While okra is perhaps most often linked with the southern United States, this warm weather vegetable is also quite popular both for culinary as well as medicinal purposes in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. It can be eaten raw in salads, cooked with a variety of spices and other veggies, as an addition to soup, or even made into okra water. Beyond being a delicious addition to countless dishes of many different types of cuisine, okra is also a powerhouse when it comes to boosting an individual’s health. Get the full details on the various ways in which consuming okra on a regular basis can greatly benefit an individual’s health now.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Mucilage, the protein- and carbohydrate-rich gummy substance found in okra, seaweed, and other plants attaches itself to cholesterol and removes it from the body. The American Heart Association states okra’s high amounts of fiber—3.2 grams in one cup—lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. A 2011 Chinese research study discovered mice fed an okra extract had lower total cholesterol. The magic ingredients in this solution include okra’s nutrients and antioxidants, especially quercetin and isoquercitrin, which can reduce the inflammation behind so many health issues. There is more good news: since overweight individuals are more likely to have elevated cholesterol, fiber makes them feel full more quickly and for longer. Add to that okra’s low amounts of saturated fat and few calories, and it certainly makes for a cholesterol-busting dynamo. The tastiest and most nutritious way to prepare okra is baking or grilling, either alone or with other cholesterol-reducing foods like garlic cloves. Be careful not to overcook, as doing so might ‘kill’ the vegetable’s nutrients.
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