Okra — Benefits

Photo by Elianna Friedman on Unsplash

Okra – originated in Ethiopia and scientifically known as Abelmoschus esculentus.  From Ethiopia, okra had journeyed to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Arabia and India all by the 12th century.

A hardy plant, okra can be cultivated almost anywhere. This vegetable is known as gumbo in America, lady’s finger in England, guino-gombo in Spanish, guibeiro in Portuguese and bhindi in India, to name a few.

In its original home of Ethiopia it is also called Kenkase, Andeha, and Bamia.

According to MedicalNewsToday, one cup of okra weighing approximately 100 grams contains a whopping 20 vitamins and minerals. Sounds like a superfood to me. I have been eating this vegetable all my life. I did not always appreciate its gifts.

Now at this time in my life I truly appreciate its versatile culinary preparations, this was not always the case.

What I did not know back then was that okra was chock full of most of what our bodies requires in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting compounds.

We are all well aware that our bodies work at its optimum when we consume a diet rich in the recommended amounts of the various food groups.

Some of the benefits of okra:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes by lowering blood sugar, it regulates the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the intestinal tract.
  • Reduces kidney damage.
  • Toxin removal – utilizing the mucilage found in okra
  • Cancer – contains a compound lectin that can kill cancer cells.
  • Cardiovascular – its high fiber content aids cholesterol expulsion from the body.
  • Osteoporosis – its vitamin K content helps keep bones healthy and strong.
  • Gastrointestinal – prevents constipation and more.
  • Seeds contain oil and proteins.

Be aware:

  • Kidney stones – okra is high in oxalates
  • Gastrointestinal upset – contains fructans a type of carbohydrate that can cause gas, bloating etc.
  • Joint pain – contains solanine a compound that may trigger joint pain.
  • Blood-thinning properties – due to the presence of vitamin K.

Okra seemingly has numerous health benefits. It is great for helping to keep your liver and kidneys healthy. It reduces oxidative stress, promotes healthy skin and blood and from personal is great for hair as well.

Check with your healthcare provider if you are taking blood thinners due to the presence of vitamin K a known blood thinner. 

References:

Below are some pictures of okra in cultivation from my mother’s kitchen garden.

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Dated 04/11/2020

My mother is the primary gardener, these are the fruits of her hands.

The rest of us are “the helpers”. My mother is blessed to grow things, anything grows that she plants. She planted these okra from seeds and they have been doing what they do. For myself I derive so much pleasure from helping and just observing things growing under the heavens.

I talk to the plants and I am always the first one to see their fruits … a gift of mine my mother says, lol.

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Dated 05/02/2020

The babies are thriving and flourishing. It is a thing of beauty.

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Dated 05/27/2020

Growing and looking so nice and healthy.

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Dated 05/31/2020

Flower bud in progress above.

Same day these images taken from different angle (below).

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The view from another angle. They are so healthy. I love it!

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Dated 06/04/2020

This morning this flower decided to open up to see the sun. The first fruits of the labor of love. My favorite time of the growing cycle. Soon we will be consuming these babies.

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Dated 06/04/2020 – for some reason, I could not get this image any clearer, the day is over and the flower has done its work, by tomorrow it will wither and reveal the new okra. 

In picture above, the okra tree is doing what nature has designed it to do, grow and produce.

Stay safe, stay well, lets learn to live in peace and respect …….. IF we cannot live in love. 

56 Replies to “Okra — Benefits”

    1. Lol. This is the first year we have planted them in pots and they seem to be thriving.
      They are laden with health benefits so keep eating.

  1. Great post about the health benefits. Unfortunately my mind went straight to fried okra when I first saw it. Kind of defeats the purpose of healthy, I reckon, lol

  2. I had no idea there was this kind of plant. And the benefits are very important for health. Especially to reduce blood sugar for those suffering from diabetes. And most importantly, its application to fight cancer.
    Excellent information. Thanks for sharing. Good weekend.
    Manuel

      1. What happens the plant is not given by this part of South America or sold in the supermarkets. Still I found it interesting to hear from her.

        1. I am from Guyana and we have several varieties there. I have seen okra in Suriname as well. Interesting so many different things in creation.

            1. Perhaps you can find some seeds online if you would like to give it a try. I find America have the smaller varieties, but we usually import some seeds when we go back to visit and grow some pretty long ones. COVID had other plans this year, no travel.

  3. Pene’, thank you for this interesting article. I grew up eating fried okra as my Mom’s side of the family is from the south. It never occurred to me to check out health benefits (although some benefits may be obscured through the cornmeal fry up). We also ate fried green tomatoes. Anyway, this was an enjoyable and informative read. And yes, let’s live in LOVE (peace and respect). Blessings to you friend ♥♥

    1. I love it as well and I was so surprised and happy to see its value. We used the leaves to wash and moisturize our hair when I was a girl. I had been meaning to write about that.

  4. Hi, Pené! Thanks for the writeup about the nutritional value of okra! I had no idea! You inspired me to go buy some frozen okra at the grocery store! Maybe next year I’ll plant some.

    I was once invited by an acquaintance from Africa to eat a meal. They used powdered okra in it, and it was delicious!

      1. Did you grow your okra from seed, or did you buy plants already started?
        I’m working on a post with pics of the garden. The strawberries are done, and raspberries have begun. We still have romaine lettuce. Tomatoes have started to form, still small and green. We have a couple of small cucumbers; I’m going to wait till they’re bigger to pick them.

        1. Yes, we started them from seeds. They sometimes take a while to germinate. My mom also brings seeds from south America so we have those (they are a lot bigger than the seeds we buy here). The foreign ones are now producing flowers, I will post pics of how large they grow.
          I had strawberries in a pot for my son, but it never made much, sadly. At my old house we planted in the yard but since we moved to this new space, we have too many sprinklers and the houses are set up in a tiered system for drainage so the rain would wash my plants away. So we are doing 95% pot planting.

  5. Okra is my favorite food. Thank you so much for posting the growth cycle. I have never seen okra growing. As soon as I am able, I’m planting some!

    1. Now that’s the spirit, they are quite hardy and they need a little TLC until they get a footing then just let them reward you.
      Be sure to share your pics. Have a great day.

      1. I’m glad you said it … that’s exactly the reason I struggle with it. I’ll have to try it in Gumbo again. BTW, I should’ve mentioned awhile ago I tried a slightly goofed-up version of you Turmeric rice and it’s a hit.

  6. Yay!. This is one of our native soup here. We mostly eat it plain after grating by boiling it but I prefer the palm oiled mix.
    Thanks for sharing about the nutritional benefit it has sis. ❤

        1. Physically we are ok, mentally I remain very interested in the state of the current issues in our world.
          I thank you for your love and concern. Lots of love to you.

    1. Yes okra is great. At my house we eat it every way possible, my husband (the main cook as well) eats it fried, steamed whole on rice and in stews and every other way in between, lol. We eat a lot of okra.

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