Okra, commonly known as ladyfinger is grown in tropical and subtropical parts of the world and is economically an important vegetable crop. The immature fruits or green seed pods are consumed as a vegetable, salads, soups, stews, etc.
- Seven-day old fresh okra pods have the highest concentration of nutrients.
- Protein plays an important role as the amino acid composition of okra seed protein is comparable to soybean. Also, the amino acid pattern of protein, as it contains both lysine and methionine, renders its importance for mutual supplementation with cereals based diets.
- Carbohydrates, mainly present in the form of mucilage, are highly soluble in water.
- It is a rich source of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium along with being a good source of iron, zinc, and manganese.
- Fresh pods are low in calories, particularly no fat, high in fibre.
- The several valuable nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and vitamin A cover approximately 30%, 10-2-% and 5% of RDA requirement respectively.
- It is also abundant in vitamin K, plays a role in blood clotting and positive bone health.
- Pods and seeds are rich in phenolic compounds, which have important biological properties and benefit human health.
- Seeds have unsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid.
- Green vegetables contain chlorophyll that offers various health benefits.
- Antioxidant Activity
Vitamin C, E, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, especially, flavonoids help scavenge radicals and reduce oxidative stress. It also helps reduce inflammation and prevent the risk of many diseases.
- Maintain Blood Sugar
Its high fibre content helps stabilise blood sugar by reducing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
- Colon Health
Okra’s polysaccharides are particularly effective as they inhibit helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that dwells in the stomach and may cause gastritis and gastric ulcers.
It supports colon health by absorbing all toxins and excess water, therefore, promotes digestive health by cleansing the intestinal system.
- Lowers Cholesterol
The mucilage binds with cholesterol and bile acid, thereafter, carrying toxins to eliminate them.
Thus, the presence of phytonutrients along with carbohydrates, protein and glycol protein besides other micronutrients enhance the overall quality of a diet, which in return favours good health.