Okra [ Scientific Name: Abelmoschus esculentus; Hibiscus esculentus]
Okra is a vegetable that has been cultivated for more than 800 years originating somewhere in present day Ethiopia. It was introduced by Africa to America and has been an important part of the South American diet in the form of stews and gumbos (thick stews). In the Philippines, okra is used in the traditional â€œpinakbetâ€ and â€œsinigangâ€ and to some extent a plain roasted vege; some would eat it raw. It is a significant source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, and potassium and Vitamin C. The seeds of okra can be dried, roasted, ground and brewed as a substitute for coffee. The ripe seeds can also yield edible oils. The leaves are used as medicinal remedy to reduce swelling and inflammation. This vegetable is rich in dietary fibers that help stabilize blood sugar. Okra can also help reduce cholesterol by binding along with bile acids which usually carry the toxins which the body should eliminate. The mucilaginous material in the fruit also facilitates the binding. This property is comparable to taking statins. As we know statins are the drugs that doctors prescribe in cases of high cholesterol or high dangerous fat in the blood. This however works in our intestines and virtually eliminating the source of high fat that is already attached with bile salts.
Furthermore, the bulk formed by okra in the stool promotes the growth of good bacteria. This property is similar to probiotics. So why take expensive anti-hyperlipedimic (high fat in blood) drugs when you can eat okra. Among ulcer suffering people, okra can be beneficial as anti-ulcer, comparable to a standard drug misoprotol with good results. The alkaline pH of okra could also contribute to its effect in gastro-intestinal ulcers by neutralizing the digestive acids.
So eat okra, itâ€™s great for our health and digestion!