Benefits of Consuming Okra

Benefits of Consuming Okra

Okra is a warm-season green vegetable. It is also known as gumbo or ladies’ finger. Okra is good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Okra belongs to the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. The term okra refers to the edible seedpods of the plants. It also contains a compound of juice with high viscosity that is good for the joints in the body, it is also used as a natural thickening agent in soups, curries, braises and stews. It is widely used in some southern American states, the West Indies, Asia, parts of Africa and South America and it is an important part of Cajun cooking styles. It is popularly used in forms of okra water, okra peels and powdered seeds for meditational purposes. There are many types of okra but the most commonly found ones are green and white. The green okra is shorter and slightly stub while the white okra, which is a light green color, it is longer and slenderer than the green okra.

It is considered an important crop in many countries because it contains a good amount of nutrients. The taste is mild and has a unique texture, a peach like fuzz on the outside and small edible seeds on the inside. It is biologically categorized as a fruit but is generally consumed as a vegetable. Most people dislike the cooking procedure because of the sticky texture but because it is loaded with nutrients and minerals, avoiding it could increase a number of diseases. Okra has the ability to improve digestive health, manage diabetes, reduce fatigue and increase endurance levels. It also helps in reducing stress and lowers cholesterol.

Improves Digestion:

Okra is a good source of fiber which helps in improving digestion. A study conducted by a team of international researchers in 2016 found that the high amount of fiber in this vegetable helped improve the absorption process in the large intestine and stimulated peristalsis in the body. This can also help in preventing constipation.

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Reduces Fatigue:

Okra helps in reducing fatigue in the body. By including okra in your diet along with some exercise in your daily routine, you will be able to reduce fatigue. It contains high levels of polysaccharides, which are long chains of carbohydrates. Polysaccharide increase the amount of glycogen within the liver which is useful in energy storage.

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Reduce Cholesterol:

Okra being a good source of fiber is helpful in regulating the digestive system and lowering cholesterol. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not easily digested by the body. The soluble fiber is a type of fiber binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract so that it can be excreted from the body along with other wastes, therefore helps in lowering cholesterol levels.

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Diabetes Management 

Okra has anti-oxidant properties in its seeds and peel which help people with type 2 diabetes. People with an elevated blood glucose level should definitely include okra in their daily diets. It helps in improving insulin sensitivity and also helps in controlling and maintaining blood sugar levels in the body. Okra contains a substance called myricetin which is known to improve and increase sugar absorption by muscles and therefore helps in lowering the high sugar level in the blood. In Turkey, roasted okra seeds are used to treat diabetes and have also proven to have positive effects on lowering blood sugar. 

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Heart Health 

High fiber foods help in lowering the risk of heart diseases, strokes, obesity and diabetes. Fiber can slow heart diseases in people who already have it. Women between the ages 19 to 30 should aim to consume at least 28 to 30 grams of fiber each day in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains while men need 33 to 35 grams a day in order to avoid heart diseases.

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Anti-stress Effect

Okra has anti-oxidant and anti-stress properties. Managing stress level is just as important part of taking care of diabetes. Having high stress levels can cause blood sugar levels to arise. Researchers in India have found evidence that it can help reduce stress levels but it also has the potential to manage stress-related disorders and dementia. A property called adaptogens which can help enhance overall health.

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Cancer

A type of protein found in okra called Lectin can be used to treat human breast cancer cells. The treatment reduced cancer cell growth by 63 percent and helped kill 72 percent of the human cancer cells. People who do not eat enough folate appear to have higher risk for breast, cervical, pancreatic, lung and other cancers. 

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Gastrointestinal health

Okra being a good source of dietary fiber helps prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. A research suggests that a person who eats more fiber has less chances of developing colorectal cancer. Adding fiber to your diet can also help reduce appetite and may contribute to weight loss. In Asian medication, okra extracts are used in foods to protect against irritation and inflammatory gastric diseases. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action may in protecting against gastrointestinal problems.

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Osteoporosis 

Okra is a good source of vitamin K which is good for the bones. Vitamin K is used to help the bones absorb calcium. People who eat enough vitamin K are more likely to have strong bones and can help prevent fractures. As women are more prone to osteoporosis, it would be benefitable if they added foods like okra and leafy greens such as spinach, arugula and swiss chard in their diet to have strong bones, avoid osteoporosis and other bone related diseases.

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Healthy Skin 

Okra has a high amount of anti-oxidants that not only help in reducing oxidative stress levels but also effectively eliminates free radicals that may be present in the body. The anti-oxidative property can aid in reversing the skin damage and can slow down the aging process and help you with keeping your skin youthful. It helps in the regeneration and rejuvenation of skin cells and collagen which can help your skin in looking smoother, younger and healthier.

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