Okra, which is also known as lady’s finger, is an old vegetable that made its first appearance about 3,500 years ago. Just like many other vegetables, okra is full of nutrients that can be useful for those who aim to improve their overall well-being. It is even believed that okra was one of Cleopatra’s favorite vegetables. During World War II, people used okra seeds as alternatives for coffee beans.
How Nutritious are Okras?
Okras are rich in vitamins A and C as well as minerals like iron and calcium. This vegetable also has fat, starch, riboflavin, and thiamine. You can consume the vegetable raw or you can cook it. For a cup of raw okra, you get 33 grams of calories, while cooked okra has 25 grams. Raw okra though has more fiber with 3.2 grams, while cooked okra has two grams. Vitamin A in raw okra is 660 IU and 460 IU in cooked okra. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is 21 milligrams in raw okra, while there’s 13.04 milligrams in half cup of sliced okra.
With the nutrients found in this vegetable, it is a small wonder that there are science-backed proofs about its health benefits, which include:
1. The fiber in the okra vegetable is abundant, which is why it is great for stabilizing blood sugar levels. It is effective in doing so because it can curb the rate of sugar absorption when it goes to the intestinal tract.
2. The vegetable’s mucilage has the ability to bind cholesterol as well as bile acid that carries toxins. Therefore, the okra is good for filtering the liver.
3. If you regularly suffer from constipation, you can eat okras to avoid being constipated. The vegetable can help lubricate your large intestines since it carries laxative properties. First, it has fiber that can help absorb water and therefore makes it easier for you to move your bowels. Second, the mucilage of the vegetable can soothe the intestinal tract and so it is easier and more comfortable to eliminate.
4. Okra is your intestinal tract’s friend. This part of the body comes with good and bad bacteria and okra is a good food to eat to keep your GI tract healthy due to its contribution for the good bacteria, known as probiotics, in your GI tract.
With the health benefits offered by this vegetable, many traditional medicine supporters actually use okra as part of the remedies they have for certain health conditions.