Whether you’re a fan of okra’s earthy flavor or still on the fence about this fuzzy green veg, these suckers are a nutritious addition to your diet. They’re also versatile AF since you can eat the leaves, flowers, seeds, and juice.
Here’s the deep dive into just how okra benefits your body.
Okra — also nicknamed ladies’ fingers for its slender shape — is popular in gumbo and a fave Southern side dish when fried or pickled. If you’re not already munching on okra, here’s why you should give this veggie a chance.
1. Okra is a nutritional powerhouse
Yeah, yeah, we know *most* green veggies are chockablock with goodness, but okra is no exception.
If you’re looking for the straight facts on what you get from a cup of raw okra, here they are:
|protein||1.9 grams (g)|
|vitamin K||31.3 milligrams (mg)|
|vitamin C||23 mg|
|folate||60 micrograms (mcg)|
|vitamin A||36 mcg|
Bottom line: Okra offers essential nutrients like vitamins C, K, and A in a low calorie, low fat package. It also contains a fair bit of protein and fiber, which isn’t the case with all veggies.
2. Okra offers oodles of antioxidants
3. Your heart will love hearty okra
The mucilage (gel-like substance) in okra may also help the body expel excess cholesterol. In a 2014 study of mice, the ones that were fed okra powder eliminated more cholesterol in their poop than the other animals.
In a 2020 study of 60 patients with type 2 diabetes who ate okra powder for 8 weeks, they also had lower cholesterol.
Still, we need more studies to confirm this effect in humans.
4. Okra may reduce your risk of some cancers
Okra contains a protein called lectin, which was shown to slow tumor growth in a 2014 study of breast cancer cells. Keep in mind that this was a test-tube study — but the results are promising.
A recent research review further emphasized how okra’s antioxidants and lectin are a one-two punch against cancer. But a few paragraphs later, the scientists wrote that there just haven’t been enough studies on okra to say how much okra could slow cancer *or* how much you’d need to eat to reap that benefit.
5. Okra is great for pregnant peeps
6. Okra contains bone-strengthening vitamin K
Experts recommend 120 micrograms of vitamin K for males and 90 micrograms for females each and every day. Just a cup of okra contains over 30 micrograms, so it’s enough to help you get dem bones on the road to long life and prosperity. 🖖
7. Okra helps fill up your fiber tank
8. Okra might help squash high blood sugar
Munching on okra has been linked to stable blood sugar, but the research is slim, older, and done on animals. #WompWomp
If that’s the case, this veggie could be a bonus snack for folks with diabetes.
9. Okra = an easy, peasy, stress-free side dish
One of the best things about okra is how easy it is to add to your meals. This veggie can be added to most soups or stews. Plus, it’s a stellar side dish when served alone.
If it’s your first time buying okra, know that there are three forms:
- Dried. Dry, powdered okra can be used in place of egg whites or to thicken sauces or soups.
- Seeds. Yep, okra seeds are edible! Snack on them roasted or grind them up to zhuzh up dishes with a little sprinkle of seeds.
- Fresh. Wet okra can be a bit, erm, slimy. You either love it or hate it. But the secret to tender, un-gummy okra is to cook it whole in the pod.
- Pickled. Just like cucumbers, adding some okra to a jar with vinegar and spices will give you a pickled product.
If it’s your first time cooking okra, know that there are endless ways to dish up this Southern beauty.
Beyond the Southern U.S., Okra is also enjoyed all over the world.
Wanna incorporate more okra into your diet? Here are a few tasty recipes to try:
If you love the taste and texture of okra, there’s no reason you can’t make it your daily veggie of choice. However, there’s no specific benefit to eating okra daily versus weekly.
Okra is also high in oxalates, which means that eating a lot of it *might* raise your risk of recurrent kidney stones.
- Okra, also known as ladies’ fingers, is a fuzzy green vegetable filled with seeds.
- Like many other vegetables, okra is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Okra’s nutrients make it a healthy snack choice whether you’re concerned about heart, bone, or digestive health. Its folate content also makes it super beneficial for pregnant people.
- You can enjoy okra pickle, roasted, fried, or chopped into a veggie stew or gumbo.