HEALTH BENEFITS OF OKRA

Bayo Ajibola

Health benefits of Okra

Health benefits of Okra.Okra is a highly nutritious low calorie vegetable. It’s botanical name is Abelmoschus esculentus , it  is also known as lady finger, so described because of the pointy and most times long shape. It is best when it is tender and young, not very good when fully matured.

Health benefits of Okra

  • The pods are among the very low calorie vegetables you can find around. They give you 30 calories per 100 g besides containing no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, they are also very rich in dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; that come highly recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
  •  In addition because of it rich fiber and mucilaginous content  okra pods help in smooth peristalsis of digested food particles and relieve constipation condition.
  • The pods contain good amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein. It is one of the green vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Fresh pods are very good source of folates;  it provide about 22% of RDA per 100 g. Consuming foods  that are rich in folates, especially during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring.
  • The gumbo pods are also an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C, providing about 36% of daily-recommended levels. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect the body from harmful free radicals.
  • The veggies are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. The pods contain huge amounts of vitamin K.  Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.
  •  You can find a lot of other important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium in the pod.

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