03-09-2022 by Leni Frau
Call it 'okra', or 'ladies fingers', or by its Swahili name, 'mabenda'. In Kenyan markets, the fruit of the okra plant abounds.
They sell it by the handful and it is cheap (20-30 shillings for a good portion). Few know of its many properties and that if it is left to stand in water, the liquid that remains, slightly slimy, drunk every morning is a panacea for many ailments.
Okra is a flowering plant that is much appreciated for its pods, called 'okra' in Italian and rich in seeds. The scientific name of this interesting plant is Abelmoschus esculentus.
Its origin is still unclear; Ethiopia and West Africa share its paternity, but other studies find it in South America.
The health benefits of okra include its ability to improve digestion, manage diabetes, reduce fatigue and increase endurance levels.
It also helps reduce stress and lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body.
Okra, for all intents and purposes, grows everywhere but does not have much credit as a vegetable. Yet cooked in different ways it has a pleasant taste and above all a rich content of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and vitamins A, C, E and K.
Okra also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
In addition, it contains high levels of nutritious mucilaginous fibres that, when released in water, create a liquid that is able to lower blood glucose levels.
Okra has powerful antioxidant power in its seeds and skin, which particularly help people with type 2 diabetes. In addition, this vegetable is a good source of fibre; 1 cup provides 3.2 g of dietary fibre. According to the American Heart Association, foods rich in dietary fibre help lower bad cholesterol levels.
Okra can be a source of dietary therapy for hypertriglyceridaemia, a condition that occurs when there is a high level of a certain type of fat (triglycerides) in the blood. It is therefore particularly suitable for people with hypertriglyceridaemia, which can contribute to hardening of the arteries and, consequently, to cardiovascular disease. The information given here is taken from articles citing studies and scientific journals.
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