Okra is a small green vegetable with a mild taste. It has been cultivated as a food source around the world and is better known for its nutritional spectrum. Packed into its little pods are impressive amounts of nutrients that provide our body with an array of health benefits.
May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Okra as well as peanuts, grains, and beans, contain a type of protein called lectin, which may inhibit the growth of human cancer cells.
In a 2014 test-tube study, researchers have found that lectin in okra can treat human breast cancer cells. It can help reduce cancer cell growth by 63% and kill 72% of the human cancer cells.
Moreover, okra is also a rich source of folate which was found to possibly possess preventive effects against breast cancer risk, according to a 2016 review. A person deficient in folate may have an increased risk of certain cancers including breast, lung, cervical, and pancreatic cancers.
Okra’s healthy fiber content feeds much-needed good bacteria in our intestines which in turn, boost our immune system by building immunity against infection and viruses.
Additionally, its richness in vitamin C and antioxidants doubles our protection against harmful free radicals and supports our immune system so that it would be able to fight off foreign pathogens and toxic materials in the body.
Beneficial For Pregnant Women
Folate (vitamin B9) is a vitamin needed for healthy growth and development. It has been proven to be needed by pregnant women since it is particularly important for the development of the nervous system and for preventing neural tube defects (NTDs) which affects the brain and spine of a developing fetus.
Okra is a good source of folate. A cup (100 grams) of it can provide 15% of a woman’s daily needs for this nutrient.
Helps Prevent Kidney Disease
Experts recommend that a person should consume okra regularly to lower his risk of kidney diseases. Results of a 2005 study published in the Jilin Medical Journal revealed that more patients had experienced a reduction in clinical signs of kidney damage after daily consumption of okra as compared to those who were on a diabetic diet. This is beneficial since nearly half of kidney disease cases develop from diabetes.
Helps In Managing Symptoms Of Diabetes
A person with consistently high blood sugar level is at a higher risk of developing prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
In a 2011 research in mice, researchers have found that eating okra or okra extract may help decrease blood sugar and fat levels. According to the researchers, okra works by decreasing sugar absorption in the digestive tract, leading to a more stable blood sugar response.
Helps Lower Cholesterol
Okra is high in soluble fiber that promotes good digestive health and good cholesterol levels. According to Harvard Health Publications, soluble fiber dissolves in water, easily breaks down in the digestive tract, and also binds easily to cholesterol in other foods so that it can be excreted along with other wastes thus dropping down total cholesterol levels. Interestingly, okra contains no cholesterol and very little fat.
We Can reap these benefits by consuming okra in either stewed, boiled, fried, or pickled form.