- Top 6 Health Benefits of Okra
- What is Okra?
- Watch Video: 9 Reasons To Eat Okra
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits of Okra
- Diabetes Management
- Improves Digestion
- Reduces Fatigue
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- Manages Hypertriglyceridemia
- Anti-stress Effect
- 7 Reasons to Add Okra in Your Diet
- 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Drinking Okra Juice
- 2. Sore Throat And Cough
- 3. Diabetes
- 5. Lowers Cholesterol Level
- 6. Provides Relief From Constipation
- 7. Helps In Improving Immune System
- 8. Improves Skin Health
- 9. Reduces Asthma Attacks
- 10. Strengthens Bones
- Top Health Benefits of Okra (Bhindi) + Side Effects
- What Is Okra?
- Okra Nutrition Facts
- How It Works
- Kidney Disease
- Animal and Cell Research (Lack of Evidence):
- Blood Sugar
- Blood Cholesterol
- Liver Support
- Stomach Protection
- Antioxidant Activity
- Jaw Pain
- Brain Protection
- Sun Damage
- Limitations and Caveats
- Side Effects & Precautions
- Drug Interactions
- Using Okra
- User Experiences
- Is Okra Good For Constipation? Okra Benefits, Okra Nutrition + Okra Side Effects
- About Okra
- Okra + Ayurveda
- Okra Benefits / Okra Nutrition
- Okra Nutrition (In One Half Cup Cooked Okra)
- Is Okra Good For Constipation?
- Why Okra Works For Constipation5
- Other Health Benefits Of Okra
- Okra Side Effects + Other Last Minute Things
- Okra Herbal Medicine – Health Benefits, Side Effects, Warnings
- Antibacterial Activity of Okra
- Antioxidant Health Benefit of Okra
- Mucilage of Okra as potential pharmaceutical adjutant.
Top 6 Health Benefits of Okra
|Listen to this article|
The health benefits of okra include its ability to improve digestive health, manage diabetes, reduce fatigue, and increase endurance levels. It also helps reduce stress and lowers cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels in the body.
What is Okra?
Okra is a flowering plant that is known in many parts of the world as ladyfinger or bhindi, is highly prized because of its seed pods. The scientific name of this interesting plant is Abelmoschus esculentus. While its origin is still unclear, research says that it could have been native of South Asian, West African, or Ethiopian but the jury is still out.
Watch Video: 9 Reasons To Eat Okra
9 Amazing Reasons To Eat Okra | Organic Facts
Okra is frequently used in dishes worldwide, from the Caribbean to China. Its popularity is increasing all the time, particularly due to its various uses. The different uses include:
Okra may not be the most conventional vegetable in the garden, but it has a rich content of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C, E, and K, as per the USDA National Nutrient Database.
The vegetable also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Furthermore, it contains high levels of nutritious mucilaginous fiber, colloquially called “okra slime”.
Most of the health benefits are due to the presence of minerals, vitamins, and organic compounds found in it.
Health Benefits of Okra
Let us discuss the important health benefits of okra in detail below.
Okra has potent antioxidant power in its seeds and peel, which specifically help people with type 2 diabetes.
A recent study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences explored the antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic properties of the green sticky vegetable.
Diabetic rats were administered the powdered form for a range of 14 to 28 days and showed improved lipid profiles when the tests ended.
Furthermore, the health benefits of okra water are known to be beneficial for managing blood glucose levels. A study published in the Natural Product Communications, says that in Turkey, drinking water infused with roasted okra seeds is a common natural remedy for diabetes.
A 2016 study by a team of international researchers says that the fiber content of okra can help improve digestion. The study found that the high amount of fiber in the vegetable helped improve the absorption process in the large intestine and stimulated peristalsis in the body. This may also help prevent constipation.
Okra is rich in magnesium, folate, and fiber. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Okra may help reduce fatigue levels in the body. Researchers led by Fangbo Xia from Beijing, China in their study titled “Antioxidant and Anti-Fatigue Constituents of Okra” found that antioxidant-rich vegetable seeds may help reduce muscle tiredness.
In a clinical trial conducted on laboratory mice, the swimming time of mice who were given the extract increased significantly as compared to the control group. Also, lactic acid levels were much lower in the mice that had the vegetable extracts, indicating a lower muscle weakness effect.
The research study suggested that okra consumption could be related to improved metabolic capacity and improved ability stress of mice.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Researchers from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found evidence that it may lower total cholesterol levels. In the study, the researchers administered obese mice with an ethanol extract of okra. The nutrients in the solution, including isoquercitrin and quercetin, helped reduce the levels of blood glucose, insulin, and total cholesterol levels.
