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Health News of Thursday, 4 December 2014

Source: The Sun Newspaper

Okra nutrition facts


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Okra, also known as “lady finger” and popularly Okro in Camerroon, is one of the popular nutritious vegetables of North-Eastern Africa origin.

They are usually gathered while the pods are green, tender, and at immature stage. The plant is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions around the world for their fibrous fruits or “pods.”

It grows best in well-drained and manure rich soil.Scientifically it is known as Abelmoschusesculentus.

Health benefits of Okra

Helps in weight loss The pods are among the very low calorie vegetables. They provide just 30 calories per 100 g, besides containing no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, they are rich sources of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; often recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

Ease Constipation The pods are one of the rich sources of mucilage substance that help in smooth peristalsis of digested food through the gut and ease constipation condition.

Rich in Vitamin A and other Anti-oxidants The pods contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein. It is one of the vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. The gumbo pods are also an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C, providing about 36% of daily-recommended levels. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect the body from harmful free radicals.

Good source of folates Fresh pods are the good source of folates; provide about 22% of RDA per 100 g. Consumption of foods rich in folates, especially during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring.

Strengthens bones The veggies are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. The pods also contain good amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.

Rich in minerals Pods are also a good source of many important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium which helps in building the body.

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