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The health benefits of okro

Nigeria is the world’s second largest producer of okro and is no wonder that okro soup is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Okro products are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic "goo" or slime when the seed pods are cooked; the mucilage contains soluble fiber.  It also has a high vitamin C and folate content and being high in antioxidants. Okro is also a good source of calcium and potassium.

We list the health benefits of okro below.

1. Digestive health: Okro is rich in fibers, which improves digestion and heals the bowels. This helps for the easy disposition of toxins in the intestines. The fibers in the okro aid proper absorption of water, lubricates the large intestines and ensure bowel movements making okro a natural laxative. The fibers also reduce the risk for colon and rectal cancer. They clean our intestines tract, while the antioxidants eliminate the free radicals. Okro also aids good bacteria thrive in the intestines, which helps for a healthy intestinal tract.

2. Diabetes: Okro helps reduce blood sugar levels as it stabilizes blood sugar by regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed.

3. Pregnancy: Rich in folates, okro helps in fetal development by preventing miscarriage and defects in the fetal neural tube.

4. Bones: Okro strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis due to it high content in vitamin K and folates, which makes the bones denser.

5. Asthma: Okro being rich in antioxidants and vitamin C plus having anti-inflammatory properties helps prevents the development of asthma and asthma attacks.

6. Respiratory problems: Pneumonia, bronchitis and common cold and flu can be treated with the leaves and flowers of okro.

7. Ideal for weight loss: Okro has almost no calories, while the fibers make you feel full. Plus, it is rich with nutrients. Okro seeds are rich in proteins which help in reducing the feelings of hunger.

8. Cholesterol: Okro is rich on soluble fiber Pectin which lowers the bad cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis.

9. Skin Detoxifier: Okro helps remove wastes from the skin and repairs skin tissue. It also prevents skin pigmentation, reduces acne, and prevents psoriasis and other conditions.

10. Hair: It can be used as a hair conditioner, as it moisturizes the scalp while preventing dandruff, giving one’s hair a shiny and fresh look.

11. Immunity: Okro boosts the immune system with the help of the antioxidants, vitamin C and other essential minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, and iron. Al these help the body fight against free radicals.

12. Eyesight: Rich in beta-carotenes, lutein and xanthine, okro helps prevent glaucoma and cataract.

13. Anemia: Okro contains vitamin K, folate and iron which help fight against anemia. Hemoglobin forms, the blood coagulates, and the production of red blood cells is increased as a result of ingesting this nutrients.

14. Ulcers: Besides neutralizing acids, okro speeds up the healing of peptic ulcers by providing a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.

15. Genital disorders: Okro has been known to treat disorders like gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, syphilis and dysuria and prevent excessive menstrual bleeding.

However, it must be mentioned that some research conducted by Dr. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello from the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Lagos State University in collaboration with Temitope Ijiwole and Funmileyi Awobajo from the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos found that in laboratory conditions there was a reduction in the weight of the testes of rats fed with okro extracts, secretion of testosterone and sperm production (spermatogenesis).

The researchers advised men to cautious with the consumption of okro, especially those looking to have children.

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