Also, this vegetable is a good source of fiber; 1 cup provides 3.2 g of dietary fiber. According to the American Heart Association, foods rich in dietary fiber help lower bad cholesterol levels.
Okra can be a dietary therapy source for hypertriglyceridemia, a condition that occurs when there is a high level of a certain type of fat (triglycerides) in the blood.
People with hypertriglyceridemia, which may contribute to the hardening of arteries and subsequently, cardiovascular diseases.
The aforementioned study was conducted in China and published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (July 2014).
Researchers in India have found scientific evidence through a study conducted on laboratory rats that okra seeds extracts have anti-stress (adaptogen) properties.
Adaptogens can help enhance overall health, as prolonged stressful situations can cause ineffective adaptation in the body, which includes reduced stamina levels and affect mood.
According to the study not only can it help reduce stress levels, but it also has the potential to manage stress-related disorders and dementia. Further detailed studies, particularly with human subjects are required to explore this particular health benefit.
Word of Caution: People who are taking metformin to control type 2 diabetes should not complement it with excessive okra consumption. A study published in the International Scholarly Research Notices shows that consuming the vegetable may improve glycemic control but can interact with metformin and alter its absorption.
Enjoy okra in your favorite dishes and enlighten us with the latest health benefits of okra in the comments section below!
7 Reasons to Add Okra in Your Diet
Sarika Rana | Updated: December 07, 2017 16:37 IST
Talk about ghar ka khana and the classic trio of dal, chawal and bhindi comes to mind. A perfect combination indeed. Okra, lady's finger or bhindi, as it is popularly known in India, has always been an amazing accompaniment to various delicacies. If you haven't tried the kurkuri bhindi then you sure have missed out on something delicious. Okra is a flowering plant that is known to be used in various culinary preparations across the world. This includes pickles, snacks, soups and sometimes curries too. Apart from having a special place in the kitchen, okra is believed to have innumerable health benefits as well. It is known to be a rich source of essential minerals, vitamins and high levels of fiber that are great to keep your body healthy and sound.Let us look at some important benefits okra has to offer:
1. Boosts digestion
Adding okra to your diet will ensure a strengthened digestive system. It is due to the presence of fiber content in okra that helps move food through the digestive tract by adding bulk. This further ensures faster bowel movements and reduced gastrointestinal problems gas, bloating, constipation, cramping, et al.Adding okra to your diet will ensure a strengthened digestive system2. Takes care of your blood pressure
Okra is an excellent source of potassium which is essential for keeping your blood circulation in check. Potassium is basically necessary to maintain proper fluid balance in the body as it balances sodium. Moreover, it helps to relax the blood vessels and arteries which further reduces blood pressure and in turn strengthens the cardiovascular system.
Okra is an excellent source of potassium which is essential for keeping your blood circulation
3. Keeps you away from hunger pangs
It is due to the presence of soluble fiber that okra makes you feel full for longer, resulting in lesser hunger pangs through the day. So if you are looking at losing weight, you may want to consume more and more okra regularly.
It is due to the presence of soluble fiber that okra makes you feel full for longer
4. Improves your immunity system
The abundance of antioxidants makes okra a beneficial vegetable that can help fight free radicals, which are known to destroy body cells. Also, the presence of high amounts of vitamin C helps boost immunity as it helps create white blood cells in the body. White blood cells help combat infection and help build immunity.The abundance of antioxidants makes okra a beneficial vegetable that can help fight free radicals
5. Ensures healthy vision
Okra is a rich source of vitamin A and other antioxidants beta-carotene, xanthein and lutein that prevent macular degeneration and could help delay onset of cataracts.
Okra is a rich source of vitamin A and other antioxidants beta-carotene
6. A perfect veggie for diabetics
Okra's peel and seeds are known to lower the blood glucose levels, hence making it safe for consumption by diabetics. They do so by inhibiting carb-breaking enzymes, increasing sensitivity to insulin and ensuring there are sufficient insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Okra's peel and seeds are known to lower the blood glucose levels
7. Known to treat gastric issues
Bacteria known as H.pylori bacteria tend to infect the stomach lining and cause inflammation condition known as gastritis. Okra juice consists of anti-adhesive compounds that bind to the surface of free floating bacteria in the gut. This binding inhibits the bacteria from causing havoc on the stomach lining, preventing any inflammation and gastritis in the stomach.Bacteria known as H.pylori bacteria tend to infect the stomach lining and cause inflammation
It is time we give this green veggie all the attention it deserves and make the best it to stay healthy and fit.
