Okra, also called okro, ladies’ fingers, gumbo, and ochro, is a flowering plant from the mallow family. With the scientific name Abelmoschus esculentus, okra is known to come from Africa, Ethiopia, and South Asia. It is cultivated in tropical and warm regions across the globe and it is common in tropical and warm regions around the world. As a food, okra has numerous health benefits.
Okra is packed with vitamins and minerals. According to Nutrition and You, the vegetable contains vitamins A, B, C, and K. Vitamin A is good for the eyes’ vision and integrity of the skin and mucus membranes. On the other hand, vitamin B is essential for the optimal function of the nervous system, which includes learning, thinking, and memory. Vitamin C is known for raising the body’s defenses against sickness causing microorganisms. The vitamin also promotes the function of the substance collagen, which acts as cement to bind loosely connected cells and tissues. Collagen is also taken as supplement to delay signs of aging, which include wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin. Finally, vitamin K is beneficial for blood clotting; thus, it prevents loss of blood or body fluids. This is the reason behind its administration to infants after childbirth.
In terms of minerals, okra contains calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. Calcium is necessary for both and dental health while iron helps in the distribution of oxygenated blood throughout the body. Copper and manganese play a pivotal role in the growth and development of cells and tissues, while phosphorus works hand in hand with calcium in terms of bone health. Selenium helps prevent cellular damage by generating antioxidant agents while zinc promotes digestive health and wound healing.
Okra and Diabetes
Okra helps manage diabetes mellitus, a medical condition characterized by prolonged increased in blood glucose. According to Healthline, a study found that water in okra helped improve the blood sugar levels of pregnant rats with gestational diabetes. As per the publication, roasted okra seeds have also been used in Turkey as part of diabetic treatment regimen. Also several studies found that okra has a positive impact on lowering the glucose levels in the blood.
Okra and the Heart
Okra also promotes cardiovascular function; this covers the heart and the blood vessels. According to Organic Facts, the vegetable also contains the mineral potassium, which is important to health. Aside from maintaining stable body fluid levels through neutralizing the water-retention properties of sodium, potassium also promotes proper muscular contractility, which covers proper cardiac rhythm. The mineral does this by relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels and arteries, which helps stabilize the blood pressure and the heart workload.
Since okra is a vegetable, turning it into a dish like Fried Okra is relatively simple. According to All Recipes, the ingredients include ten pods okra (sliced in one-fourth inch pieces), one egg (beaten), a cup of cornmeal, one-fourth teaspoon of salt, one-fourth teaspoon of ground black pepper, and half cup vegetable oil.
To prepare, as per the publication, the okra is soaked in egg for five to ten minutes in a small bowl. Next, the cornmeal, pepper, and salt are combined in a medium bowl. Then, oil is heated in a large skillet over medium high heat. After that, the okra is dredged in the cornmeal mixture, coating it evenly. Once done, the okra is carefully placed in hot oil and is stirred continuously. Then, heat is reduced to medium when the okra becomes brown in color. Finally, the fried okra is drained on paper towels.
Overall, okra is rich in health benefits. Thus, its inclusion in various meal recipes helps improve a person’s health and well-being.