14 Benefits of Okra for Health

Okra or commonly called lady’s finger or bamia is a type of perennial flowering plant that belongs to the hibiscus genus of the Malvaceae (cotton) family. This fiber-producing plant is widely cultivated in areas that have a tropical and warm climate.

okra benefitsThis plant comes from the African continent. Currently okra has been widely known in a number of countries such as Japan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, even to countries in the Americas and Europe. However, in Indonesia, this plant is less well known by the people.

Nutritional content in okra

Okra is a type of vegetable plant that contains a lot of fiber and glutathione. In addition, the seeds of this plant also contain up to 40% oil. Where in the oil is very rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and linoleic acid.

The following is a table of nutritional content found in okra

Item Nutritional value % RDA
Energy 1.5% 31 kcal
Carbohydrate 7.03 g 5.4%
Protein 2.0 g 4%
Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Fiber 3.2 g 9%
Folate 88 µg 22%
Niacin 1.000 mg 6%
Pantothenic acid 0.245 mg 5%
Pyridoxin 0.215 mg 16.4%
Riboflavin 0.060 mg 4.5%
Thiamin 0.200 mg 17%
Vitamin A 375 IU 12.5%
Vitamin C 21.1 mg 36%
Vitamin E 0.35 mg 2.5%
Vitamin K 53 µg 44%
Sodium 8 mg 0.5%
Potassium 303 mg 6%
Calcium 81 mg 8%
Copper 0.094 mg 10%
Iron 0.80 mg 10%
Magnesium 57 mg 14%
Manganese 0.990 mg 43%
Phosphor 63 mg 9%
Selenium 0.7 µg 1%
Seng 0.60 mg 5.5%
Karoten-β 225 µg
Crypto-xanthinn-β 0 µg
Lutein zeaxanthin 516 µ

1. Help lose weight

Okra (bamia) is one type of vegetable that is very low in calories. In every 100 grams of okra contains only 30 calories. In addition, this plant also does not contain saturated fat or cholesterol. Nonetheless, okra is a rich source of fiber, minerals and vitamins. Okra is often recommended by nutritionists as a food source to help control cholesterol and weight loss programs.

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2. Can help prevent constipation

Okra is a type of pod that is rich in mucus. This is useful for assisting in the smooth peristalsis of digested food through the intestines so that it can help relieve or prevent constipation conditions.

3. Helps protect the lungs

Okra is a vegetable plant that contains many nutrients that the body needs. One of which is the benefits of flavonoid compounds which act as antioxidants such as beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein that can help protect the lungs.

4. Maintain eye and skin health

The okra plant is believed to have a lot of content the benefits of vitamin A which is very good for helping maintain eye health. In addition, vitamin A is also indispensable for maintaining the mucous membranes which contribute to keeping the skin healthy.

5. Preventing oral cavity cancer

The antioxidants contained in okra or bamia are compounds that can help prevent oral cancer.

6. The risk of note on the fetus

Fresh okra plants are a good producer or source of folate. From 100 grams of fresh okra there is about 22% of the RDA. Consuming foods rich in folate, especially for pregnant women, can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus in the womb.

7. Helps maintain the immune system

Consuming okra can help the body to develop an immune system against infections, reduce coughing and protect the body from harmful free radicals. This is because in an okra there is 36% content the benefits of vitamin C of the daily recommendations for the body.

Besides that, iron benefits in okra can also help regulate hemoglobin molecules. Red blood cells are responsible for distributing oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Iron also plays a role in energy metabolism processes, including DNA synthesis by several enzymes, as well as in the immune system.

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8. Strengthens bones and teeth

In addition to several types of nutritional content above, fresh okra also contains a lot of vitamin K which is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is needed to strengthen bones. In addition, okra is also a producer calcium benefits which is good for healthy bones and teeth.

9. Maintain body balance

Okra is also rich in will the benefits of vitamin B complexes such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. As we know that vitamin B complex is needed in almost all functions of the human body.

The performance of vitamin B complex is closely related to each other. Lack of any of these types of vitamin B complex can lead to imbalances in the body such as lack of energy, an unhealthy nervous system, poor digestion, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. For that, make sure to get enough vitamin B complex in every diet.

10. Helps energy metabolism

The content of manganese and magnesium which acts as a co-factor for various types of enzymes in the body. Magnesium acts as a catalyst in biological reactions in the body, while manganese functions in the synthesis of urea, the formation of connective tissue and bones, and prevents fat peroxidation by free radicals. Both of these compounds are very important in the process of controlling energy metabolism in the body.

11. Lower cholesterol

A study published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that okra extract can help lower cholesterol levels.

12. Helps the digestive process

Okra is a good source of fiber which can help ease digestion, improve blood sugar levels.

13. reduce the risk of heart disease

Fiber content and antioxidant benefits such as catechins, epicatehin, procyanidin, quercetin, and rutin are not believed to reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Benefits of Okra for Diabetics

A study shows that okra can help stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

In a 2011 study published in ISRN Pharmaceuticals, showed that okra helps reduce glucose absorption, which in turn reduces blood sugar levels. Researchers note that okra is a rich source of fiber and has been used traditionally to manage diabetes. In addition, Okra has a low glycemic index, making it a good choice for diabetics, as it has a low glycemic index of around 20.

However, health experts recommend avoiding the consumption of okra along with the consumption of metforin in diabetics. Because this will actually increase blood sugar levels in the patient.

Okra Serving Suggestions

Some hybrid varieties of okra may have been subjected to insecticide or pesticide sprays. Therefore, before consuming or processing okra, it is best to wash okra thoroughly in cold water. It aims to remove dirt, soil and residual insecticides attached to the fruit. Cut the tip of the scion using a knife. Then cut or slice according to taste.

Here are some processing tips:

  • Okra is a vegetable that is widely used in tropical countries. The way of processing is by chopping, or slicing, then boiled or fried in hot oil. This is done to soften the mucilaginous texture of the okra. Or it can be combined with other vegetables, rice, or meat
  • On the Caribbean island, okra is used as an ingredient in soups, or mixed with fish
  • Can be used as a pickling ingredient, or can also be preserved like other vegetables
  • Okra leaves can also be cooked or eaten raw as a salad
  • In Egypt, Okra is prepared with lamb or beef

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