10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Drinking Okra Juice
Okra is a well known vegetable, which is grown and consumed in almost every part of the world. Commonly known as “Lady Finger”, okra is a nutritious and healthy vegetable. The taste of okra depends upon its preparation. Most people share a love hate relation with okra—you can love it or hate it, but cannot ignore it!
The okra belongs to the mallow family and is cultivated in warm and temperate climates. As a vegetable, it contains many vitamins and minerals, which are essential for the body. Not just as a vegetable, but you can get all its goodness from its juice too.
Some of the benefits of drinking okra juice are given below. Read on to know more:
A person suffering from anemia can derive the benefits of this vegetable from its juice. Okra juice helps the body produce more red blood cells, which helps to treat anemia. The juice of okra contains many vitamins and minerals. Some of them are Vitamin-A, Vitamin-C, magnesium, etc., which help in producing more red blood cells in the body.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Cure Anemia ]
2. Sore Throat And Cough
Okra juice is also used to treat sore throat and severe cough. A person suffering from sore throat and cough can consume okra juice. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties will do their magic!
Lady Finger contains insulin properties, which are beneficial for the treatment of diabetes. Okra juice helps to reduce sugar levels in the blood. So, consume okra juice regularly to control diabetes.
Diarrhea is one of the most irritating health conditions one can suffer from. It causes huge amount water and essential minerals loss from the body. The juice of okra is used in the treatment of diarrhea and it also helps to replenish the body.
5. Lowers Cholesterol Level
The plant contains a lot of soluble fibers, which can help the body to lower the cholesterol level. The regular consumption of this juice can decrease the cholesterol level in the blood and protect your heart.
[ Read: Health Benefits Of Okra/Lady’s Finger ]
6. Provides Relief From Constipation
The same soluble fiber, which can help to control the cholesterol levels in the blood, also helps to provide relief from constipation. Acting as a natural laxative, the fiber content in okra binds with the toxins and eases the bowel movements.
7. Helps In Improving Immune System
The immune system helps the body fight against various diseases, such as cold and flu. Okra juice contains high amounts of Vitamin-C and antioxidants, which help to improve the immunity power of a person.
8. Improves Skin Health
Regular consumption of okra juice helps to improve the skin health. The antioxidants help to purify the blood and reduce acne and other skin diseases, which are caused by the impurities in the blood. A clearer skin equals a beautiful skin!
[ Read: Top 14 Foods for Healthy Skin ]
9. Reduces Asthma Attacks
The juice of okra also reduces the chances of asthmatic attacks and is of great benefit for a person suffering from asthma.
10. Strengthens Bones
This health benefit of okra juice helps to strengthen the bones. The folate offers great benefits during the pregnancy for both the mother and the child. It increases the density of the bones resulting in stronger and healthier bones, preventing osteoporosis.
As a vegetable, okra contains many essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which help the body, fight various diseases and improve its immunity. Due to its many characteristic features, it is one of the top vegetables that must be consumed on a regular basis. So start juicing those okras and enjoy a life of good health!
Have you ever tried okra juice? Do you have a recipe to share? Share it in the comments section below.
Top Health Benefits of Okra (Bhindi) + Side Effects
Common in Southern and Creole cooking, okra is a tasty delicacy found in many dishes. It is often fried, boiled, steamed, or added to soups, making it quite a versatile vegetable.
However, not only does it make a tasty addition to meals, okra may help with diabetes, high cholesterol, fatigue, and even liver issues.
Read on to find out more information about the health benefits of okra and some of its side effects.
What Is Okra?
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus, Abelmoschus manihot) is a tropical plant from the mallow (Malvaceae) family. This is the same family of plants as marshmallow, cotton, and hibiscus. It is also known as lady’s finger, bhindi, and gumbo [1, 2].
Traditional uses include treatment of stomach ulcers, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. Okra is also used as a remedy for infections, fever, and arthritis. Others use it as a treatment for skin wounds, pimples, and itchiness .
Okra Nutrition Facts
Okra seeds contain many nutrients, including [4, 5]:
- 31% carbohydrate
- 14% protein
- 8% fiber (soluble)
- 2% fat (linolenic, linoleic acid, oleic acid)
Okra’s minerals include the following [6, 7]:
The amount of minerals absorbed from okra is high, due to its low content in antinutrients (such as phytate, oxalate, and tannins) .
