Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a wonderful vegetable. The edible calcium-rich pods are used in all sorts of soups and stews. It is versatile, but not a lot of people actually grow it.
There’s no reason not to add this vegetable to your diet because of its many uses and health benefits.
6 Little Known Reasons to Eat More Okra
1. Okra Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
Okra is rich in folate and vitamin C. An extremely important B vitamin for producing and maintaining new cells, folate is an essential compound for optimal pregnancy.
The vitamin helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and helps the baby to grow sufficiently. Vitamin C is also essential for fetal development.
2. Helps Prevent Diabetes
It can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing its absorption from the intestines – see below for more details on okra consumption and diabetes.
3. Helps with Respiratory Issues like Asthma
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of okra plant, and rich vitamin C content, curtail the development of asthma symptoms and prevent fatal attacks.
4. Prevents Anemia
Iron, Folate, and Vitamin K aid in hemoglobin formation, blood coagulation, and red blood cells production, providing a supreme defense against anemia.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Okra not only promotes good digestive health, but also good cholesterol levels due to its high fiber content. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water, which means that it breaks down in the digestive tract.
This plant also helps to lower cholesterol by replacing all the foods you eat with high fat and cholesterol levels — okra contains no cholesterol and very little fat.
6. Skin Health
Vitamin A antioxidants are also able to protect skin health, by promoting quicker healing, reducing the appearance of scars and acne, and eliminating wrinkles. This is because the antioxidants are able to neutralize the free radicals which may have damaged those skin cells.
Cooking And Preparing Okra
Chopped, or sliced, the pods can be stewed or fried under low heat oil in order to soften their mucilaginous texture. They then, can be mixed with other vegetables, rice, or meat.
Avoid over-cooking or they become slimy.
Some hybrid varieties of this plant may have subjected to insecticide/pesticide sprays. Therefore, wash the pods thoroughly in the cold water in order to remove dirt, soil and any residual insecticides.