Okra are among the very low calorie vegetables. They provide just 30 calories per 100 g besides containing no saturated fats or cholesterol. They are rich sources of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins, often recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
The fiber and other nutrients in okra is beneficial in normalizing blood sugar in the body, helping with diabetes. It is one of the vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants, flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision.
It contains good amount of vitamin A, which is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. They are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. It also contain good amounts of vitamin K, which is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.
The pods are also good source of many important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The rich sources of mucilagesubstance help in digestion of food through the gut and ease constipation condition.
Okra Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy – An extremely important B vitamin for producing and maintaining new cells, folate is an essential compound for optimal pregnancy. The vitamin helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and helps the baby to grow sufficiently. Vitamin C is also essential for fetal development. Okra is rich in both folate and vitamin C. Helps with Kidney Disease – A STUDY published in 2005 in Jilin Medical Journal found that regular consumption of okra can help prevent kidney disease. In the study, “those who ate okra daily reduced clinical signs of kidney damage more than those that simply ate a diabetic diet.” This also ties in with diabetes, as nearly 50% of kidney disease cases are caused by diabetes.