Posted on 61 Comments

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.

wp-15868824437301947365463.jpg
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.

wp-1590328690084784078797.jpg
Dated 05/02/2020

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

wp-1590328688575306278016.jpg
Dated 05/27/2020

Growing and looking so nice and healthy.

wp-1590328340989863627143.jpg
Dated 05/31/2020

Flower bud in progress above.

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

wp-1590328336714214251690.jpgwp-15903283357972135061398.jpg

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

wp-1591282328368458185056.jpg
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.

wp-15913172502831337925678.jpg

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.

wp-1595795470356888821952.jpg

This is my mother proudly displaying the fruits from the works of her hands (July 2020). The long one is a variety from South America.

The smaller ones below are the regular variety found here.

wp-15948387796451978669893.jpg

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

61 thoughts on “Okra — Benefits

  1. Very cool. I didn’t know it originated in Africa. 🙂

    1. Neither did I. Also did not know it had so many nutrients.
      Thanks for checking it out.

  2. Awesome!
    I love okra!

    1. Me too.

  3. A wonderful post on one of my favorite vegetables. I love the photos. The plants look so healthy a tribute in part, to your songs, to be sure.

    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.

  4. 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

    1. Lol maybe so. But all things in moderation, right.

  5. 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. My friend you have been missing out a some “good eats”. Glad you enjoyed.

      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. What a good opportunity to enjoy it. I live in Chile.

            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.

              1. Unfortunately we have to wait for this quarantine to end. Patience and good humor.

                1. Yes I understand.

  6. 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. Lol, I know with the “fry up”, lol. Have a great day.

  7. Okro stew is one of my favorite foods and we eat it almost always. Had no idea it had all these nutrients. Thanks for the information.❤️✌🏾

    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.

      1. Wow never heard of the leaves for washing hair, suspecting it will give it a fresh shiny look. Amazing.

        1. Yes, and the mucus keeps it so so soft. It lays that hair down like you used edge control.

        2. Just crush the leaves in your hand to release the “mucus” and put in your hair.

  8. Yeah that makes sense. Will have to try it out sometime.

    1. Yes try it when you are off with nowhere to go and see how it works for you.

  9. Never heard of it!
    In Polish it’s called “Piżmian jadalny” 😀
    I will try as soon as possible!

    1. Interesting all the different names.

      1. Yes 🙂

  10. 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. Never heard of powdered ocka. They are easy to grow. How is your garden comin, I bet lush and beautiful.

      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.

          1. Can you direct the runners of the strawberry plants to root right by the pots and see how that goes? They would still be attached to the mother plant that way.

            1. Ok, nice to know. I did not buy a plant this year, but I will if I see a good size one in the store today.

              1. Super! Too bad we don’t live near one another. I’d be glad to give you some of mine.

                1. Awww, thank you so much!

                  1. You’re welcome! 😊

  11. 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.

  12. Great piece, Pene. Okra is possibly the only vegetable I struggle to eat.

    1. Lol, I can see how that could be so. I dont like the “snotlike” situation myself so I cook it differently and it’s delicious.

      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.

        1. Thats good, you can tweak it and get it to your best version. Share pics if you are brave, lol.

          1. Yes, I will. I’m a beans and rice staple kind of guy. I’ll be sure to get a shot next time out.

            1. I look forward.

  13. Awesome !! I like to eat different dishes from okra fry, stew… !!

    1. Yes okra is so good as a stew.

  14. Thanks for the info. I love okra, but never knew all the benefits.

  15. 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. Yay for okra.

      1. 🤗😊
        Happy new week sis.
        How is your family too?

        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. Thank God.
            Aww. Sending my hugs sis. 🤗
            It has been of concern to me too. I have been for His peace. 🙏
            You are welcome. 😊❤

  16. very informative my sistooo. Fav veg.

    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.

      1. You make me feel hungry. Thank you for the good information sis!

  17. I love okra ☺️❤️
    Never knew about the benefits this much! Thankyou for sharing ☺️

    1. am happy you found it useful. I love okra as well as was amazed when I did the research.
      Thank you for reading, you are a gifted writer.

      1. Thankyou so much ❤️ That means a lot! Lot’s of love ☺️

  18. Well-cooked okra is very delicious. But it’s all about the recipe!

    1. That is a great observation.

Hello and welcome! Thank you for visiting, commenting, liking and/or following along on this adventure.. 🤗

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.