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Health Benefits Of Okra. by Happy (f): 4:38pm on November 5
Adefusi Happiness Oluwapelumi
Animal nutrition and biotechnology
200Level, Nigeria.
Okra is a green vegetable popular for its sweet seed pods. Popularly known as Kisamvu, Mbamia, Mabenda, or Bamia in the Kiswahili language, okra is an indispensable source of nutrients among many communities worldwide. This may be attributed to the fact that many parts of the okra plant can be used for various reasons - the fresh leaves, pods, flowers, stems, buds, and even the seeds. So, what exactly does this plant have to offer? Does consuming okra have a significant effect on our well-being? Here are some of the main benefits of okra.

Health benefits of okra
Okra, also known as lady fingers or ochro, is a green finger-shaped vegetable. The vegetable is propertied with many nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and folate. When cooked whole, the okra plant releases a mucilaginous juice, and this is most likely the reason why a huge number of people have reservations about consuming this vegetable. However, reading this particular article will show you why you should definitely work on your preferences and add okra to your diet. Here are the listed benefits of eating okra.

Health benefits of okra
1. Okra helps in cancer treatment
Okra contains a protein known as Lectin. Lectin is known to diminish the growth of cancer cells and also kill cancer cells. When talking about specific cancers, okra significantly lowers the risk of colon cancer. This is because okra contains rich insoluble fiber that works to clean the intestinal tract in the colon and large intestines.

In one study, lectin obtained from okra was used to treat breast cancer in women. The study showed that this treatment reduced the growth of cancer cells by 63% and that it killed about 72% of cancer cells in humans.

To add on to this, people who take diets low in folate are said to have a higher risk for breast, cervical, lung, pancreatic, and other cancers. However, excessive folate in your diet may also increase the growth of cancer cells. As such, you should be careful with how much folate you consume.

2. Okra is advantageous for expectant women
Low levels of folate in the bodies of pregnant women are a major cause of distress as it may lead to miscarriages and other problems associated with the development of the foetus' brain. Folate is also necessary for the development of the neural tube of the foetus, and it works to protect these tubes. With this said, pregnant ladies should aim to consume diets rich in folate. Okra is known to be a first-rate source of folate. 100grams of okra gives off 60micrograms of folate, and the daily requirement of folate for most people is about 400micrograms.

Health benefits of okra
The peel and seeds of okra release a powder that helps to minimize blood sugar and reduce fat levels. Okra contains a dietary fiber – Eugenol, which balances blood sugar. Eugenol also works to slow down sugar absorption in the intestinal tract. Eugenol also suppresses oxidative stress. This helps in the management of blood sugar in three types of diabetes - type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

4. Okra enhances heart health
Okra is rich in fiber which reduces the levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood. This works to reduce the risk of the occurrence of heart diseases, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Okra also houses flavonoids that are instrumental in maintaining healthy blood vessels such as capillaries.

5. Okra is instrumental in gastrointestinal health
Okra has fiber that prevents constipation. This then aids to sustain a healthy digestive system. The mucilaginous in okra enhances water absorption along the digestive tract. Furthermore, the mucilaginous combined with this fiber attach to toxins helping in their elimination. They also work together to lubricate the large intestines, hereby promoting regular bowel movement.

The fiber present in okra also reduces appetite as it gives one the feeling of being full. This works to reduce weight and prevent obesity.

6. Okra can also be used to lessen fatigue and it has anti-stress properties
Okra seeds contain antioxidants which create an anti-fatigue outcome in the body. The antioxidants also help in the alleviation of stress.

7. Okra assists in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol
Pectin is a fiber contained in okra. This fiber is in charge of flushing out bad cholesterol from the body. Pectin does this by interfering with bile production in the intestines, thus getting rid of clots and previously deposited cholesterol.

Health benefits of okra
okra benefits for hair
okra benefits for men
8. Okra can enhance your eyesight
Okra carries Vitamin A together with antioxidants such as lutein, xanthein, and carotenes. These antioxidants are especially helpful when it comes to getting rid of free radicals that are produced during cellular metabolism. Please take note that free radicals have a hazardous effect on human health mainly because they can cause cell degradation and aging of cells, which may, in turn, promote poor eyesight. Therefore, eating okra may help you to keep vision-related problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration at bay.

9. Okra benefits for men
When it comes to okra benefits for men, the vegetable has a significant consequence on men’s reproductive health. For one, okra helps in the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction(ED) among men because the vegetable contains flavonoids that lower the occurrence of ED. Erectile dysfunction is also known as impotence and it is the inability for a man to obtain and maintain an erection firm enough for sexual activity. Erectile Dysfunction(ED) is identified by difficulty in getting an erection, difficulty in maintaining an erection, and low sexual desire.

