The small, green pods of okra are found in cultural dishes across the globe. In my country, Turkey, for instance we usually eat them as main dishes mixed with meat, or as a, secondary dish, cooked in olive oil and eaten cold.
Did you know that okra comes from the fruit family, is loaded with nutrients, and has an impressive variety of nutritional benefits that can make it a health-enhancing food to consume?
I’ll give you 5 of the biggest benefits of adding okra to your diet.
- Helps Manage Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the riskiest conditions in the world to develop; whether you’re born with it or develop it later in life, it can pose long-term health risks and absolutely devastate your body.
The scientific community is still searching for a cure for diabetes, but they have found increasing instances of certain foods and a diet helping to assist with the management of varying kinds of diabetes – and okra is one.
According to a study conducted in 2015, okra water can have a therapeutic effect on women suffering from gestational diabetes, improving the blood sugar levels. Another study, conducted in 2013, took a look at why the Turkish community has long preached the benefits of okra consumption – and found promising evidence that it can lower blood sugar as well.
I didn’t know that.
Part of the benefit may be simply from eating a healthier diet when you consume okra, but the studies show that okra itself may be more beneficial than just a healthy mealtime.
- Lower Fatigue
For people with a sweet tooth, it may seem surprising to consider that okra will help lower their fatigue levels. The thought of picking up a candy bar instead of munching on some raw okra, may seem like the way to go if you’re looking for a pick-me-up.
In actuality, though, okra seeds possess certain chemical properties that can help both reduce fatigue and improve cardiovascular health, which can both keep you alert for longer during the day and help you benefit from an exercise routine more often.
The reasoning? Okra has been shown in studies to decrease the amount of lactic acid in the bloodstream, which is a key factor in muscle soreness and fatigue.
It also helps improve your cardiovascular health due to the presence of flavonoids, which help your bloods vessels stay healthy and improve your circulation.
- Aids Weight Loss
One of the most frustrating experiences of adults looking to lose weight is when they find themselves unable to shed pounds even with daily trips to the gym or intense workout classes.
As countless studies have shown, though, diet is just as crucial (if not more) for positive weight management as exercise – and individuals who eat foods rich in certain elements find themselves in a position to watch the weight drop off just a little faster.
According to the Global Journal of Medicinal Research, the mucilage of okra binds cholesterol and bile acid collecting toxins from the liver, which then carries the toxins and cholesterol out of the body. It’s also a food that’s high in fiber, which both helps to maintain a healthy, regular digestive system and can be shown to reduce appetite.
- Helps With Asthma
The World Health Organization has given us some pretty dire statistics in the last few years. Nine out of 10 people are estimated to breathe polluted air, which contributes to everything from lung cancer to asthma and lowered immune systems.
One in 13 people, as a result, are now believed to have asthma, a condition that causes a narrowing of airways and result in severe difficulty in breathing. This can be deadly – but even for those that just suffer from mild cases, the condition can be frustrating and lead to problems about getting enough exercise.
As a food rich in vitamin C, though, okra can directly lead to alleviation of asthma symptoms. In studies dating back as early as the 1990s, researchers have monitored the effects of vitamin C on breathing ability – and the correlation is promising. Those who get enough vitamin C in their diet report better pulmonary function, lowered aversions to histamines, and decrease in respiratory infections – and as a result are less likely to need assistance in breathing.
There are ways to promote cleaner air around you to help with this as well, but eating foods rich in vitamin C like okra can also make a huge difference.
- Improves Your Skin
The healthier your diet, the more likely you are to clear up skin conditions – that’s a fact. Switching in any fruits and vegetables for things like potato chips and candy will regulate hormones and unclog pores, leading to the alleviation of things like acne and dry skin.
Some foods are better at helping your skin out than others, though, and okra sits near the top of the list. It contains vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, also known as vitamin B9, which are all fantastic for improving your skin.
So, how about it; are you going to be adding okra to your shopping list?
That’s it for now; see you all the next time.