamin A antioxidants are also useful in taking care of the skin. It supports faster healing, reduction of scars and acne’s appearance, and removal of wrinkles. This benefit boils down to the plant’s antioxidants contents which neutralize free radicals that damage skin cells.
Consequently, when you consume this plant regularly, you appear to be younger-looking than your peers of similar age. Otherwise, you appear glowing instead.
So, you may either be a teen who suffers from acne problems or a person predisposed to midlife crisis. Whatever the case may be, there is this plant which will address your skin problems. This just displays the benefits of antioxidants like vitamin A on the skin.
With all its many health benefits, too much consumption of this vegetable also causes body problems. Okra contains high levels of oxalates which worsen of gallstone and kidney conditions. If you are suffering from any of these two conditions, you had better stop taking this veggie with your regular diet.
One more important concern about this plant is that frying them may produce a seriously high level of cholesterol in your consumption. If you are a hyperlipidemic, eating this veggie will only worsen your condition.
Fortunately, the issue with this plant and the appearance of bad cholesterol happens when it is fried. So, if you want to keep a good cholesterol balance in your body, opt to cook it in other ways. For example, you can always choose to just boil the veggie and consume it as a side dish. Otherwise, use it as an ingredient to certain dishes.
Aside from these concerns, you are at leisure to enjoy okra in all of your favorite recipes.