Okra is also rich in vitamins, including :
- Vitamin C
Okra contains many other active beneficial compounds, including [9, 10]:
How It Works
Okra may achieve its health benefits through numerous mechanisms of action, including:
- Increasing the breakdown of glucose and fat (by reducing levels of a receptor called PPARγ) .
- Reducing fasting insulin and blood glucose (by increasing glycogen and glucose entry into muscle tissue) [12, 13].
- Causing programmed cell death of tumor cells (through the increase of genes called caspase-3, caspase-9, and p21) .
- Increasing tumor cell destruction by reducing inflammatory signals (such as inducible nitric oxide protein, tumor necrosis factor, and NF-κB) [15, 14].
- Protecting the liver (by causing an increase in superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione) .
- Reducing signs of liver damage (by reducing levels of enzymes called SGPT and total bilirubin) [16, 17].
- Increasing albumin, a beneficial blood protein made in the liver [18, 16].
- Reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the gut .
- Increasing blood antioxidants (such as malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase) [13, 20].
- Blocking H. pylori from sticking to healthy stomach cells [21, 22].
- Reducing sun damage (through a pathway called Nrf2-ARE) .
- Decreasing harmful substances in nerves (reactive oxygen species and hydrogen peroxide) .
- Reducing the activation of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease (called tau phosphorylation) .
- Reducing kidney damage. Okra decreases proteinuria and oxidative markers (beta 2-microglobulin, N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase, lipid peroxide, superoxide anion) in the kidneys [25, 26].
In a study of 417 patients with kidney disease, ornamental okra reduced high protein levels in the urine, which is a marker of kidney damage .
In 35 patients with kidney disease related to diabetes, ornamental okra acted as an antioxidant, reduced high protein levels in the urine, and increased kidney function. A systematic review of 7 trials and over 500 people concluded that okra may be used as an add-on therapy in people with kidney damage from diabetes [26, 27].
Okra and its active compounds also improved kidney damage in diabetic mice and rats by reducing inflammation and oxidative damage [28, 29, 30].
All in all, promising but limited evidence suggests that okra may help with kidney disease. You may discuss with your doctor if including okra in your diet or taking supplements could be helpful in your case.
Animal and Cell Research (Lack of Evidence):
No clinical evidence supports the benefits of okra for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
In pregnant rats with diabetes, okra reduced fasting blood sugar and insulin. It also reduced HbA1C (a marker of diabetes), and liver carbohydrate stores .
In multiple studies on obese and diabetic mice and rats, okra extract reduced blood sugar (reduced production of PPAR-ɣ) [11, 16, 32, 33].
Two complex carbohydrates (rhamnogalacturonan and ‘OP’) and a hormone (abscisic acid) from okra have been shown to lower blood sugar levels [34, 35, 36].
Okra also enhanced sugar use by the muscles in diabetic rats (increased muscle glycogen) .
Okra supplements reduced sugar absorption in the gut of diabetic rats .
In a cell-based study, okra extract prevented the death of the pancreatic cells that produce insulin (beta-cells) .
Okra reduced blood levels of cholesterol in diabetic rats by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the gut .
In diabetic rats, it reduced harmful cholesterol in the blood (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and very-low-density lipoprotein compared to controls) and increased beneficialHDL cholesterol [16, 13].
Okra extract reduced blood fat levels and total cholesterol in obese mice by blocking their production and stimulating their breakdown (inhibition of PPAR and LXR signaling) [11, 39, 40].
In mice, okra extract improved liver health by [11, 16, 41]:
- Improving liver appearance and activity (improved morphology and increased superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione)
- Normalizing liver enzyme levels (SGPT and total bilirubin)
- Increasing a beneficial blood protein made in the liver (albumin) by up to 30%
- Increasing total blood protein levels
In mice and rats, okra reduced the damage and toxic effects of alcohol on the liver (protected lining by reducing oxidative stress and improved hemoglobin blood levels) [42, 43].
Okra reduced bacterial binding to human stomach cells in a cell study (blocked H. pylori surface receptors) [21, 22, 44].
Extract of okra improved antioxidant activity in mice and rats, by [11, 45, 46, 13]:
- Increasing enzymes that break down harmful compounds and protect cells from damage (Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Glutathione peroxidase (GPx), Glutathione (GSH))
- Reducing lipid peroxidation, which can lead to heart disease
- Reducing markers of cell damage (Malondialdehyde -MDA-)
The okra seed, but not the pod, improved markers of endurance in mice (swimming time) .
