Health Benefits Of Okra (Lady Fingers) That Will Surprise You

Okra is a plant that produces an edible pod that is eaten as a vegetable, and is native to Ethiopia, where it has been cultivated and used for centuries.
Okra  plants can grow to six feet (two meters) tall, and sometimes even higher, in the right conditions. The plants produce large white to yellow flowers which develop into ridged pentagonal pods. The seed pods are 3 – 10 inches long, tapering, usually with ribs down its length. These tender, unripe seed pods are used as a vegetable, and have a unique texture and sweet flavor.
Okra is a tropical plant which grows best in warm climates.
It is available year-round, with a peak season during the summer months. The pods grow rapidly, being ready for harvest in about 60 days of summer weather, when grown from seed. They must be picked a few days after flowering, when 4 inches or so in length, before they mature and toughen. Okra comes in varying shades of green (there is also a new red variety), and can be smooth or have a ribbed surface.
Here are the benefits you can get from okra:

1. Packs A Truckload Of Nutrients

Okra pods are loaded with significant amounts of vital nutrients – protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and zinc. It, thus, qualifies as an effective economical tool capable of treating malnutrition around the world.

2. Helps Control Hunger

Okra is loaded with soluble fibers. Soluble fiber makes you feel full faster and for longer. This can help keep your calorie intake in check, helping you with your weight loss goals. With a longer-lasting feeling of satiety, your need to binge will be curbed immensely.

3. Keeps You From Getting Tired

It is unfortunate how common the word “fatigue” has become in today’s world. What used to be mostly age and sickness-related, is now an everyday struggle for young, healthy individuals. Okra seeds can delay fatiguing. They contain antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids that promote glycogen storage in the liver. Glycogen is a body fuel reserve, and more of it means you will take longer to tire.
This is why okra is also good for individuals suffering from depression. You will be able to fight the feeling of being inexplicably tired.

4. Manages Diabetes Mellitus

Okra’s peel and seed can lower blood glucose levels, making them useful in managing diabetes mellitus. They do so by inhibiting carb-breaking enzymes, increasing sensitivity to insulin, and ensuring there are sufficient insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. More insulin and less breakdown of carbs to glucose means lower blood sugar.
One study proved that okra seeds prevent the intestinal breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose by inhibiting the enzyme alpha-glucosidase.

5. Stabilizes Cholesterol Levels

Okra promotes cholesterol degradation and inhibits the production of fat in the body. It, thus, decreases total cholesterol and triglyceride and enhances excretion of bile acids (made from cholesterol) in the feces.
By regulating cholesterol levels in the blood, okra can prevent clogging of arteries – protecting us from heart diseases like atherosclerosis.

6. Fortifies Bones And Prevents Excessive Bleeding

The most abundant vitamin in okra is vitamin K. This vitamin helps strengthen bones and promotes clotting of blood. Okra, thus, helps prevent osteoporosis, fractures, and excessive bleeding (due to injury or bleeding disorders).

7. Boosts Immunity And Improves Eyesight

Okra contains moderate levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A encourages the production of white blood cells, key players in your immune system. While infections and diseases do their rounds in the general population, okra will equip your body well enough to resist.
Vitamin A also supports eyes health. If you have weak eyesight or if you come from a family with a history of weak eyesight, it makes sense for you to consume okra regularly.

8. Prevents Gastritis

Pylori bacteria infect the stomach lining and cause inflammation called gastritis. Okra juice contains anti-adhesive compounds that bind to the surface of free-floating bacteria in the gut. This unanticipated binding blocks sites on the bacteria responsible for docking to the stomach lining. In effect, okra juice prevents H. Pylori infections and gastritis.
A concern that arises is whether okra’s non-specific binding to bacteria can deter normal gut bacteria. Further studies are required to assess whether okra’s benefits outweigh its potential side effects. Having said that, we can take refuge in the fact that okra is eaten widely in Asia and Africa for centuries now with no adverse effects on the digestive system.
Children between 2 to 5 are more vulnerable to H. Pylori infections, so it makes sense to ensure they eat okra regularly.

9. Prevents Liver Disease

Your liver is your body’s prime detox organ. Okra can help ensure it is protected from disease. In one study, chemically-induced liver disease in rats was efficiently counteracted by okra. Oral pre-administration of okra extracts reduced the effects of damaging free radicals that cause liver disease. Okra may have done so by stabilizing liver cell membranes, making them more defensive against intruding free radicals.

10. Staves Off Neurodegenerative Disorders

Okra may help reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s in individuals who are genetically predisposed to it. It may also help prevent other neurodegenerative diseases related to oxidative stress.
Imagining how difficult it can be to live with a nerve disorder, this benefit of okra is of great preventive value.

11. Kills Breast Cancer Cells

In one study, a lectin isolated from okra was capable of instigating cell suicide in breast cancer cells. The growth of breast tumor cells was inhibited by a significant 63%.

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lifetime. Incorporating okra in your diet may help reduce this statistic drastically.

12. Keeps Asthma Symptoms In Check

Okra seems to be beneficial for asthma patients. How exactly it does so is not yet known. Some postulate that okra’s high vitamin C content is responsible for its respiratory benefits, however, no clear correlation between vitamin C and asthma exists.

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Health Benefits Of Okra (Lady Fingers) That Will Surprise You Health Benefits Of Okra (Lady Fingers) That Will Surprise You Reviewed by Viral Sa Ilong on 12:18 AM Rating: 5