Okra is also known as Abelmoschus esculentus or Hibiscus esculentus and is a vegetable that is used all over the world for consumption. It does, however, have a slimy texture that can make it somewhat unpalatable.
If one can get around the sliminess factor, they can see that okra is full of health benefits. Okra can be prepared in many different ways, but it is normally served with other vegetables on rice or in soup. Maybe these studies will help one decide to make it part of their diet from this day forward.
According to a study published in the Jilin Medical Journal in the year 2005, people who consumed okra showed improvement in nephropathy or kidney disease. For the study, there were two groups. One was treated with okra, and the other was treated with traditional medical therapy for six months. At the end of the study, there were no changes in the group that participated in traditional therapy. However, the people who took okra saw a reduction in urine protein and uric acid.
In 2011, a study was published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal outlining okra’s ability to protect against liver disease. Okra was found to protect against chemically induced liver damage because of its antioxidant activities.
According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences, okra extracts could protect the body against diabetes. Rats with diabetes were given okra, and the researchers saw a decrease in their blood sugar levels and a normalization of their lipid profile levels. Traditionally, okra has been used as an alternative treatment for diabetes.
Another study shows okra’s ability as a cancer fighter. Researchers have discovered that a newly discovered lectin (a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes) in okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (AEL), actually induces cell death in human breast cancer cells, in vitro – 72 percent to be exact. However, these tests are only in preliminary stages.
Okra has a high phenol and flavonoid content. This may be the reason it helps one fight off depression. Researchers from the Mazandaran University of Medical Science decided to examine its effect on mood. Their results showed that okra seed extracts acted as a potent agent for elevating mood, in some cases performing just as well as typical antidepressants.
With all these possible health benefits, one would almost have to be crazy not to give okra a chance. I know I will be picking some up for my family very soon.
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.” – Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C.