Okra, also known as lady’s finger, or bamia is one of the popular nutritious vegetables of North-East African origin. Okra is low in calories. One cup of raw okra only has around 30 calories. And in that low-calorie cup in a whopping 66% RDA of Vitamin K. Okra is also high is calcium, fiber, vitamin C, protein, folate, manganese and magnesium.
A recent study confirms that a newly discovered lectin in okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) can kill 72% of human breast cancer cells (MCF7) in-vitro, mostly by inducing programmed cell death. This, newly found extract in common okra was also show to slow the growth of breast cancer cells by 63%.
An interesting thing is that researchers are still discovering new anti-cancer compounds in foods that we eat on daily basis. So, the research on okra as a cure for cancer is just starting up. Medical experts in another recent study have found that okra pectin is active against highly metastatic melanoma cells (B16F10). The okra pectin is reducing their proliferation, inducing cell cycle arrest and programmed cell death (apoptosis).
According to a recent study, the southern eating pattern, which is characterized by eating okra, grits, cornbread, beans, rice and sweet potatoes, actually reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 40% in a group of American men. But, the most interesting thing is that a diet richer in fruit and vegetables did not reduce risk of prostate cancer in that group.
People, we all knew that okra is a healthy vegetable and that is already widely consumed in the whole world. But, now, the latest researches tell us that okra may give us protection from at least three different types of cancer. Unbelievable, right? There should be more studies to confirm this, of course. But, in the meantime, it would be a great idea to add this healthy and amazing vegetable to your regular diet, which should already contain lots of fruits and vegetables.
6 Healthy Reasons why you should eat okra every day:
This amazing and healthy vegetable is available anytime of the year. The best time to get an okra is in early fall, when crops in the Southern states reach their peak. People usually add okra as a thickening agent in homemade soups like gumbo, because of its ooey-gooey texture. Okra is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with healthy nutrients, such as: vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that provide an array of health benefits from treating diabetes to preventing kidney disease.
Did you know that okra is low on calories? A single cup of okra only has around 30 calories. One cup of okra contains about 3 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of protein, 7.6 grams carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of fat, 21 milligrams of vitamin C, around 88 micrograms of folate, and 57 milligrams of magnesium. This is why okra is a nutritional powerhouse and very healthy and amazing vegetable, when it comes to our health.
So, it doesn’t matter if you consume okra stewed, boiled, fried or even in pickled form. You get all the healthy benefits from it any time of the year. Now, we are going to show you 6 extremely important reasons why you should add okra to your healthy diet:
Relieves Asthma Symptoms
If you consume small amounts of fruits or vegetables, which are loaded with Vitamin C, just like okra, you can relieve the asthma symptoms. According to a study, published in the journal Thorax, in 2000, researchers found that the intake of citrus or kiwi fruits conferred a highly protective effect against wheezing symptoms in childhood. This, protective effect was also seen even among kids, who only ate fruits once or twice per week. The study researchers found this to be especially true among already susceptible patients.
This amazing vegetable is not just an excellent digestive aid, but it’s also a good for promoting good cholesterol levels. This is because of its high amounts of fiber. The soluble fiber can be dissolved in water. This means that it breaks down easily in the digestive tract. And it also connects to cholesterol in other foods, so that it can be flushed out along with other wastes. According to the Harvard Health Publications, this all will lead to total cholesterol levels plummet. It also helps to lower the cholesterol levels by replacing all the foods you eat with high fat and cholesterol levels. This is because okra contains no cholesterol and very little fat as well.
As we mentioned earlier in this post, okra is loaded with fiber. The soluble fiber in okra can help people who suffer from diabetes, because of its ability to keep blood glucose levels stable. This affects how sugar is absorbed in the intestines. According to a study, published in the journal ISRN Pharmaceutics, in 2011, researchers did this experiment: they soaked sliced okra pods in water and then gave rats the solution through a gastric feeding tube. The, other, control group wasn’t fed with this okra solution. So, the researchers found that okra helped reduce the absorption rate of glucose and in turn reduced blood sugar levels in the treated rats.
Boosts Immune System
Okra contains high amounts of antioxidant compounds and it’s loaded with Vitamin C. These two okra ingredients are the best “tool” for boosting your immune system to fight against free radicals in the body. Also, Vitamin C stimulates our immune system to produce more white blood cells, which are extremely important in fighting the foreign pathogens and materials in our organism.
Prevents Kidney Disease
Consuming okra on daily basis can be extremely beneficial for preventing and curing any type of kidney disease. According to a study, published in the Jilin Medical Journal, in 2005, researchers found that patients who ate okra every day reduced the clinical signs of kidney damage more than those who were on diabetic diet. This is extremely helpful and beneficial because almost half of kidney disease cases develop from diabetes.
Promotes Healthy Pregnancy
Okra is the ideal vegetable to consume during pregnancy. This is because okra is loaded with Vitamins A, B, Vitamins (B1, B2, B6), and the immune booster Vitamin C. it also has small amounts of zinc and calcium. It also serves as a supplement for fiber and folic acid. This helps prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida and it can even stop constipation during pregnancy.