Okra seeds reduced harmful compounds that decrease energy production (reduced blood lactic acid and blood urea nitrogen), while increasing energy storage, liver and blood vessel protection (increased glycogen and malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase) [20, 47, 48, 49].
Okra reduced jawpain and inflammation markers in the blood in rats (reduced TNF-α and IL-1β in the trigeminal ganglion) .
A similar study in rats found that it reduced nerve-related inflammation and pain (temporomandibular joint) .
In mice, both okra extract and its flavonoids quercetin and rutin prevented the brain damage caused by a drug (dexamethasone) and the resulting cognitive impairment .
Some genes increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (hemochromatosis gene). In a cell-based study, okra increased beneficial antioxidants in cells with this gene (decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and tau phosphorylation), which may protect against disease .
In a human cellular study, okra reduced sun damage (reduced UV-B-induced cell death and breakdown) .
Limitations and Caveats
Research on okra in humans has been limited to ornamental okra, and may not extend to other varieties. Most potential benefits have only been tested in animals and cells. The effects of dietary okra may not be the same in humans.
Side Effects & Precautions
Okra is safe in typical food amounts and at high doses in animals [53, 16].
However, it reduced sexual function in animal studies and resulted in increased body weight.
In male rats, okra increased some hormones (testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone), and reduced male fertility .
Effects on sexual function in male animals included [55, 54]:
- Reduced testicle weight and function
- Reduced sperm count and movement
Men trying to have children should consult taking okra with their doctors.
Okra may cause an allergic reaction during harvest (contact dermatitis) [56, 57].
Do not eat okra at the same time of day that you take metformin pills (used for treating diabetes), as it can reduce the absorption of this medication .
You may eat okra or take supplements if you and your doctor determine that it could be appropriate for your health condition. Remember that taking okra should never be done in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes.
Because okra is not approved by the FDA for any conditions, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses trial and error.
Supplemental doses of 400 mg okra capsules are available. It is also sold as okra pepsin E3.
For kidney disease, doses of 2.5 g, 3x/day of ornamental okra were standard .
Okra is eaten in typical food amounts.
The opinions expressed in this section are solely those of okra users, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfHacked. SelfHacked does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.
Do not consider user experiences as medical advice.
Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers because of something you have read on SelfHacked.
We understand that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.
Users taking supplemental okra claim that it helped coat their stomach and improve digestion. Some people also gave it to their pets for digestive health.
Some users disd the slimy texture of okra; cooking it quickly or incorporating it into soups reduces the undesirable texture according to some.
Is Okra Good For Constipation? Okra Benefits, Okra Nutrition + Okra Side Effects
Is okra good for constipation? It has many health benefits. It’s rich in a number of nutrients (see ‘okra nutrition’ below) and according to Ayurveda, is beneficial for Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha (all the body types). Does that mean okra is good for constipation?
If you know a little about Ayurveda, you’re probably guessing yes. And you’re right! So let’s explore.
In this article, we’ll cover some basic information okra benefits, okra nutrients and this important question, is okra good for constipation? We’ll also give you the Ayurvedic properties of okra with some tips on how to cook it to enhance the okra benefits.
Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ll cover in this article.
Okra + Ayurveda
Okra Benefits / Okra Nutrition
Okra Nutrition (In One Half Cup Cooked Okra)
Is Okra Good For Constipation?
Why Okra Works For Constipation
Other Health Benefits Of Okra
Okra Side Effects + Other Last Minute Things
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that this vegetable is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae) and produces large yellow flowers.
The fruit or pod measures about 4-10 inches (10-25 cm) and only the tender unripe fruit is eaten.1
Okra becomes gloopy or thick when boiled and is used to thicken stews, broths and soups. You can also prepare it by pickling, sauteing or frying it. Other names for okra include lady’s fingers (or, ladies fingers), bhindi, bamia or gumbo.
Okra + Ayurveda
The ancient Ayurvedic teacher named Charak described Bhandi (okra) as a Vata Pitta pacifier.2 What does that mean? If you don’t yet speak Ayurveda, here’s a quick rundown.
Ayurveda – the ancient natural medicine of India and the sister science to yoga – recognizes that the five elements of the earth (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) act and dwell within us as three doshas, or mind-body principles.
When these five elements – or doshas – are imbalanced, either in excess or in lack, the disease process sets in and you begin to experience symptoms.
The Different Doshas
You’ll all have some combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha within you. We all do, just in different ratios.
- VataDosha is formed of Air and Space. It regulates all forms of movement in the body.
Pitta Dosha is formed of Fire and Water. Pitta regulates the intelligence, metabolism, and temperature of the body.
