It’s important to get several servings of vegetables in our diet each day. There are so many types of vegetables available that it can be hard to keep track of them all. There are some vegetables that we rarely think about. People usually go for the more common vegetables like green beans, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. But there are so many more options. One popular vegetable in Cajun cooking is okra. Okra, otherwise known as gumbo or lady’s fingers, is part of the mallow family of flowering plants. The okra plant is known for the edible green fruits that they produce. Okra is not only used in Cajun cooking, it can be used in every day meals, such as salads and soups. Okra health benefits include aspects such as being low in calories, being a great vegetable for people trying to lose weight, and being good for the digestive system.
Aids in Weight Loss
Okra is very low in calories. One half cup of okra has just 25 calories, making is great for people who are looking to lose weight. Okra contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, which are two components that should be avoided when losing weight. The fiber content in okra is high. You can get nine percent of the your daily recommended amount of fiber in one half cup of okra. Fiber helps to maintain the digestive system by allowing food to pass through the intestines easier.
Contains Necessary Vitamins
Along with containing high amounts of fiber, okra also contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6. Large amounts of calcium, zinc, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are also present in this vegetable. Women who are pregnant are urged to incorporate okra into their diets due to the high content of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the healthy growth of a fetus especially during the fourth week through the twelfth week of pregnancy.
This vegetable is great at being able to reabsorb water. By being able to absorb so much water, okra can trap excess cholesterol, excess bile, and certain toxins. By trapping these substances, it makes it easier to eliminate them from the body through the stool. Because okra absorbs so much water, eating this vegetable can prevent constipation, bloating, and gas.
Get Great Hair
One of the more unique okra health benefits is that it can add bounce and volume to your hair. All you need to do is boil okra that has been sliced horizontally until the contents become slimy. Let it cool and then add a couple of drops of lemon to it. Wash your hair like you normally would, and then use this mixture as a last rinse. Cover all of your hair and then rinse it off with water. You hair should have more volume and have a little more bounce to it.
Lowers Cholesterol & Reduces Cancer Risk
The fiber and mucilage (a thick, gluey substance the plant produces) that is found in okra can help maintain blood sugar levels. These components can also regulate the body’s absorption rate in the small intestine. Okra also contains healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These probiotics helps the natural production of the vitamin B complex. Okra has soluble fiber that helps to lower serum cholesterol. When this type of cholesterol is lowered, the risk of heart disease is lowered. On the other hand, the insoluble fiber found in okra is what keeps the intestinal tract in good shape. This type of fiber helps to decrease the risk of certain cancers, in particular colon cancer.
The seeds of okra contain oil and protein that are very rich in amino acids. The body needs certain amino acids such as cystine, tryptophan, and some sulfur amino acids.
More okra health benefits include the following.
- It can help prevent diabetes.
- It’s excellent for people who have atherosclerosis.
- It’s good for people who have asthma.
- It is a good laxative and can help irritable bowel syndrome, can sooth the gastrointestinal track, and can help to heal ulcers.
- It’s great to eat during the heat of summer as it helps to treat sun stroke.
As you can see, okra health benefits are many. It may have an unusual name, and you may be tempted to pass it by for a more common vegetable, but, give okra a try. It has many benefits and can be added easily to any meal.
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