Okra is a very nutritious vegetable that has many proven health benefits. It is originated from the Northern African region, and now known as Gumbo in the United States. The health benefits are very famous that it is rumored that even Cleopatra loved to eat this vegetable back in the days.
Nowadays, Okra nutrition facts and health benefits are widely researched all over the world. Some researches have been proved, while some others are still in the process. But nevertheless, many people start to consume Okra and indeed get an improvement in their life quality.
Nutritional Content and Health Benefits of Okra
Nutritional content of Okra is the sole reason people love to eat this vegetable. Okra is very low in calorie. Okra only has 33 calories for every 100 grams. This fact makes Okra is a good option for low calorie diet. Here is the complete list of vitamins and good nutrients found in Okra:
1. Vitamin A for Healthy Mucous
Okra is very beneficial for our digestive system since it contains vitamin A. Vitamin A will improve the quality of our mucous membrane that plays a huge role in our digestive system. The dietary fiber nutrients will collaborate with the vitamin A to clean and make our colon healthy.
2. Vitamin B-Complex for Cells Growth
This vitamin makes Okra is very beneficial to be eaten by pregnant women. Vitamin B-complex will promote cell growth. So if the mother eats Okra, the baby will get the benefit too. Vitamin B will help the cell to grow better and prevent birth deficiency.
3. Vitamin C for Healthy Skin
Vitamin C has many benefits for our skin. It can help rejuvenate our skin and get rid of dead skin cells. Not only for our skin, high dose of vitamin C is also able to build our body strength naturally.
4. Bioactive Compounds for Diabetes
Benefits of Okra for diabetes have been known for a long time. As an evidence, Okra is used as traditional remedy for diabetes in Turkey, and it has been used for ages.
This fact is strengthened by the new research conducted by the New Jersey Medical School. The researchers concluded that the bioactive compounds found in Okra can be potential inhibitors for Diabetes glycation process. So, Okra can be used to help Diabetes patients get better life quality.
Furthermore, since more than half kidney failure is caused by diabetes, eating Okra can help to prevent this in diabetes patients. Incorporating Okra in diabetic diet can reduce the presence of kidney disease significantly. This study has been published in Jilin Medical Journal.
5. Rich Calcium for Stronger Bones
Okra is very rich in calcium, so, all the benefits from Calcium can be obtained from eating Okra. People with lactose intolerant are prone to get calcium deficiency since calcium are majorly found in dairy products. Okra can solve this problem for those people. As long as Okra is routinely eaten, it can be a substitute to get strong and healthy bones.
6. Lectin for Breast Cancer Cure
Okra contains Lectin that can reduce human breast cancer cells. This study has been published in the Pubmed Journal in 2014. There are still many further researches that need to be conducted to prove this. But there are evidences that proves that Okra is possible to be the alternative breast cancer treatment. If this research result can be fulfilled, it will show other benefits of Okra for women.
7. Soluble Fiber for Lower Cholesterol
Another important benefit of Okra is to lower cholesterol level. Okra contains soluble fiber nutrients that has been proven to have this particular capability. Okra contains mucilage and bile acids that will capture cholesterol and trans fats from food, and then waste the toxins so that it won’t damage our body.
How to Grow Okra
Okra nutrition facts and health benefits make many people want to start growing their own Okra. Fortunately, Okra is not difficult to plant. It will grow well in a tropical area with sun all over the year. For other areas, Okra can be planted during summer where the sun shines the brightest. Here is a guide to plant Okra:
1. If you live in a tropical area, you can grow it anytime. But if you don’t, wait until the sun shines the brightest
2. Put spot that receives a lot of sun shine.
3. Fertilize the soil first so that the result will be plenty
4. Put the seeds in the soil and give 4 inches distance between seeds.
5. Water the soil daily. Prevent to water the leaves.
6. Weed and eliminate pests from your Okra plants so it always gets enough nutrients
7. After 7 or 8 weeks, the Okra will start to grow. You can cut the pods and the Okra wil keep producing pods during the summer if you take care of it well.
Various Ways to Eat Okra
Okra can make a soup looks sticky and glutinous. That’s why Okra is used to make Gumbo soup. If you don’t like the taste of Okra, incorporating it in a soup will still get you the benefits, with the addition of a tasty food.
2. Fried Okra
Fried Okra is good for those who hate Orka’s slimy texture. But be careful, deep frying it will not get rid of the nutrients, but it will definitely add some extra calories.
3. Pickled Okra
Pickled okra is the best way to keep Okra edible for a long time. It is very easy to made and incorporated in many dish. It also will hold all the important nutrients.
It is best to eat fresh Okra. If the Okra is kept too long before consumption, the pods and seeds will get slimy and very unappealing. If you want to keep the Okra, the best way is to keep in a sealed bag and put it in the freezer. Okra nutrition facts and health benefits has been proven since a long time ago, and new facts keep appearing. To make sure you can get the best benefit, please remember to cook it in the right way.