The nutritional benefits and risk of Eating Okra

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One of the commonest vegetables in Africa and Nigeria in particular is Okra. It is a warm season vegetable. The small green pods of okra are also called gumbo or ladies fingers. Its taste is mild and similar to eggplant and it is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In fact, it is a highly nutritional vegetable.

Nutritional content of okra
According to the National Nutrient Database, a cup of raw okra (around 100 grams) contains: 66 percent of an adult’s recommended daily vitamin K intake. 33 calories 1.93 grams of protein 0.19 grams of fat 7.45 grams of carbohydrate 3.2 grams of fiber 1.48 grams of sugar One cup of okra provides the following percentages of recommended daily nutrient intake: 66 percent of vitamin K 50 percent of manganese 35 percent of vitamin C 22 percent of folate 14 percent of magnesium 13 percent of thiamin 11 percent of vitamin B6.

Okra also provides a lesser amount of calcium, iron, vitamin A, niacin, phosphorus, and copper.
Health benefits of eating okra Several studies have suggested that eating more plant foods like okra reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Eating more plant foods may also help with increasing energy levels and keeping a healthy complexion and hair.
One of the protein contents found in okra, beans, peanuts and grains is lectin. Lectin from okra was used in a study to treat human breast cancer cells.

The treatment reduced cancer cell growth by 63 percent and killed 72 percent of the human cancer cells.
People who do not eat enough folate are at a higher risk for breast, cervical, pancreatic, lung, and other cancers. Researchers are unsure of why folate intake and cancer risk are connected.
However, there is no evidence that taking a folate supplement lowers the risk for cancer. As a result, getting folate from food like okra is important. Getting enough folate is especially important for women who are pregnant and people who are dependent on alcohol.

More studies need to be done to see if okra has an effect on cancer in humans.
Also, in a 2011 study, researchers made a powder from the peel and seed of okra to treat rats with diabetes. The rats that were treated with the powder had lower blood sugar and fat levels than rats that did not receive the powder.
In the same vein, eating foods that are high in fiber can reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the blood. High-fiber foods lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.

Fiber can also slow heart disease in people who already have it. People should aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber per day from vegetables, fruits, and legumes. It is best to choose whole grains over processed grains like white breads and snack cakes. Okra has 3.2 grams of fiber per cup.
In addition to the above, foods that are high in vitamin K like okra are good for the bones. Vitamin K helps the bones to absorb calcium. People who eat a low amount of vitamin K are more likely to have fractures. Okra and leafy greens such as Swiss chard, arugula, and spinach add vitamin K and calcium to a diet. Just one cup of okra has 66 percent of an adult’s daily need for vitamin K. This aids the treatment of osteoporosis.
The richness of okra helps to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system and also helps to reduce appetite and may aid in weight loss.

Risks and precautions for eating okra Okra is rich in fructans, a type of carbohydrate that can cause diarrhea, gas, cramping, and bloating in people with bowel problems. People with irritable bowel syndrome and other gut conditions are more likely to be sensitive to foods high in fructans.

 

 

Source
MNT Bulletin



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