Health Benefits of Okra (Ladies Fingers)
Okra, also known as Ladies Fingers, Gombo, Bendi or Gumbo, appears to have originated from the West Africa and is well known for its great health benefits.
Benefits of Okra
According to research done by Ms. Sylvia Zook (Ph.D, nutrition, University of Illinois), Okra is full of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.
The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, thus decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colon cancer. Colon Cancer is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world.
The superior fiber found in okra helps to prevent diabetes and constipation. Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, iron and calcium.
Okra seeds can be used as a form of substitute for coffee and is often used in Indian curries. To retain most of okra’s nutrients, it should be cooked as little as possible, with low heat or steamed. It can also be stir-fried, deep fried, stewed or eaten raw but may be a bit tough to chew and a bit too bitter. Pickled okra is also a popular food to some people in America.
The seeds of the okra contains a high amount of oil which is rich in unsaturated fats such as oleic acid which is a healthy source of fat. Found also in olive oil, avocados, almonds and cashews, oleic acid helps to lower the level of cholesterol and reduce blood pressure in the body.
Okra also contains glutathione, a protein molecule that is naturally produced in the body. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body against the harmful effects of germs and bacteria that cause cancers and other diseases. It helps to improve liver, heart and lung functions and boost the immune system. The levels of glutathione produced in the body decreases as a person ages.
Okra is also reported to be beneficial to those suffering from diabetes as it helps to stabilize the blood sugar. Some people have even claimed to have cured their diabetes or their condition greatly improved with the daily consumption of water that has been soaked with okra.
Since okra has so many health benefits and if you are conscious of your well being, you should start eating okra regularly in your diet. There are many okra recipes that you can find online to suit your taste.