Okra, or lady’s fingers, is an annual flowering plant, which is a member of the mallow family. This vegetable has edible green pods and offers a myriad of health benefits.
It is especially beneficial in the treatment of diseases and conditions like anemia, diabetes, and asthma.
The amazing qualities of this plant come from its various nutrients. It is abundant in vitamins K, C, A, and B, and minerals like manganese, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
Moreover, it contains high amounts of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which improve eye health.
Here are the main health benefits of okra:
Anemia: Helps red blood cells production and prevent anemia.
Anti-cancer: The high antioxidants in okra helps protect the immune system against harmful free radicals and prevent mutation of cells.
Asthma: The high antioxidants and vitamin C content make okra useful for reducing asthmatic attacks.
Bone strength: Folate in okra builds strong bones and density, preventing osteoporosis.
Cholesterol: The soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, thus also reducing atherosclerosis and the risk of heart diseases.
Constipation: The rich fiber and mucilaginous (slimy) content in okra pods help increase bulk, bind to toxins and ensure easy bowel movements with its natural laxative properties. Regularly eating okra also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Diabetes: It has insulin-like properties that help to reduce blood sugar level. Eat about 6-8 young, raw okra every day and see your blood sugar level drop significantly.
Gut flora: The fiber helps improve the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Immune booster: The high antioxidants and vitamin C content make okra a good immune booster food that reduces your catching the cough and cold.
Peptic ulcers: The mucilaginous content provides a temporary coating to the digestive tract and stomach lining while healing the ulcers.
Pregnancy: The rich folate content in okra can help decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in babies.
Skin health: With good bowel movements, skin health will improve. Helps reduce acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Vision health: Okra contains beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A), xanthin and lutein, all antioxidant properties that are helpful for vision health, preventing eye problems like cataract and glaucoma.
How to eat okra to lower blood sugar levels
Take 3-4 pieces of tender, raw okra, cut off the stem part, make a slit to expose the insides of the okra and cut the okra into two pieces each or more. Submerge them into a glass of water. Distilled water is best as it will carry all the nutrients into your cells directly. Put them in a mason jar, put on the lid and let it stand overnight out at room temperature.
Next morning, drink the okra water. You may eat the okra or discard it. You will see a significant drop in your blood sugar level within 2-4 weeks. It is advisable too, however, to eat clean if you have diabetes, in order to see a lasting result.
Choose smaller-sized okra over the big ones. The feel should be crisp and firm to be sure they are tender and not overly fibrous. Avoid those which color does not look fresh and are soft.
As with most vegetables, okra may be subject to insecticide/pesticides. Buy organic if possible. If not, soak okra in water with apple cider vinegar and sea salt for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Cut off the tops and cut okra into smaller pieces of 2-3 inches if desired. Lightly blanch, steam or quickly stir-fry to reduce the mucilage and the “green taste”. It can be added into your salad, or dipped into your home-made chilli sauce, or eat it just on its own.
Okra cannot be juiced due to its very fibrous texture and mucilaginous (slimy) content.
Cautionary note: Like most vegetables, okra has a small amount of oxalic acid and does not generally bother. Avoid okra if you have a history of kidney stones.