Okra Benefits For Men, Women, Stomach And Side Effects

This article will examine the nutritional content of okra, as well as its potential health benefits and any potential side effects of eating okra.

Okra, also known as lady’s finger, is a flowering plant that produces edible seed pods. It thrives in warm climates and is commonly grown in Africa and South Asia.

Okra, while technically a fruit, is commonly used in cooking as a vegetable.

It has a delicate flavor and a distinct texture, with a peach-like fuzz on the outside. Small, edible seeds are contained within the pod.

However, it can have a slimy texture that some people dislike.

Though it is not a common vegetable, okra is high in nutrients.

The Nutritional Content of Okra

According to the USDA, one cup of raw okra, 100 grams contains:

  • Calories 33
  • Fat 0.2 g
  • Sodium 7 mg
  • Potassium 299 mg 8% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate 7 g 2% of the DV
  • Dietary fiber 3.2 g 12% of the DV
  • Sugar 1.5 g
  • Protein 1.9 g 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin C 23 mg 38% of the DV
  • Calcium 82 mg 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6 0.215 mg 10% of the DV
  • Folate 60 mcg
  • Vitamin K 31.3 mg
  • Thiamin 0.2 mg
  • Iron 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin A 36 mcg
  • Magnesium 57 mg 14% of the DV

Okra is also high in niacin, iron, copper, and phosphorus.

It is also high in antioxidants. Pod and seeds contain antioxidant compounds such as phenolic compounds and flavonoid derivatives such as catechins and quercetin.

Top 8 Okra Benefits for Health

1. It may help lower the risk of cancer

Antioxidants are natural compounds that assist your body in combating molecules known as free radicals, which can cause cell damage.

Free radicals are best known for their ability to cause oxidation damage, which can eventually lead to cancer.

Okra contains polyphenol antioxidants, which include vitamins A and C.

It also contains lectin, a protein that may inhibit cancer cell growth in humans.

Okra contains a lot of folates. According to one 2016 review, folate may have protective effects against breast cancer risk.

2. Control blood sugar

High blood sugar levels on a regular basis can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Several studies have found that okra can help control blood sugar levels. Researchers believe okra can help prevent sugar absorption during digestion.

In one study, rats given purified okra and liquid sugar had fewer blood sugar spikes than rats given a placebo.

3. Support heart health

Okra is high in fiber. 100 grams are estimated to contain 3.2 grams of fiber, 12% of the Daily Value.

According to the American Heart Association, eating fiber-rich foods can help lower harmful cholesterol levels in the blood.

High fiber foods reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Fiber can also help people who already have heart disease.

Mucilage, a thick, gel-like substance found in okra, has the ability to bind with cholesterol during digestion and transport it out of the body, which in turn can support heart health.

Okra also contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidant compounds. According to research, eating a polyphenol-rich diet may improve heart health by lowering your risk of blood clots and oxidative damage.

4. For bone health

Okra is high in vitamin K and calcium. Consuming foods high in vitamin K may help strengthen bones and prevent fractures.

Vitamin K is required by the body to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor involved in blood clotting and bone metabolism.

Calcium is required by your body to build and maintain strong bones. Calcium is also required for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function.

5. Okra benefits for stomach

Dietary fiber aids in the prevention of constipation and the maintenance of a healthy digestive system. That ultimately leads to less cramping, bloating, and other unpleasant stomach problems.

According to research, the more fiber a person consumes, the less likely they are to develop colorectal cancer.

In Asian traditional medicine, okra extract is added to foods to protect against gastric irritation and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties in okra may aid in the prevention of gastrointestinal problems.

6. Boost immune system

Okra is a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that helps your immune system function properly.

7. Okra benefits for men

Okra is rich in magnesium. Depending on the activity, you require more magnesium when exercising than when resting.

Magnesium aids in the movement of blood sugar into your muscles as well as the elimination of lactate, which can accumulate during exercise and cause fatigue.

According to research, magnesium supplements may be especially beneficial for improving men’s exercise performance.

8. Okra benefits for pregnant women

100-gram okra has 15% of the daily value of folate, which is beneficial to pregnant women.

Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects, which can affect the developing brain and spine.

Doctors usually advise pregnant and breastfeeding women to take more folate.

Side Effect of Eating Okra

Eating too much okra can have side effects for some people.

Okra contains fructans, a type of carbohydrate. In people who already have bowel problems, fructans can cause diarrhea, gas, cramping, and bloating.

Okra is rich in oxalates, the most common type of kidney stone. Foods high in oxalate, such as okra, may increase the risk of kidney stones in people who have previously had them.

Okra contains solanine, a toxic compound that in some people can cause joint pain, arthritis, and prolonged inflammation.

Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, and okra’s high vitamin K content may affect those who take blood-thinning medications.

People who take blood thinners or are at risk of blood clots should eat vitamin-K-rich foods regularly.