Kapha Dosha is formed of Water and Earth. It’s the structure and glue of our bodies and expresses as love, compassion, and solidity.
Cooked okra is an excellent Pitta pacifying vegetable because it is cool and soothing.
Raw, it would elevate Vata mildly. But cooked, it actually pacifies Vata because of its moistening, unctuous quality.
It is best cooked for Vata dosha. Use warming Vata pacifying spices cumin. Especially good for Vata are the sweet spices clove, cinnamon, and cardamom because, as you may remember, the sweet taste pacifies Vata dosha.
Because of its slightly bitter and light quality, it pacifies Kapha dosha as well, particularly if it’s cooked on the drier side and with less onion.
So how does Ayurveda answer the question, is okra good for constipation?
Vata body types often suffer from dry hard stools or lack of urgency.
This green vegetable is one of the most excellent vegetables for constipation, especially when cooked with spices that stimulate the digestive fire.
When prepared with well-cooked onion this also stimulates digestion and lubricates the intestines. It has both the sweet and heavy quality that Vata body types need.
Learn more about Ayurvedic nutrition, check out Todd Caldecott’s course below.
Okra Benefits / Okra Nutrition
One of the best reasons for adding this vegetable to your diet is that it is packed full of nutrients that are essential for good health.
The journal Food Science & Nutrition stated that it is a rich source of vital nutrients required by the body to maintain a healthy immune system.
The researchers found that the following beneficial nutrients are found in okra.3
- Calcium needed for strong bones and healthy teeth.
- Iron to keep your blood healthy and produce red blood cells.
- Potassium for maintaining normal blood pressure levels.
- Zinc to help protect DNA and strengthen your immune system.
- Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals from your body and protect against diseases.
- Dietary fiber to improve the health of your digestive system.
The researchers concluded that this vegetable is a rich dietary source of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Let’s now look more closely at okra nutrition. The following numbers are from the University of Illinois Extension page on okra.
Okra Nutrition (In One Half Cup Cooked Okra)
These numbers should be used as a guideline only.
- Calories = 25
- Dietary Fiber = 2 grams
- Protein = 1.5 grams
- Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams
- Vitamin A = 460 IU
- Vitamin C = 13 mg
- Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms
- Calcium = 50 mg
- Iron = 0.4 mg
- Potassium = 256 mg
- Magnesium = 46 mg
Is Okra Good For Constipation?
As we stated earlier, this green vegetable is good for Vata dosha which tends toward dry, hard stools and constipation.
According to recent surveys, 1-20% of the western world’s population suffers from constipation.4 The percentage varies demographics, age, gender, etc.
Constipation is a condition wherein the body isn’t able to eliminate solid waste. Constipation is characterized by severe bloating, strained bowel movements, hard stools and incomplete evacuation for more than 25% of the time. As such, constipation is not life-threatening, but unnecessary negligence can lead to discomfort and misery.
Fortunately, nature has provided various foods which can help, one of which is okra.
Why Okra Works For Constipation5
The fiber in okra has many superior qualities for maintaining the health of the gastrointestinal tract. It feeds the good bacteria.
Its high percentage of water and bulky fiber helps prevent constipation, gas and bloating.
Feeding the good bacteria other fresh fruit and vegetables do encourages biosynthesis. This enables the body to make its own vitamin B complex.
It is an excellent laxative treating irritable bowel syndrome, healing ulcers and soothing the gastrointestinal tract.
Many alternative health practitioners believe all disease begins in the colon. The okra’s fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent constipation.
Fiber in general is helpful for this but okra is one of the best remedies for constipation, along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Un harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes the gut, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably with its slippery characteristic which many people abhor.
In other words, this incredibly valuable vegetable not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems if not evacuated, but also assures their easy passage from the body.
Other Health Benefits Of Okra
This green vegetable is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.
The mucilage in this vegetable not only binds cholesterol but also the bile acid-carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver. It is also hepato-protective.6
The journal Phytotherapy Research reported that extracts of okra pods can help to treat melanoma cells and be effective against skin cancer.
Also, okra extracts have been shown to have a positive effect in reducing breast cancer cells.7
The fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar as it curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract
. A review of medical literature on the benefits of adding okra to a diet found that it is a food that has a hypoglycemic effect. Over time, okra extracts can reduce levels of glucose in the blood and can be useful in managing type 2 diabetes.8
It reduces stress and anxiety and boosts your mood. One study found that it has an anti-anxiety, anti-stress and anti-depression effect. Supplements with this vegetable help to induce calm and reduce physiological and biochemical responses to stress. The dried okra had a similar effect to benzodiazepine drugs that treat depression and anxiety.9
It prevents obesity. It is high in dietary fiber and low in calories. The fiber keeps you fuller for a long time, which helps in diet control and prevents obesity.
