What is Okra?

Okra is a green vegetable with a slimy texture and is normally used all over the world. It is available throughout the year and is known by so many different names all over the world: In France it is called “gombo“, RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU In various parts of Africa it is called “okro“, In Spain it is called “quibombo“, In the Arab countries it is called “bamies“, ..while in India it is called “Bhindi“. Okra is bursting with dietary fibre which helps to keep your digestive system healthy. It is also rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and flavonoids like beta-carotene and many more. Did you know that okra has various health benefits? Let’s take a look…

Here are 5 okra health benefits:

1) Okra can help keep your cholesterol levels healthy Keeping your cholesterol levels healthy is one of okra’s health benefits. Okra is packed with soluble and insoluble fibre which has been found to lower total and LDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that soluble fibre was found to be effective in lowering total and LDL cholesterol (1). 2) Okra can help to keep your kidneys healthy Kidney disease is common in people with diabetes, it accounts for practically 44% of new cases as stated in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2). Keeping your kidneys healthy is an okra health benefit. A study published in the Jillin Medical Journal found that individuals with diabetes, who consumed okra daily showed reduced signs of kidney damage compared to who just ate a normal diet. 3) Okra can help to keep your liver healthy Your liver is one of the major organs in your body. Nearly every nutrient you eat must pass through your liver so that it can be broken down into a form that can be used in your body. Keeping your liver healthy is one of okra health benefits. A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal found that okra extract helps to protect against liver damage and disease. This is due to its powerful antioxidant property (4). 4) Okra can help to keep your eyes healthy okra health benefits_2There are countless things you can do to keep your eyes healthy, and eating okra is one. Okra is rich in vitamin A and flavonoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene which are linked to a healthy vision. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry demonstrated that flavonoids protect the eyes from oxidative-stress-induced cell death and help to keep them healthy (5). 5) Okra can help support your immune function The food that you eat has a strong influence on your immune system. Supporting the function of your immune system is one of okra health benefits. Okra is rich in vitamin C, it contains about 36% of the daily recommended amount. Vitamin C has been linked to a strong immune system. A review published in the Central European Journal of Medicine found that there was a positive effect of vitamin C on the immune system.

Conclusion

Okra is certainly a very good addition to your diet. It is full of nutrients vital for optimal health. You can enjoy okra in so many different ways. You can add them to stews, soups and even salads. Connect with Expert Awele Anne Anyia References 1. Brown L, Rosner B, Willett W W Sacks F M (1999) Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fibre: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69: 30-42 PUBMED 2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2007 3. Liu K et al. (2005) The Clinical Research of Okra in Treatment of Diabetic Nephropathy. Jillin Medical Journal. 4. Alqasoumi S I (2012) ‘Okra’ Hibiscus esculentus L.: A study of its hepatoprotective activity. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 20: 135-141. ScienceDirect. 5. Kalt W, Hanneken A, Milbury P, Tremblay F (2010) Recent Research on Polyphenolics in Vision and Eye Health. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 58: 4001 – 4007. 6. Pavlovic V, Sarac M (2010) A short overview of vitamin C and selected cells of the immune system. Central European Journal of Medicine, 6: 1-10. Springer Link.

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