Okra is the most widespread name of this very healthy African vegetable. It belongs to the family of the malvaceae, and it has been grown in North Africa for many thousand years. It has recently been brought into other countries and it enjoys a growing popularity. It was introduced into North America by slaves, and it is grown in the southern regions of the United States.
The most valuable part of the okra is its fruit, which resembles peppers, and can be used in soups and entrées. It is very healthy because, due to its fiber content, it stimulates digestion and improves the functioning of the intestines. Besides, it normalizes blood sugar levels, so it is very helpful for persons who suffer from diabetes.
It also prevents the development of certain tumors.
Okra is very low in calories, but it has a high content of vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as folic acid, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Because of its folic acid content, expecting mothers are advised to consume okra, as it plays an important role in the development of the fetus between the fourth and 12 weeks of the pregnancy.
1. Okra is one of the vegetables that are the most rich in antioxidants, thus it protects the cells from the attack of free radicals.
2. It regulates blood sugar levels, due to its high fiber content.
3. It facilitates the functioning of the liver during the detoxifying process, and it stimulates the production of bile.
4. It eliminates harmful cholesterol and lots of toxic substances.
5. Fibers help the optimal functioning of beneficial bacteria and probiotics that live in the intestinal system, so okra contributes to preserving the health of the bacterial flora.
6. Okra protects the joints and prevents the development of stomach ulcer.
7. Okra protects from lung diseases and it soothes a sore throat.
8. Okra facilitates the production of blood.
9. Because of its high vitamin C content, persons suffering from asthma can also benefit from consuming okra.
10. Okra protects from the development of cancerous cells.
11. By consuming okra, we can preserve the elasticity and optimal structure of blood vessels.
12. According to some studies, consuming okra reduces the risk of the development of cataracts.
13. Because okra is an excellent detoxifier, it also benefits the skin by reducing the production of sebum and preventing the appearance of acne.