The benefits of fruits and vegetables are tremendous for good health. Experts say that people should not overlook the tremendous health benefits of Okra, a common vegetable, taken in different forms , report Sade Oguntola.
OKRA is either loved or hated by many for its distinct sticky character. But from a medical point of view, okra is a vegetable that individuals should not pass off. In fact, some of the benefits of okra come from its sliminess.
Apparently eating the crispy and immature okra on a daily basis is good for people who suffer from a variety of digestive problems, including diseases like colitis, ulcers, and constipation because of its slimy nature.
Scientific research on the benefits of certain vegetables has been ongoing, and researchers are discovering many very interesting things. Okra has been one of the vegetables that have been included in a number of studies, with some absolutely incredible results.
Improves good eyesight
The okra pods are good sources of Vitamin A and beta carotene which are both essential antioxidants for maintaining good eyesight. It is one of the green vegetables with highest levels of these antioxidants. In addition, these essential antioxidants also help prevent eye related diseases such as cataracts and retina-related eye problems.
Natural remedy for diabetes
Okra is good for diabetic patients because it helps to normalise blood sugar level. The fibre in okra helps to stabilise blood sugar by regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bio-allied Science, researchers corroborated that okra was a potential alternative source to treat diabetes because it lowers blood sugar level significantly in tested animals under laboratory conditions.
Here is the process to use okra sap therapy for diabetes control. Soak overnight two pieces of okra, whose rear and cap are chopped off, into a glass of water. A sticky white liquid will start coming out of the okra. Do not wash it off. In the morning, remove the pieces of okra from the water and drink it. Just wait for around 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else. This is to be done on a daily basis in order to control blood sugar levels.
Controls cholesterol level
Controlling the body’s cholesterol level is somewhat challenging because it is difficult to resist foods high in cholesterol content. One of the best health benefits of eating okra is the effective control of the body’s high cholesterol level. It helps to absorb water and traps excess cholesterol, metabolic toxins and surplus bile in its mucilage, slipping it out through the stool.
In a 2011 study published in “Journal of Pharmacy & Bio allied Sciences”, researchers also suggest that extracts from okra normalised cholesterol level.
Treats stomach ulcer
In a 2004 study entitled “Glycosylated compounds from okra inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa”, extracts from okra was found to prevent Helicobacter pylori, the germ that causes stomach ulcer, adhering to the walls of the stomach, thus preventing peptic ulcer.
The researchers assumed in this study, which was documented in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that the anti adhesive qualities of okra was due to a combination of glycoproteins and highly acidic sugar compounds, a complex three-dimensional structure that is fully developed only in the fresh juice of the okra fruit.
Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fibre absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools, thus helping to prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic.
Boosts immunity against diseases
Okra is a rich source of Vitamin C. For example, 100 grammes of raw okra pods contains about 21 milligrammes of vitamin C according to “The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect the body from harmful free radicals.
Prevent congenital malformation in babies
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B-9, is especially important during pregnancy because it decreases the incidence of neural tube defects in newborns. According to “The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts” a 100 grammes of raw okra pods contains about 88 microgrammes of folic acid.
Folic acid is an essential nutrient of okra which improves the development of the unborn child’s brain. This nutrient prevents mental deficiencies of the foetus inside the womb of the pregnant woman.
Supports strong bones
Okra provides good amounts of Vitamin K which is important to build and maintain strong bones. Vitamin K is also essential for the production of blood clotting proteins that control bleeding.
Helps with kidney disease
A study published in the October 2005 Jilin Medical Journal found that regular consumption of okra can help prevent kidney disease. In the study, “those who ate okra daily reduced clinical signs of kidney damage more than those that simply ate a diabetic diet.” This also ties in with diabetes, as nearly 50 per cent of kidney disease cases are caused by diabetes.
Protects from colon cancer
Okra is full of dietary fibre, which is essential for colon health and digestive health as a whole. The fibre Okra provides helps to clean the gastrointestinal system, allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Additionally, the Vitamin A contributes to healthy mucous membranes, helping the digestive tract to operate appropriately.
Good for asthma
Okra contains Vitamin C, which has been shown to help with respiratory issues like asthma. A study concluded that “the consumption of fruit rich in Vitamin C, even at a low level of intake, may reduce wheezing symptoms in childhood, especially among already susceptible individuals.”