Okra, humble blessing

Did you know that okra is technically a fruit?.

There is mixed feelings when it comes to okra, some people love it and some hate it. On what side do you stand?

In this new series, I am going to introduce to you the benefits and hidden blessings of the amazing gifts given to us in nature.

Okra is a fruit!. It is believed to have been first cultivated in Ethiopia and ancient Egypt. It is known not only for its culinary value, but its medicinal value as well. Okra, or Abelmoschus esculentus, is the seed pod of a tropical flowering plant in the mallow family. It is a staple of Middle Eastern, Northern African, Caribbean cuisine, and the south of the United States also. The entire plant is edible. Most people cooked it, some boil it to make the famous “jambo” soup. I particularly enjoy it raw and sautéed.

This precious gem is packed with important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B6, B1, folic acid, magnesium, and manganese, vitamins A and C. It is high in antioxidant that support eyesight and healthy skin. It is anti-inflammatory. It is super high in fiber which improves digestion and offers a sensation of satiation, which makes it a great alley in the journey of weight loss. It also lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. But one of its amazing and probably unknown benefits is how it helps aid in the process of detoxification. The fiber in okra binds to toxic metabolites in the digestive tract, preventing reabsorption, a fundamental aspect of proper detoxification. It has also been known to help the body eliminate cholesterol through the digestive tract by binding to bile. It is beneficial for both bowel detoxification and cholesterol balance.

Another amazing aspect is that the fiber in okra may help stabilize blood sugar by slowing the absorption of glucose from the intestinal tract. In fact, okra may protect pancreatic β-cells from diabetes-related damage by regulating certain genes involved in insulin release.

The fiber in okra has also been found to be a demulcent, soothing to the intestinal tract. In fact, the mucilage in okra has been shown to have anti-adhesive properties that block the adhesion and colonization of Helicobacter pylori bacteria to stomach lining. It has even been proposed that okra may be able to prevent the recurrence of H. pylori infections, which causes serious discomfort in some people.

The list of amazing qualities of this humble fruit could never end, yet to be able to truly benefit from all these amazing blessings, we have got to eat it!. So I do hope that all this short info inspires you to add it to your foods. It also has the added bonus to be so easily accessible in the tropic regions of the world and it can become a cheap staple of our everyday cuisine.

In the picture, I am enjoying raw okra in my salad! Simply delicious!.

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