Okra is also known as gumbo, bamia, bhindi or lady’s finger and it belongs to mallow family. This plant is mainly grown in warm temperature, subtropical and tropical regions. This is a nutrient – dense, fat – free and low – calorie food which can be added to any diet. Fresh, immature okra pods and its leaves can be used in different cuisines as vegetable. You can enjoy okra in pickled, boiled or fried form. Okra seeds are pressed to make greenish – yellow and edible okra which has a pleasant odor and taste. This oil is rich in unsaturated fats such as linolenic and oleic acid. Also okra is rich in potassium, calcium, folate content, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Also it has lutein, beta – carotene, manganese, magnesium, Vitamin B6, thiamine and niacin.
Health benefits of okra
Makes your hair soft and shiny: Okra has vitamins and antioxidants which can help you to enjoy bouncy, shiny and well – conditioned hair. Also it has other useful nutrients such as thiamine, folate, potassium, zinc and copper which are good for your hair. Okra has transparent mucilage which works as a natural conditioner and it gives life to the dull hair.
Prevents liver disease: This vegetable helps to cleanse your liver and also it can prevent liver disease. It has substances that bind bile acid and cholesterol to detoxify your liver. Also this vegetable can prevent accumulation of fats in your liver. There was one study in which was concluded that the potent antioxidant property of okra extract has the ability to protect against chemically induced liver damage. If you want to improve your liver health and it prevent the disease, then you should include okra in your diet or you can take okra supplements after you have talked with your doctor.
Promotes a healthy pregnancy: This vegetable is highly recommended for pregnant women. It has B vitamins that will ensure healthy growth of the baby in the womb and also it will prevent birth defects such as spinal bifida. Also it is rich in folic acid which aids in producing and maintaining new cells which is important for healthy pregnancy. Folate can also prevent miscarriage. Okra has Vitamin C which plays an important role in fetal development. If you are pregnant, then you should include okra in your diet, especially during 4th and 12th weeks because in these weeks the neural tube develops in your fetus.
Medicinal value of okra
Treats leucorrhea: In the traditional folkloric practice, the fresh tender okra pods were effective natural treatment in treating leucorrhea which is causing yellowish or whitish vaginal discharge between menstruations. Okra has mucilaginous property which will remove mucous from your system which in turn will reduce the vaginal discharge. Also it can boost your immune system which will fight against this problem.
Lowers bad cholesterol: This vegetable can help you to lower your cholesterol levels. There was one study in which is said that the hypolipidemic activity of okra skin extract will provide cholesterol – lowering benefits. Also it inhibits pancreatic cholesterol esterase activity which is reducing the efficacy of cholesterol micellization and also it binds to bile acids which in turn increase the cholesterol excretion and delays cholesterol absorption. Okra has not saturated fats or cholesterol. It can help to prevent heart disease or other health problems which are caused by cholesterol in our blood. You should include okra in your diet because it can lower the bad cholesterol level. Also you can take okra extract but firstly you need to talk with your doctor.
Reduces blood sugar levels: This vegetable has insulin – like properties that will reduce the blood sugar levels. Also it has low glycemic index of about twenty which is making it one of the best foods for people who have diabetes. There was one study in which is confirmed that okra has antihyperlipidemic and antidiabetic potential of its peel (abelmoschus esculentus) and seed powder in diabetic rats. Also there was another study in which is said that okra can help to reduce the absorption of glucose which in turn will lower the blood sugar levels.