Can I ask you a simple question – does the name Okra rings any bell? Well, okra, also known as lady’s finger, or bamia is one of the popular nutritious vegetables of North-East African origin. Okra is low in calories. One cup of raw okra only has around 30 calories. And in that low-calorie cup in a whopping 66% RDA of Vitamin K. Okra is also high is calcium, fiber, vitamin C, protein, folate, manganese and magnesium.
This powerful lectin, found in okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) can kill 72% of human breast cancer cells (MCF7) in-vitro, mostly by inducing programmed cell death. This, newly found extract in common okra was also show to slow the growth of breast cancer cells by 63%. An interesting thing is that researchers are still discovering new anti-cancer compounds in foods that we eat on daily basis. So, the research on okra as a cure for cancer is just starting up. Medical experts in another recent study have found that okra pectin is active against highly metastatic melanoma cells (B16F10). The okra pectin is reducing their proliferation, inducing cell cycle arrest and programmed cell death (apoptosis).
6 Healthy Reasons why you should eat okra every day:
The best thing about this super healthy vegetable is that it’s available anytime of the year. The best time to get an okra is in early fall, when crops in the Southern states reach their peak. People usually add okra as a thickening agent in homemade soups like gumbo, because of its ooey-gooey texture. Okra is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with healthy nutrients, such as: vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that provide an array of health benefits from treating diabetes to preventing kidney disease.
One cup of okra contains:
- Vitamin C – 16.3 milligrams. 27% RDA.
- Folate – 46 micrograms. 11% RDA.
- Vitamin K – 40 micrograms. 50% RDA. This vitamin is also known as K1, one of the two most beneficial forms, together with K2, while K3 is synthetic.
- Vitamin A – 283 international units. 6% RDA.
- Fiber – 2.5 grams. 10% of RDA (recommended daily value)
- Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg. 9% RDA.
- Thiamin (Vitamin B1) – 0.1 mg. 9% RDA.
- Beta carotene – 225 mcg.
- Lutein, Zeaxanthin – 516 mcg.
- Magnesium – 36 mg. 9% RDA.
- Manganese – 0.3 mg. 15% RDA.
Note: it doesn’t matter if you consume okra stewed, boiled, fried or even in pickled form. You get all the health benefits from it any time of the year. And now, we are going to show you 6 extremely important reasons why you should add okra to your healthy diet:
- Relieves Asthma Symptoms – if you consume small amounts of fruits or vegetables, which are loaded with Vitamin C, just like okra, you can relieve the asthma symptoms. A recent study has found that the intake of citrus or kiwi fruits conferred a highly protective effect against wheezing symptoms in childhood. This, protective effect was also seen even among kids, who only ate fruits once or twice per week.
- Lowers Cholesterol – this amazing vegetable is not just an excellent digestive aid, but it’s also a good for promoting good cholesterol levels. This is because of its high amounts of fiber. The soluble fiber can be dissolved in water. This means that it breaks down easily in the digestive tract. And it also connects to cholesterol in other foods, so that it can be flushed out along with other wastes. It also helps to lower the cholesterol levels by replacing all the foods you eat with high fat and cholesterol levels.
- Manages Diabetes – okra contains high amounts of fiber. The soluble fiber in okra can help people who suffer from diabetes, because of its ability to keep blood glucose levels stable. This affects how sugar is absorbed in the intestines. A group of researchers did this experiment – they soaked sliced okra pods in water and then gave rats the solution through a gastric feeding tube. The, other, control group wasn’t fed with this okra solution. So, the researchers found that okra helped reduce the absorption rate of glucose and in turn reduced blood sugar levels in the treated rats.
- Boosts Immune System – okra contains high amounts of antioxidant compounds and it’s loaded with Vitamin C. These two okra ingredients are the best “tool” for boosting your immune system to fight against free radicals in the body. Also, Vitamin C stimulates our immune system to produce more white blood cells, which are extremely important in fighting the foreign pathogens and materials in our organism.
- Prevents Kidney Disease – you should also know that consuming okra on daily basis can be extremely beneficial for preventing and curing any type of kidney disease. A recent study has discovered that patients who ate okra every day reduced the clinical signs of kidney damage more than those who were on diabetic diet. This is extremely helpful and beneficial because almost half of kidney disease cases develop from diabetes.
- Promotes Healthy Pregnancy – the experts also say that okra is the ideal vegetable to consume during pregnancy. This is because okra is loaded with Vitamins A, B, Vitamins (B1, B2, B6), and the immune booster Vitamin C. it also has small amounts of zinc and calcium. It also serves as a supplement for fiber and folic acid. This helps prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida and it can even stop constipation during pregnancy.
Bottom line – these are the most important health benefits of this amazing vegetable:
- Helps digestive health
- Fights constipation
- Promoting a healthy pregnancy
- Prevents damage caused by free radicals
- Prevents diabetes
- Helps weight management
- Promotes colon health and prevents colon cancer
- Promotes eye health
- Alleviates respiratory issues such as asthma, cough, or trouble breathing
- Improves mood
- Promotes skin health