The health benefits of okra are many, but first let’s focus on the background of okra.
Okra is actually a member of the cotton and hibiscus family and is indigenous to regions around the Nile in North Africa as well as the Middle East. Okra was discovered about 3500 years ago in Ethiopia. Okra later made its way to North America through the slave trade and then to Europe, Asia and South and Central America. Okra is also known as “lady finger.”
Okra appears in the United States during the summer months but is available in the South most of the year. As many say, when you’re Southern, okra is always in season… and always fried.
One of the most important health benefits of okra is it’s high content of Folic acid. Thus eating okra is highly recommended for pregnant woman. Okra leaves are often cooked in a similar manner as the greens of beets or dandelions. The leaves can also be eaten raw in salads.
Health Benefits of Okra
- anti-oxidant properties
- high in vitamin A
- maintains healthy skin and mucous membranes
- supports vision
- protects from free radicals
- rich in B-complex
- helps with blood clotting
- good source of vitamin K
- good source of minerals
- helps with acid reflux
- stabilizes blood sugar
- high in fiber
- containing no saturated fats or cholesterol
- helps in smooth intestinal peristalsis
- may help improve mood
- reduces risk of heart disease
- prevents constipation
- alleviates effects of diabetes
- protects from certain cancers
- good source of Folate
- excellent source of vitamin C
- feeds good bacteria in intestines
Spicy Okra Chips with Mexican Seasoned Salt
Serves: 4-6 | use organic ingredients
2 lbs organic okra*, sliced length-wise
¼ cup Macadamia oil or coconut oil
Homemade Seasoned Salt
2 tablespoons Himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried oregano
pinch serrano powder (*possible subs- red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Toss sliced okra with olive oil to coat well. Sprinkle with homemade seasoned salt; taste and add more salt as necessary.
Divide okra between 2 baking sheets. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown.
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V. Sabitha, S. Ramachandran, K. R. Naveen, and K. Panneerselvam J Pharm Bioallied Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats Sci. 2011 Jul-Sep; 3(3): 397–402.doi:10.4103/0975-7406.84447.
Duvauchelle, Joshua (26 May 2011). “Okra Nutrition Information”. LiveStrong.com. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
Amin, Indah Mohd. “Nutritional Properties of Abelmoschus Esculentus as Remedy to Manage Diabetes Mellitus: A Literature Review”. Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
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