Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Okra/Lady finger
Herbs, vegetables, plants and fruits packed with nutrients have been playing a major role in improving our health quality and have been used specifically in curing diseases since ancient times. Plants and vegetables rich in these medicinal qualities are also specially used in Ayurvedic treatment. One of such nutritious vegetables is okra (Lady Finger)– found in all parts of India as well in Assam.
Okra is a perpetual plant belonging to the ‘Malvaceae’ family. The plant prefers a summer zone or hot climate to grow well. The plant is cultivated for its green pods. Okra is a good source of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. The plant is grown in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions across the world and is a significant part of South American and Indian cuisine. Okra is known as ‘Lady Finger’ and ‘Bhindi’ in Hindi. Scientific name of this veggie is ‘Abelmoschus esculentus’.
Health Benefits and Uses of Okra/Lady finger
Okra is an annual plant grown for its edible seed pods. Okra plants have small standing stems that can be bristoly or hairless with heart shaped leaves. The plant grows 10-20 cm long with 5-7 lobes, producing flowers with five white to yellow petals that are 4-8 cm (1.6-3.1 inches) in diameter. Seed pods are capsules 25 cm (10 in) long, containing numerous seeds. Okra can be 1.2-1.8 meters (4-6 feet) in height and, as an annual plant, can survive only one growing season.
The following article holds information about health benefits and other related details about Okra (Lady Finger).
Various Regional Names of Okra-
- Assamese : Bhendi
- Hindi : Bhindi
- Tanil : Vendakkai,Vendai
- Malayalam : Vendakka
- Telugu : Benda Kayi
- Kannada : Bendekai,Bende
- Bengali : Dherasa,Bhindi
- Gujarati : Bhinda
- Marathi : Bhendi
- Odia : Bhendi
- Punjabi : Bhindi
- Kashmiri : Bindu
Nutritional value of per 100 gm of Okra/Lady finger
- Energy: 138 KJ (33K cal)
- Carbohydrate: 7.46g
- Dietary fiber: 3.3g
- Fat: 0.19g
- Vitamin A: 36 mcg
- Thiamine (B1):0.02mg
- Riboflavin ((B2): 0.06mg
- Niacin (B3): 1mg
- Folate(B9): 60mcg
- Vitamin (C): 23 mg
- Vitamin (E): 0.27mg
- Vitamin (K):31.3mcg
- Calcium: 82 milligram
- Iron: 0.62milligram
- Magnesium: 60 milligram
- Phosphorus: 61mg
- Potassium: 299mg
- Zinc: 0.58mg
- Other constituents
- Water: 89.6g
Scientific Classification of Okra/Lady finger
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Eudicots
- Clade: Rosids
- Order: Malvales
- Family: Malvaceae
- Genus: Abelmoschus
- Species: A. Esculentus
- Scientific name: Abelmoschus esculentus
Benefits of Okra/Lady finger
1. Helps to improve Digestion:
Okra contains mucilaginous fiber which increases the stool quantity by helping to move food particles through the digestive tract. It helps in preventing digestive problems such as bloating, constipation and excessive gas formation. It helps in preventing watery stool or diarrhea. The fiber present in okra helps in controlling sugar absorption in our body and cleans up excess cholesterol.
2. Good for the Immune System:
Okra is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that strengthen our body’s immune system by working against harmful free radicals in our body. Vitamin C present in this veggie also stimulates the production of more white blood cells which are the primary defense system of our body against the germs and other products.
3. Beneficial for eyes:
Okra contains high levels of vitamin A and other antioxidants that work against the free radicals of our body. These free radicals are formed by cellular metabolism which can damage body cells. Okra helps protect our eyes from the dangerous effects of these free radicals and prevent macular degeneration and cataract onset. Okra helps with dry eye problems and improves vision.
4. Diabetes treatment and kidney disease:
High levels of soluble fiber present in okra helps in controlling blood sugar levels. It helps in controlling diabetes as soluble fiber affects the absorption of sugar in the intestines. It further reduces the chances of developing kidney disease as half of such diseases develop from diabetes.
