Okra: Discover the health benefits of this underrated vegetable
-Apr 4, Hannah Hargrave, Nutrition -
Okra might be best known as a comfort food since more often than not it comes battered or fried. But this tiny pod vegetable has some seriously enticing health benefits when prepared properly.
Okra – also know as lady fingers, bamia and bhindi – is a nutrition packed flowery plant, favoured for its seed pods, but it has flown relatively under the radar when it comes to all it’s good for.
Although its origins aren’t clear its rich content of vitamins and minerals is. It’s not only loaded with the likes of calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium, but also vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K – not to mention its high levels of fibre!
So we think it’s about time to shine some light on this underrated green veggie and inform you on all it can do for your body.
Why Okra fights wrinkles
If you want to reduce wrinkles, fade scars and get rid of acne then okra is fantastic! The vitamins and anti-oxidants it contains protects skin against free radicals and trigger faster healing.
Can Okra protect your vision?
Literally, look out! Here comes okra. The vitamin A and antioxidant components like beta carotenes, xanthene and lutein in this vegetable add protection to eyesight and can lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
How Okra boosts your immune system
If you’ve ever had a cold or flu you’ve probably reached for the orange juice or vitamin C tablets. Okra contains high levels of this vitamin which boosts immunity and helps the body fight some immune bashing diseases.
Okra protects your heart
Okra plant contains a lot of soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol. Since high cholesterol is linked to cardiovascular disease, drinking okra water on a regular basis can help protect your heart.
In addition to that it relaxes blood vessels and arteries and lowers blood pressure.
How Okra relieves bloating and constipation
The same soluble fibre that lowers cholesterol also eases bowel movements and gas. Okra is rich in mucilage, which is a thick, gooey substance – sounds a little unpleasant we know – that lubricates the entire digestive system. So drinking or eating it can ensure regular and smooth bowel movements.
Ironically okra can also help diarrhea by adding bulk to watery stools.
Why Okra Lowers blood sugar
Okra possesses some anti-diabetic properties and can help regulate blood sugar levels. But note that just because it can even out these rollercoaster levels it is by no means a cure for diabetes.
How to make your own okra water
1. Wash 4 or 5 medium-sized okra pods.
2. Snip both ends off the pods and split the pods in half or pierce each side of with a knife.
3. Place the pods in a large jar and then cover them with water.
4. Soak the pods overnight for at least eight hours and up to 24 hours.
5. In the morning, squeeze the pods into the water to release any leftover sap.
6. Throw the pods away and drink the water.