Health Benefits of Okra

Ryan Lagunzad | 11/18/2012 | 2 comments | Category: , , ,

Okra is commonly known as lady's finger or gumbo. Okra is a common vegetable in the Philippines. In fact, it can be found anywhere, at the market or at retail stores around the community. It is commonly found on Ilocano foods like the famous pinakbet. Some people eat it raw but I prefer eating steamed or boiled okra then dip it into mixture of bagoong (fermented fish and salt) and vinegar. Okra is slimy when cooked and that discourages some people to eat it. But for those who like okra, have you ever wonder what health benefits are you getting from it? Here's an e-mail that I received from a friend which states the health benefits that we can get from okra.

Health Benefits of Okra
Photo Credit: FourOf5Zs 

A guy has been suffering from constipation for the past 20 years and recently from acid reflux. He didn't realize that the treatment could be so simple -- OKRA! He started eating okra within the last 2 months and since then has never taken medication again. All he did was consume 6 pieces of OKRA everyday. He's now regular and his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98, with his cholesterol and acid reflux also under control.

Here are some facts on okra (from the research of Ms. Sylvia Zook, PH.D (nutrition), University of Illinois).

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colon-rectal cancer. Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid is also present in a half cup of cooked okra. Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid.

He got the following numbers from the University of Illinois Extension Okra Page. Please check these for more details. Okra Nutrition (half-cup cooked okra):
* Calories = 25
* Dietary Fiber = 2 grams
* Protein = 1.5 grams
*Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams
* Vitamin A = 460 IU
* Vitamin C = 13 mg
* Folic Acid = 36.5 micro grams
* Calcium = 50 mg
* Iron = 0.4 mg* Potassium = 256 mg
* Magnesium = 46 mg

These numbers should be used as a guideline only and if you are on a medically restricted diet please consult your physician and/or dietitian.

Ms Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) has very kindly provided the following thought-provoking comments on the many benefits of this versatile vegetable. They are well worth reading.

1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar as it curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.

2. Okra's mucilage not only binds cholesterol but bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver. But it doesn't stop there...

3. Many alternative health practitioners believe all disease begins in the colon. The okra fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent constipation. Fiber in general is helpful for this but okra is one of the best, along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic many people abhor. In other words, this incredibly valuable vegetable not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems, if not evacuated, but also assures their easy passage from the the body.

The veggie is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming (except for the many who greatly enjoy eating it), has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients and is economically within reach of most.

4. Further contributing to the health of the intestinal tract, okra fiber (as well as flax and psyllium) has no equal among fibers for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics).

5. To retain most of okra's nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.

Did you enjoy reading this article about the Health Benefits of Okra? Then, please share this to your friends using the buttons below. Thank you and I hope you'll enjoy your stay.

Note: This article came from an email of a friend. I do not know who is the original author of this article. I do not claim this as my own writing.


  1. All About okra nutrition. Okra is a popular vegetable of the housewives. The interesting thing is that it contains more nutrients for good health, such as fiber, mucilage, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, iron.Very good for health.

    1. Thanks for this info ghafoor ahmad :)