Okra is generally thought of as a “regional vegetable.” Often popularized in depiction of the American South, okra has been traditionally served steaming hot, straight from the frying pan. In recent years, okra has made its way into gourmet recipes and establishments for bringing a unique texture, appearance, and flavor profile to a variety of cuisines. Okra’s abundant health benefits, particularly for gut health and immunity, have added to its appeal.
Okra is a green flowering plant with edible seed pods. When cooked, okra has a mild earthy flavor that acquires depth and crispness the longer the cooking time. It is versatile enough to use in many types of dishes–from eggs to soup–and with different cooking methods including baking, roasting, sauteing, and stir-frying.
Rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, antioxidants, fiber, calcium, and iron, okra has many health benefits when included as a regular part of a healthy diet:
Support for Gut Health. The fiber in okra helps support healthy digestion and movement of the bowels. The unique slippery texture that okra takes on as it cooks has been found to nourish the lining of the gut. A bonus for people who have IBS is that okra, unlike other cruciferous veggies, does not contain fermentable fiber which aggravates IBS.
Support for the Immune System. One cup of okra contains nearly a daily serving of vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for a strong immune system. Vitamin C is also found in okra. Just keep in mind that cooking at a high heat can deplete the vitamin C content.
Support for Detoxification. The antioxidants found in okra support the body’s natural detoxification. By filling up on okra and other foods high in antioxidants, you are helping to protect your body from toxins that damage cells and cause inflammation.
If you’ve hesitated to try okra, explore the many ways to prepare it and season it! You might find you like it!
- Well+Good.com. “7 Health Benefits of Okra According to an RD.” Accessed 4 Jan 2022. https://www.wellandgood.com/benefits-of-okra/
- MedicalNewsToday.com. “Benefits and Uses of Okra.” Accessed 5 Jan 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977