Okra (also called Lady Fingers) is one of the most common, most accessible indigenous vegetables. It seems to cut across the whole country in availability. The vegetable is quite delicious and could be prepared in a variety of nutritious soups. Seeing as okra seems to be in season right now, with the abundance of the vegetable that can be obtained for very little amount of money. It’s interesting to know the health benefits of this versatile, pocket friendly vegetable.
Some of the more common benefits of okra are:
- High in dietary fibre
- Possible diabetes control
- High vitamin c content (up to 21milligrams for every 100grams)
- Bad cholesterol control
- High vitamins A, B (2, 6,12), K and folic acid
- Aids in weight loss due to low calorific count
- Helps relieve constipation and in colon cleaning
- Helps improve skin health
- Helps improve health of hair and fight dandruff
- Relieves respiratory issues such as asthma
The first and maybe the most obvious benefit of okra is its high dietary fibre content. With a high percentage of fibre and low calorie count, this vegetable gives you a guilt free pass to indulge yourself as much as you want in its delicious goodness without fears of weight gain or constipation (really… what could be better than that?). The dietary fibre helps to improve colon health and bowel movement, effectively fighting constipation and cleaning out some bad cholesterol at the same time.
And for all dieters out there, well, this is a good go-to food with its low calorific count and the amazing ability to fill you up. Plus, it can be prepared in a variety of different ways that will incorporate other veggies, your proteins and the optional carbs to keep your energy going and still keep it interesting and delicious (yum-yum) so you don’t end up breaking your diet out of pure boredom.
Another interesting benefit of okra is its richness in vitamins. The abundance of vitamin C in the vegetable has quite a wide range of advantages. Well, all through my childhood, I was a constant vitamin C fan (remember the orange pills?). This was thanks to having a nurse for a mother who always plied me with various vitamin supplements of which vitamin c was particularly important since I was quite susceptible to common infections. So from an early age I learnt that apart from the lovely taste (which, quite frankly, was its most endearing feature to a younger me), it helps boost your immune system and strengthen your body’s defenses. In more recent times, on the quest for lovely skin and hair, I have come across information from different sources claiming that vitamin C is awesome for healthy, glowing skin, and having seen evidence of this, it greatly improves the credibility of a vitamin C rich vegetable.
Okra is also rich in vitamin K [which is good for blood clotting] and vitamin B complex. It also contains folate (folic acid) which is an important vitamin supplement especially for developing fetuses. All these vitamins make okra especially good for pregnant women and developing babies.
One of the most noteworthy benefits of okra is in the growing popularity as a good food for the management of diabetes. Although it is not a board certified replacement for insulin, it has been noted to help in managing blood sugar levels. It can be combined with other dietary methods of blood sugar management. The use of okro in diabetes should be discussed with a physician or dietician to get the best of it.
Another very important use of okro (especially for naturalistas like me) is its use in managing dandruff and getting healthy hair. You can do this by soaking sliced okra in water overnight and using the water to rinse out your hair.
So, I hope you enjoy this delicious vegetable as it works its magic on your insides and pockets.
You learnt something new? Let me know in the comment section. It will also be really nice if you could share on all your social media platforms.