Okra, also known as lady’s finger is a plant mainly grown in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions.
It is a good low-calorie, fat-free, nutrient-dense addition to any diet.
Whether you consume okra stewed, boiled, fried, or even in pickled form, you can reap the health benefits of this little green vegetable any time of the year. Here’s how:
Okra, commonly referred to as lady’s finger, has been found by multiple in vitro and in vivo studies to be a potent blood glucose-lowering (anti-diabetic) food. Okra has been used traditionally as an alternative treatment for diabetes and it is thought that this effect of okra is due to the presence of a large amount of soluble dietary fiber.
Okra has also demonstrated action against breast cancer cells in preliminary lab studies.
Amazing new research has proved that okra may also have the ability to fight one of the chronic illnesses of our time: Depression.
It’s been known that healthy diet improves mood since some fruits and vegetables were reported to have mood-elevating antioxidants such as flavonoids and quercetin. Because of okra’s high antioxidant content, yet no known records of antidepressant ability, the researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Science examined its effect in elevating mood.
With the discovery of okra’s powerful anti-depressive action, people with diabetes have a significant likelihood of handling depression and gaining control over their blood levels at the same time. Even without diabetes, munching on okra is a far more healthy option for having that “happy hormone” than binging on sweets.
Okra not only promotes good digestive health, but also good cholesterol levels due to its high fiber content. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water, which means that it breaks down in the digestive tract. There, it also binds to cholesterol in other foods so that it can be excreted along with other wastes. In turn, total cholesterol levels plummet, according to the Harvard Health Publications. Okra also helps to lower cholesterol by replacing all the foods you eat with high fat and cholesterol levels — okra contains no cholesterol and very little fat.
Boosts Immune System
Okra’s rich vitamin C content and antioxidant components also double as decent immune boosters against unsafe free radicals, while also supporting the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system to create more white blood cells, which can help battle other foreign pathogens and materials in the body.
Prevents Kidney Disease
Regularly eating okra can be helpful for preventing kidney disease. A 2005 study published in the Jilin Medical Journal found patients who ate okra daily reduced clinical signs of kidney damage more than those who were on a diabetic diet. This is helpful since nearly half of kidney disease cases develop from diabetes.