It is low in calories but loaded with nutrients that provide nourishment to the body.
Okra Side Effects + Other Last Minute Things
Depending on the severity of your condition, constipation may respond to home remedies or it may need medical attention. If your constipation does not resolve within a few days’ time, seek the advice of your health care provider.
This veggie is completely non-toxic and non-habit forming (except for the many who greatly enjoy eating it). Okra side effects are nil. Moreover, it is full of nutrients and economically within reach for most people.
To retain most okra nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, with low heat or lightly steamed. Some people eat it raw.
Cooked, it is essentially tri-doshik which means it is well tolerated by all three doshas or Ayurvedic constitutions. So adjust your recipe to your dosha by adjusting the kind of cooking oil you use.
We hope you enjoyed our answer to your question, is okra good for constipation? Instead of shying away from this uncomfortable problem, a few active measures are just the need of the hour.
If this nutrient-rich vegetable is not readily available, you may find help in the Ayurvedic formula triphala, a gentle detoxifying blend of dried, powdered fruits for the colon. Finally, eat organic, drink plenty of water, do exercise and lead a happy life!
1. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Okra.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 13 Mar. 2018, www.britannica.com/plant/okra.
2. Dr. Ram Karan Sharma, Charaka Samhita, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi , Sutra Sthana Vol-1, 27/107, pg-511.
3. Gemede, Habtamu Fekadu, et al.
“Proximate, Mineral, and Antinutrient Compositions of Indigenous Okra (Abelmoschus Esculentus) Pod Accessions: Implications for Mineral Bioavailability.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779480/.
4. Lindberg, Gregor. “Constipation: A Global Perspective.
” WGO: World Gastroenterology Organisation, World Gastroenterology Organization, Nov. 2010, www.worldgastroenterology.org/guidelines/global-guidelines/constipation/constipation-english.
5. Dawczynski C., Schubert R., and Jahreis G.. 2007. Amino acids, fatty acids, and dietary fibre in edible seaweed products. Food Chemistry. 103:891-899.
Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, Volume 20, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 135-141
7. Monte, L G, et al. “Lectin of Abelmoschus Esculentus (Okra) Promotes Selective Antitumor Effects in Human Breast Cancer Cells.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24129958.
8. Khosrozadeh, Maryam, et al.
“The Effect of Abelmoschus Esculentus on Blood Levels of Glucose in Diabetes Mellitus.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4955346/.
9. Doreddula, et al.
“Phytochemical Analysis, Antioxidant, Antistress, and Nootropic Activities of Aqueous and Methanolic Seed Extracts of Ladies Finger (Abelmoschus Esculentus L.) in Mice.” International Scholarly Research Notices, Hindawi, 21 Oct. 2014, www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/519848/.
Okra Herbal Medicine – Health Benefits, Side Effects, Warnings
|Okra used.as a culinary vegetable that has many health benefits..(more)|
What is Okra? OKra is a vegetable widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas that has a fruit that is fibrous and has a mucus- juice…..(more)
Okra Preparation Okra seeds are used as coffee substitute and and cooked with other vegetables and meat….(more)
Scientific Name: Abelmoschus esculentus Moench, Hibiscus esculentis Linn
Common Names : Okra, Gumbo, Lady fingers (English), Huang su kui (Chinese), Gombo (Spanish), bhindi (Hindi/Urdu), krachiap mon (Thailand), bamya (Arab Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo, Quingumbo,
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench, Hibiscus esculentis Linn), known in many English-speaking countries as lady's fingers or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family.
Okra is an annual herb that is widely cultivated for its edible green seed pods in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates.
Okra is a hardy plant that can grow even with less water and in hot conditions.
Okra is somewhat related to cotton and hollyhock. Okra plant can grow up to 9 feet in height with heart shaped leaves that is palmate with 5 to 7 lobes.
Okra flowers are large with 5 petals colored white or yellow and sometimes with a reddish-purple base. Okra seed pods are 3 to 10 inches in length about ½ to 1 inch wide.
Okra fruit or pod is usually green in color with a new red variety. It is tapering in shape with ribs along its length.
