Ever heard of this exotic medicinal and culinary vegetable called, Okra (also known as ‘Lady’s Finger’)? It’s available all year round and has been dubbed a nutritional hero as there are so many benefits to this small veggie.

Mostly used in soups like the famous Louisiana gumbo as its texture is very gooey and it can also be used as a nutritional powerhouse as it’s filled with minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.

That provides an endless list of benefits from preventing kidney diseases to treating diabetes.

According to Medical Daily, “A single cup of raw okra has a little over 30 calories, about 3 grams of dietary fibre, 2 grams of protein, 7.6 grams carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of fat, 21 milligrams of vitamin C, around 88 micrograms of folate, and 57 milligrams of magnesium”.

It does not matter how you consume it, as it could be fried, boiled, or even done in a pickled form; you will reap the rewards that this little green veggie has to offer and here is how:

Soothes Asthma

A 2000 study, found that the intake of kiwi fruits or citrus fruits had a highly protective effect against wheezing symptoms; these findings were published in the Thorax journal. By taking in small amounts of fruits or veggies that are high in Vitamin C, like okra; which has 21 milligrams per cup can lessen your asthma symptoms.

Reduces Cholesterol

As okra is high in fibre it promotes good cholesterol levels and it’s good for digestive health. “Soluble fibre can be dissolved in water, which means that it breaks down in the digestive tract. There, it also binds to cholesterol in other foods so that it can be excreted along with other wastes.”

According to Harvard Health Publications, this little nutrition powerhouse helps to lessen cholesterol levels by substituting all the foods you consume with a high fat intake and cholesterol levels; as okra contains very little fat and no cholesterol.

Controls Diabetes

Now, the method of this study might be weird or gross but the results are the focus. A 2011 study published in the ISRN Pharmaceutics journal, researchers bathed sliced okra pods in water and then fed rats the solution by means of a gastric feeding tube.

If you are wondering; no, a control group was not fed this solution. “The researchers found okra helped reduce the absorption rate of glucose and in turn reduced blood sugar levels in the treated rats.”

Improves Immune System

Besides its rich Vitamin C content, okra also has antioxidant components which boosts your immune system against unsafe radicals whilst aiding the immune system. “Vitamin C stimulates the immune system to create more white blood cells, which can help battle other foreign pathogens and materials in the body.”

And last but not least okra can also…

Prevent Kidney Disease

A study done in 2005, which was published in the Jilin Medical Journal found that patients who consumed okra on a regular basis showed more reduced signs of kidney damage than those who were on a diabetic diet.

So go ahead and enjoy some ‘Lady’s Fingers.’

Sources: Medical Daily

Alice Paulse