5. Beneficial for the Skin:
The dietary fiber present in okra keeps digestive problems at bay and gives you healthy skin. The vitamin C present here helps in repairing body tissues and reduces your skin age. Nutrients in Okra prevent skin pigmentation and help rejuvenate your skin.
6. Okra water for Low Blood Pressure:
Potassium present in okra helps in balancing sodium and thus maintains the right fluid balance in the body. Okra helps in reducing pressure on cardiovascular systems by reducing blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and arteries. Controlled blood pressure helps prevent atherosclerosis and blood clotting.
7. Helps to control Obesity:
If you are trying to lose weight; okra- with no unsaturated fat or cholesterol and very low in calories can be a useful alternative to your food. Okra is rich in nutrients and diet that keeps your digestive system healthy. Such nutrient rich foods do not make you hungry for a long time and prevent you from consuming unhealthy foods (e.g. fast food) frequently and thus help you fight obesity.
8. Good in Asthma:
People suffering from asthma can include okra in their diet. Okra has shown a positive impact for some in this regard.
9. Beneficial in Constipation:
Adding okra to your diet can properly absorb water in your body as this vegetable is rich in many essential nutrients. As a result, the stool is easily emitted by moving through the digestive tract.
10. Prevents Migraine:
Okra is a great vegetable when it comes to preventing migraine. Magnesium is a major nutrient to deal with migraines. Okra can provide about 9% of your daily suggested magnesium intake. Adequate hydration is another way to prevent migraine that can be derived from okra, as mucus-causing fibers hold water and keep you hydrated throughout the day.
11. Promotes Heart Health:
Okra contains no cholesterol of its own and actually contains an ingredient called pectin which helps in reducing bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is the cause of heart disease and can be controlled by consumption of okra.
12. Prevents Colon Cancer:
Okra contains high amounts of insoluble dietary fiber which helps to cleanse the entire digestive system, especially the bowel tube. This plays a major role in keeping the intestine healthy and preventing colon cancer.
Read Also: Amazing Benefits of Indian Sarsaparilla
Uses of Okra
As a nutritious vegetable, okra can be used differently. Okra can be used in different types of dishes, such as- soups, curry, mixed with other veggies etc.
Side Effects of Okra
Eating too much okra can adversely affect some people-
- Gastrointestinal problems: Okra contains fructose, which is a type of carbohydrate. Fructose can cause bloating in people with diarrhea, gas, cramping, and existing bowel problems.
- Excessive consumption can lead to kidney stones as it contains high amounts of oxalate.
Therefore, it should be used regularly in the right quantity keeping in view the benefits and disadvantages of okra as excessive use of any product can harm our health. Doctors should be consulted before using okra in curing the disease.
From the above article you must have come to know about the benefits and other related information about Okra. This information is available only for your basic knowledge. Please consult a doctor before using the veggies as a medicine, especially if you are suffering from a serious health condition. Thank You!
1/ What are the benefits of eating okra?
Ans: Okra is a nutritious food with many health benefits. It is rich in magnesium, folate, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins C, k1, and A. Okra can help in pregnancy, heart health and blood sugar control. It may even have anticancer properties.
2/ What if we eat okra daily?
Ans: According to Ayurveda, drinking okra water regularly in the morning helps in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for its anti-diabetic activities. Excessive consumption of okra can cause kidney and gallbladder stones due to the presence of oxalate.
3/ What are the side effects of eating okra?
Ans: Eating too much okra can adversely affect some people. Gastrointestinal problems: Okra contains fructose, which is a type of carbohydrate. Fructose can cause bloating in people with diarrhea, gas, pain and existing bowel problems. Kidney and gallbladder stones may result from the presence of a high amount of oxalate in okra.
4/ Is it good for fertility?
Ans: Studies indicate that okra can affect male fertility. Okra is rich in a pigment called Gossypol which increases sperm production which positively affects infertility.
5/ Is Okra good for skin?
Ans: Okra is a rich source of nutrients like vitamin A, C, folate and calcium. They work to make our skin cells healthy, which gives our skin a beautiful glow.