Okra is a vegetable that originally grows in warm tropical and subtropical regions around the globe. In Asia, okra is known as lady fingers and it has a number of other names around the world but it’s the same veggie with the same properties and nutritional benefits. Okras have a pretty distinctive taste and texture, they’re crunchy and most people like them because of it.
They can be consumed raw but it’s better if you steam them or stir-fry them to improve their taste a bit. Okras should be consumed while they’re fresh and tender because as they get older they can be quite fibrous.
Nutritional profile of okra
They’re low in calories but rich in all other beneficial nutrients like fiber, folates and vitamin A and C. They’re also rich in calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin K and all the B vitamins. It has an incredibly high content of antioxidants and phytonutrients like lutein, xanthin and beta carotene.
Health benefits of okra
Okra has a number of health benefits but it’s highly underrated as a veggie and many people rarely consume it because they’re not familiar with all of its advantages. Here’s a list of everything okra can help you with and maybe after reading it you’ll start introducing it in your diet more regularly:
Okra boosts the production of red blood cells and prevents anemia.
It’s rich in antioxidants which prevent free radicals damage, cell mutation and stimulate the immune system function. This lowers your risk of cancer significantly.
Okra has a high level of vitamin C and antioxidants which make it an excellent natural remedy against asthma attacks.
Okras are rich in folates which help strengthen your bones and increases their density, lowering the risk of osteoporosis.
Having in mind the high content of soluble fibers in okras it’s no wonder they help reduce the high cholesterol levels in your blood. This also lowers the risk of heart conditions and atherosclerosis.
This veggie is rich in fiber, as we already said, and it makes it an ideal natural remedy against constipation. It has mild laxative properties and also reduces the colon cancer risk.
Okra has properties similar to insulin which helps lower your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood sugar you should start consuming 6-8 raw okra pods every day and the levels will get back to normal.
Regular consumption of okra will improve your gut flora and increase the number of good bacteria in your intestines.
Okra is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which give your immune system a healthy boost and improve your resistance to the common cold and cough.
Okras have a special mucilaginous texture which temporarily coats your stomach lining and digestive tract, protecting you from peptic ulcers.
Folates are extra beneficial for pregnant women and okras abound in folates which means if you’re pregnant you should start consuming okras more often.
Okra improves your bowel movements and good bowel movement improves the quality of your skin. No more acne, blemishes and psoriasis.
How to consume okra to reduce your blood sugar levels
You’ll need about 3-4 pieces of raw, tender okra pods. Cut off their stems, slice them in the middle until you see their insides and then slice them into two. Fill a mason jar with distilled water and soak the okra pieces in it. Leave it on room temperature during the night and you need to drink the water in the morning. You can even eat the soaked okra pods or throw them away if you can’t eat them raw, the water has already absorbed all the nutrients. Consume this remedy every day for 2-4 weeks and you’ll see how your blood sugar levels will start dropping.
Additional tips about how to consume okra
When buying okra choose the ones with smaller pods. Make sure they’re firm and crisp at touch because otherwise they might be too fibrous. If they look yellowish or soft don’t buy them because it means they’re not fresh. If you can always try to buy organic grown okra, as with any other produce, it’s the only way you’ll be sure it’s free of pesticides and insecticides. If you can’t find organic, soak the okra in some ACV, water and sea salt for about ten minutes before you consume them. Rinse afterwards. Eat them steamed or stir-fried, cut their stems off and chop them into halves or thirds. Add them to your salad, soup or dip them in some chili sauce and consume them on their own.
Since they’re very fibrous in texture they cannot be juiced.
Okra contains a small amount of oxalic acid, just like almost any other veggie but this isn’t known to cause any problems. However, if you have a history of kidney stones you should avoid okra.