The rich nutrition and health benefits of okro may very much explain why it is a favourite vegetable in soups and stews and complementary dishes to a variety of meals made of cereals, such as akple, banku and tuo zaafi.
Okro or okra (Abelmoschus esculentus, Hibiscus esculentus), is a storehouse of rich micronutients for the human body, according to food science. Okro or okra, is an annual plant that is biologically classified as a fruit, but it is generally utilised as a vegetable in cooking. The okro plant can grow up to 1.5 metres tall.
The young okro fruits are harvested when immature and are eaten as vegetables. In Ghana and West Africa, okro is cultivated for its fruits or young edible seedpods. The young okro fruit contains a characteristic thick mucilaginous substance that gives the cooked vegetable its slimy feel and taste.
Okro is a very good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and B6. Studies have indicated that okra is rich in bioactive components, such as flavonoids. Because of its rich nutrients content, okro is known to be beneficial for health in a number of ways.
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||23mg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.27mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||31.3µg|
1. A Rich Source of Antioxidants
Okro contains a variety of antioxidant compounds, including phenolic compounds and flavonoid derivatives, such as catechins and quercetin. Antioxidants are chemical substances that may protect your cells by neutralising the effects of free radicals ( which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases) on the cells. .
2. May Lower Blood Sugar
Okro may lower blood sugar as it has been found to possess certain anti-diabetes properties. The insoluble fibre contained in okra is believed to help stabilise blood glucose by slowing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
3. May Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Consuming okro may lower the risk of heart disease. The gel-like mucilage content of okro can bind to cholesterol during digestion, causing it to be excreted with stools rather than absorbed into your body.
4. May Help Prevent Cancer
Okra has a protein called lectin which is linked with fighting breast cancer. It is also said that okra suppresses cancer cell growth and helps in preventing cancer. Folate is also an essential nutrient which helps in preventing the risk of various cancers.
5. May Be Beneficial to Pregnant Women
May be beneficial to pregnant women because it’s a good source of folate: 1 cup (100 grams) of okro can provide upto 15% of a woman’s daily needs for this nutrient.
Folate (vitamin B9) is an important nutrient for pregnant women, because it helps lower the risk of a neural tube defect, which affects the brain and spine of a developing fetus.
In addition to the important nutrition and health benefits of okro, the cooked vegetable makes very tasty soups and stews. Make this rich vegetable a part of your food for good health.