Okra fruit is valued as vegetable, harvested while young and has mucus- juice that is used to thicken stews (gumbo). Okra is also known for its nutritional value and offers varieties of health benefits.
|Okra Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy 30 kcal 150 kJ|
|Dietary fiber||3.2 g|
|Folate (Vit. B9) 87.8g||22%|
|Vitamin C 21 mg||35%|
|Calcium 75 mg||8%|
|Magnesium 57 mg||15%|
|Vitamin A (660 IU) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.|
Okra is available in most grocery and vegetable stores. Buy okra fruits that are fresh, young, tender and firm. You will know it is fresh if it can easily be snapped in two. The best okra variety is the green color.
If you have to store okra for later preparation, do not wash as it will become slimy, put in a paper bag and refrigerate – do not freeze. Okra is best consumed within 3 days.
To maintain the best nutritional value of okra, it is suggested not to overcook it.
- Decoction of young okra fruit is used to treat inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the respiratory tract, accompanied by excessive secretions.
- Okra juice is used to treat sore throat associated with coughing
- Decoction of okra leaves, fruits and leaves are used to treat urinary problems, such as painful urination and other genitourinary problems including gonorrhea and syphilis.
- Okra leaves and roots used as poultice for wounds
- Okra juice used to treat diarrhea with fever and related abdominal pains
- Okra juice used to treat skin itchiness and as skin moisturizer.
- Okra leaves used for inflammation
- Okra fruits are eaten to treat involuntary discharge of semen
- Roasted okra seeds are used to promote sweating
- Okra seeds are used to treat and prevent muscle spasms
- Decoction of okra is used to treat fever, headache and arthritis.
- Okra is rich in fiber that absorbs water and improves the bulk of stool. Very effective against diarrhea and constipation.
- Okra’s mucilage binds with cholesterol and bile acids and expelled through stool from the body.
- Okra helps in lowering the blood sugar level by blocking the absorption of sugar in the intestinal tract.
- Okra’s mucilage acts as a lubricant and a laxative for the intestinal tract facilitating the easy passage of waste.
- Okra is believed to smoothen the skin and prevent the eruption of pimples and acne.
In a study published in “Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences 2011” entitled “Anti diabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench.
In streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats”, suggests that extracts from okra could be developed as a prospective phytomedicinal plant against diabetes mellitus.
The results have shown that by administration of okra extracts to diabetic rats, there was a significant reduction in blood glucose level and the lipid profile level also have normalized. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178946/
Antibacterial Activity of Okra
In a study entitled “Glycosylated compounds from okra inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa”, the crude polysaccharide isolated from the fresh juice by ethanolic precipitation showed strong inhibitory effects.
Okra fresh juice preparation inhibited the bacterial adhesion almost completely in the gastric mucosa.
The anti adhesive qualities of okra were assumed to be due to a combination of glycoproteins and highly acidic sugar compounds making up a complex three-dimensional structure that is fully developed only in the fresh juice of the okra fruit.
Antioxidant Health Benefit of Okra
In a study entitled “Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effect of the roots of Hibiscus esculentus Linn”.of the Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Masterskill University College of Health Sciences, Selangor, Malaysia, showed that (H.
esculentus) okra root ethanol extract posses in vitro free radical scavenging activity which was well comparable with Silymarin. Okra contains flavanoids that may have anti-oxidant and hepatoprotective activities.
The present study further suggests that phenolic compounds of the roots H esculentus provide a good source of antioxidants that could offer potential protective effects against lipid oxidation and which could be exploited to make a hepato protective formulation
Mucilage of Okra as potential pharmaceutical adjutant.
A study published in “International Journal of PharmTech Research 2009” Entitled “Evaluation of Abelmoschus Esculentus Mucilage as Suspending Agent in Paracetamol Suspension” suggests that the extracted mucilage of Abelmoschus esculentus is non toxic and has the potential as a suspending agent even at lower concentration (4%w/v) and can be used as a pharmaceutical adjuvant. In view of these properties, mucilage of Abelmoschus esculentus can be employed as stabilizer and thickener of choice when high viscosity’s desired especially in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries.
Okra is a highly nutritious vegetable that is non toxic and safe for consumption even for young children and pregnant women.
However, In a study entitled “Evaluation of The Deleterious Effects of Aqueous Fruit Extract of Abelmoschus Esculentus (Okro Fruit) on Some Male Reproductive Parameters in Sprague Dawley Rats” published in “Journal of Phytology 2009” suggests that the methanol fruit extract of okra significantly reduced the mean weight of testes; this is supported by the histological studies which showed testicular atrophy. There was significant reduction in the weight of the prostate gland. Although not conclusive but it may affect male fertility.