Okra, both a common pod vegetable and nightshade vegetable eaten is also called “gumbo” in the U.S. An edible ornamental flowering hibiscus, okra is an annual, erect herb with stems that contain stiff hairs. The whole plant has an aromatic smell resembling that of cloves and somewhat resembles the cotton plant, but okra has much larger and rougher leaves and a thicker stem.
It’s best to gather the pods while they are green, tender and at an immature stage. The okra plant is an annual, requiring warm, humid climates preferably where temperatures go above 85 degrees F, and is easily injured by frost as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (1) The fruit is a long pod, generally ribbed and spineless in cultivated varieties; however, pods vary in length, color and smoothness depending on the variety and grow best in well-drained and manure-rich soil.
Nutritional contents of Okra:
Okra is packed with valuable nutrients. It’s a high-fiber food, for starters: Nearly half of its nutrition is a soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Nearly 10 percent of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also present in a half cup of cooked okra.
- 1.5 grams protein
- 5.8 grams carbohydrates
- 37 micrograms folic acid
- 13 milligrams vitamin C (22 percent DV)
- 46 milligrams magnesium (11.5 percent DV)
- 460 IU vitamin A (9.2 percent DV)
- 2 grams dietary fiber (8 percent DV)
- 257 milligrams potassium (7.3 percent DV)
- 50 milligrams calcium (5 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligrams iron (2.3 percent DV)
- The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
- Okra’s mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
- Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
- Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
- Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
- Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
- Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
- Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
- Okra is good for constipation.
- Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
- Okra is good for asthma. Okra’s vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
- Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
- Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
- Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
- Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
- Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
- Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin.