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A vegetarian since birth, I have tasted many of the vegetables that exist today, one of the most common being okra. Okra is a fun, green vegetable, long and pointy at one end and slowly widening to form a pentagonal shape at the other end. It’s crunchy when raw, yet soft when cooked, with a fantastic fuzz-like covering on the outside and many health benefits on the inside.

Studies on okra have shown that it has benefits ranging from the prevention of serious diseases like diabetes to everyday advantages such as having a healthier complexion. In a study led by Leonardo Monte and his team from the Universidade Federal de Pelotas, a protein called lectin, derived from okra, was used to treat cancerous cells in breast cancer. The protein killed around 72% of the cells and reduced cancerous cell growth by 63%. Okra also contains folate, a vitamin that is important for metabolism and anemia prevention. It is especially important for pregnant women, as it aids in the healthy development of the fetus by preventing neural tube defects, where the baby’s spine and brain development originates.

Image Source: Meike Bergmann

Other studies have shown that okra is also beneficial in preventing diabetes and maintaining a healthy heart. Dr. Ramachandran and his team of researchers from Karunya University used powder created from the seeds and peel of okra to treat diabetic rats, which resulted in lower blood sugar and fat levels compared to the rats in the control group. Moreover, okra contains fiber, which is good if you have bad cholesterol since soluble fiber lowers low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your bloodstream by binding to the particles and moving them out of the body.

Okra contains a high percentage of nutrients, such as vitamin K, manganese, folate, magnesium, and more. Of the numerous types of vegetables, okra has, perhaps, one of the highest amounts of vitamin K, and just one cup of okra has a nutrient intake of 66% of the daily recommended vitamin K value. Vitamin K is extremely important for the bones, as it helps the body absorb calcium and prevents osteoporosis.

Eating okra also has daily benefits, such as preventing constipation by maintaining a good digestive system. There is no better way to enjoy the healthy benefits of okra than to cook it for your next meal! It can be roasted, sautéed, fried, boiled or more, leading to some absolutely delicious dishes; some recipes can be found here. With so many advantages, there isn’t a minute to lose! So what are you waiting for?

Feature Image Source: Okra by rosefirerising

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