However, eating okra may have a pessimistic effect on men’s sexual well-being as well. One study shows that excessive okra consumption has the ability to reduce male fertility or ultimately cause male infertility. This is so because okra seeds contain gossypol and thus, excessive consumption of okra, especially raw, may have a gloomy effect on testes weight, testicular tissues, and sperm parameters, hereby propagating sterility in males. Therefore, one should be careful in his consumption of okra if he wants okra to help his sexual well-being.

10. Okra is a human immune system booster
Okra has potent nutrients like Vitamin C. Vitamin C, together with antioxidants, are very helpful in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Okra also contains minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron, and calcium that are used in the elimination of hazardous free radicals.

11. Okra can be used to treat genital disorders and STIs
Okra can be used to treat syphilis, gonorrhea, dysuria, excessive menstrual bleeding, and leucorrhea.

12. Okra benefits skin by being a skin cleanser
Okra benefits for skin include the fact that okra can be used as a skin cleanser. Okra is rich in fiber and Vitamin C which have a waste-cleaning effect. This then helps in tissue repair, hereby preventing skin pigmentation. Furthermore, consumption of okra reduces the occurrence of acne and even prevents acne, psoriasis, and other skin-related disorders. The vitamins present in okra are helpful in the minimization of the appearance of acne scars. This is mainly due to the fact that vitamins have a quick healing effect. Furthermore, they are also helpful in getting rid of wrinkles.

13. Okra benefits for hair
Okra is a very efficient hair conditioner. It helps to moisturize the hair and scalp. Furthermore, okra helps to prevent the occurrence of an itchy scalp, and it gets rid of lice, thereby promoting healthy-looking hair while keeping the hair pleasantly shiny.

14. Okra has some benefits in bone health
Among the vitamins available in okra is Vitamin K which helps in blood clotting, thereby helping to restore the density of bones in the body. Vitamin K furthermore helps in calcium absorption, thereby promoting strong bones and lowering the chances of one suffering bone fractures. Okra helps to prevent osteoporosis which is a bone disease that occurs when there is production of too little bone in the body, or when the body loses too much bone, making the bones weak.

15. Okra can be used as a treatment for flu and cold
Eating boiled okra leaves and flowers can be used to treat pneumonia and bronchitis. The mucilaginous produced by okra is used to treat cold and flu symptoms because of its soothing effect.

16. The okra plant is helpful in asthma prevention
Vitamin C is one of the potent oxidants found in okra that prevents asthma. Okra also has anti-inflammatory properties that also work to prevent asthma. Okra also prevents deadly asthma attacks in asthmatic people.

17. Okra and the prevention of anaemia
Okra contains iron, folate, and Vitamin K that are used in the haemoglobin formation, red blood cell production, and in blood clotting. All these prevent anaemia.

18. Okra as an ulcer treatment
The mucilaginous produced by okra is alkaline in nature, and it is for this reason that it is beneficial in neutralizing acid in the digestive tract. The mucilaginous also helps in coating the digestive tract, thus promoting the fast healing of peptic ulcers.

19. Okra revamps sex health in both sexes
Okra has fiber that counters exhaustion, hereby revitalizing sexual vigour.

Nutritional components of okra
According to the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) Agricultural Research Service, one cup of raw okra (about 100grams), has the following nutrients:

Okra calories - 33grams of calories
1.93grams of proteins
0.19grams of fat
7.45grams of carbohydrates
3.2grams of fiber
1.48grams of sugar
31.3milligrams of Vitamin K
299milligrams of Potassium
7milligrams of Sodium
23milligrams of Vitamin C
0.2milligrams of Thiamin
57milligrams of Magnesium
82milligrams of Calcium
0.215milligrams of Vitamin B6
60micrograms of Folate
36micrograms of Vitamin A
And traceable amounts of Niacin, Phosphorous, Copper, Iron, and antioxidants.
Health benefits of okra
Risks and precautions that should be taken into account during the consumption of okra
As healthy as it is to include okra to your diet, there are a number of things that should be taken into account.

First, because okra has Vit K, okra consumption may produce a negative effect on people who use blood thinning drugs. Vitamin K helps in the process of blood clotting. Therefore, eating okra may produce a counter effect to that produced by blood-thinners.
Next, okra has fructans, carbohydrates that trigger gastrointestinal problems.
Okra contains solanine, a toxic chemical compound that can cause joint pain, arthritis, and inflammation.
Okra contains oxalates that can increase the risk of kidney stones in people who have had them previously.
These are not the only benefits of okra. Okra is also known as a replacement for blood plasma, and the viscous extract from the vegetable is used in medicine as a tablet binder and suspending agent. Furthermore, okra is a good source of oil, and its seeds provide high-quality protein. In industry, the mucilaginous produced by okra is used for the removal of turbidity from wastewater.

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