Amazing Health Benefits of Okra

Okra has been part of the Nigerian cuisines for ages. The Ibos call it okwuru, the Hausas calls it kubewa, while the Yorubas refer to it as Ila. We can use them as veggie in soups; eat them in their cooked, raw or steamed forms. But, the sweetest is when used in preparing soup (Okra soup),

Apart from the use of okra in preparing soups, it also has therapeutic powers and I am sure you will be thrilled by the time you read about them.

1. In diabetes: okra is able to slow down the absorption of sugar to the blood because of its high fiber content. This property is similar to the insulin.  If you are a diabetic patient, this is certainly good news because with a daily consumption of okra, your diabetes will go down.

2. Control weight gain: if you have been struggling with keeping up a regular weight, including okra in your daily diet can help you achieve this feat. This is because they are very low in calories, just about 30calories/100g.

3. Cholesterol management: Okra is low in saturated fat and moderately rich in unsaturated fats. So, eating more of okra can help keep saturated fat intake low. Okra also contains soluble fibre which helps keep your cholesterol level in check and clears your risk of heart diseases.

4. Controls asthma: Okra has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the lungs thus cushioning the effects of asthma symptoms. While it is a known fact that okra has this property, it is advised that you agree with your doctor before including it to your medication.

5. Relieves constipation: An average adult needs about 25-30 grams a day to ward off constipation. A cup of okra contains about 3.2g of fiber. Due to their high content of dietary fiber and water, okra helps keep gastrointestinal system moving thus preventing constipation.

6. Cancer prevention: Okra contains anti-oxidant which helps block the activity of other chemicals known as free radicals which could cause damage to body cells and result in cancer. It also prevents the growth of cancers like colorectal cancer.

7. Improved vision: Okra is rich in antioxidants and vitamin A which are required for maintaining normal vision and preventing diseases like glaucoma. 

8. Ulcers:  the slimy nature of okra provides a temporary covering to the digestive tract and stomach lining and because they are alkaline, they neutralize the acid and help in the healing of ulcers.

9. Folate: Okra is rich in folate which is needed for preventing osteoporosis-related bone fractures, dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and for proper nerve functions. The folate also helps the body in the formation of red blood cells and the prevention of neural tube defects in babies.

10. Immune system: the vitamin A and C in Okra are essential for maintaining healthy immune system, the deficiency of which could lead to an impaired response to infections. 

Okra is also rich in vitamins B and K and minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and small amounts of manganese and magnesium.

If you really want to enjoy all the benefits okra comes with, they should be minimally cooked.

Now go grab some okra!

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