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Vegetable That Heals
Health Benefits of Okra (Hibiscus esculentus)
A man has been suffering from paralysis for the past 20 years and recently from acidosis. Little did he know that the treatment was so simple — OKRA! He started eating okra in the last 2 months and since then he has not taken any medicine. His goal is to eat 6 servings of OKRA per day. He is now normal, his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98, and his cholesterol and uric acid are under control. Here are some facts about okra (from research by Ms. Sylvia Zook, PH.D (nutrition), University of Illinois.
“Okra is a power house of valuable nutrients, almost half of which is soluble fiber in the form of resins and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart. keep the gut healthy and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, especially colo-rectal cancer. About 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also in half a cup of cooked okra.
Okra is a great source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Here are the following numbers from the University of Illinois Extension Okra Page. [Please check there for more details.]
Okra (half cup cooked okra)
* Calories = 25
* Dietary fiber = 2 grams
* Protein = 1.5 grams
* Carbs = 5.8 grams
* Vitamin A = 460 IU
* Vitamin C = 13 mg
* Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms
* Magnesium = 50 mg
* Iron = 0.4 mg
* Potassium = 256 mg
* Magnesium = 46 mg
These numbers should be used as a guide only, and if you are eating a food that is medically prohibited please consult your doctor or nutritionist.
Ms. Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) has given the following sensational information about the many benefits of this versatile vegetable. Good to read.
1. The good fiber found in okra helps stabilize blood sugar because it prevents the rapid absorption of sugar from the intestinal tract.
2. Okra’s mucilage not only binds cholesterol but also the bile acids that carry away toxins that are filtered out by the liver. But it doesn’t stop there…
3. Many health practitioners believe that all diseases begin in the colon. Okra’s fiber, which absorbs water and stabilizes most stools, helps with constipation. Fiber is good for this but okra is one of the best, along with ground flaxseed and psyllium. Unlike wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the gut, okra’s mucilage is soothing, making it easier to get rid of okra because of its slippery texture that most people hate. In other words, this important vegetable not only binds cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) that can cause many health problems, if not removed, but also stabilizes your them quickly from the body.
4. Also beneficial for gut health, okra fiber (along with flax and psyllium) does not have the same fiber to feed good (probiotic) bacteria.
5. To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-fertilizing enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, for example with low heat and steaming. Some are eaten raw.
Cholesterol lowering effects of OKRA
Okra, a fruit high in water-soluble fiber (WSF) and widely consumed in Africa was investigated as a candidate for cholesterol lowering. The water-soluble fiber in certain fruits and vegetables has been the focus of scientific research regarding potential health benefits for cardiovascular disease (CVD). A 3-week study conducted in 30 healthy subjects concluded that Okra is an effective cholesterol-lowering dietary supplement. Okra is therefore a good way to prevent CVD risk factors and is an opportunity for commercial okra challenge.
Source: Bangana, A., N. Dossou, et al. (2005). “Cholesterol-lowering effects of Okra (Hibiscus esculentus) in elderly Senegalese men.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism 18 (Suppl. 1): 199
Okra against heart disease
For a triple whammy against heart disease, eat okra. The first is related to antioxidant activity in atherosclerosis which is hardening and clogging of blood vessels. The main antioxidant in okra is vitamin C, which has been linked by the World Health Organization to a lower risk of heart disease. A cup of chopped okra contains more vitamin C than a whole tomato. While you can’t rely on okra as a single source of this important vitamin, it is an interesting and healthy addition to your diet.
A healthy dose of acid about 40 percent of your daily requirement in each cup of okra will prevent heart disease. Without this B vitamin, your body is left with inactive amino acids, called homocysteine, which metabolize protein. Too much homocysteine builds up in your blood and damages your arteries, leading to heart disease and stroke.
Okra delivers the final punch with its minerals, mainly potassium and magnesium. For lowering blood pressure, experts say that eating foods rich in potassium is important to lose weight and reduce salt. And getting the right amount of magnesium is important to the elderly, who may not be able to absorb as much as they used to, and may produce more as waste. Magnesium helps control cholesterol and blood pressure, regulate your heart rhythm, and may improve survival from heart disease and heart attacks.
Guns Against Osteoporosis
Don’t forget okra when planning a bone-building diet. Full of four osteoporosis-fighting nutrients, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and beta carotene. People who eat foods rich in these nutrients, according to research from the United Kingdom, can reduce bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. In addition, a cup of okra gives you more than 10 percent of the daily allowance (RDA) of the popular bone-building mineral total calcium.
Some doctors used to think that osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type of joint disease, could not be prevented, but now there is new hope in natural ways. Foods like okra contain vitamin C and magnesium, nutrients your body needs to build healthy joints and skin. Experts looked at a variety of studies that suggest eating more vitamin C can slow the development of OA. They also remind us that magnesium is an integral part of cartilage.
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