Okra is a nutritional vegetable originated in Africa. Although many people often cannot stand its taste, okras are definitely beneficial for the health if properly prepared. This green-colored vegetable can be found worldwide and is able to serve with simple preparation. If you are concern about your cholesterol and blood sugar level, or are planning to lose some weights, this vegetable can be one of the foods you need to consider.
Nutrient contents of Okra
The benefits of okras, despite its unpleasant taste lie on the contained nutrition, which is beneficial for our body.
- Okra is loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber which are required for digestion. Inside the stomach, this fiber combines with some other substances, including cholesterol to slow its absorption by the bloodstream down.
- Okras are low in fat, which makes it low in calories as well. This low fat content in okra has made the food one of the common intake for those planning a weight loss plan.
- Consuming okras is recommended for pregnant women, as it is high in folic acid and vitamin B6, which are important for the baby early physical development.
- Okras are also loaded with minerals in sufficient amount, which includes potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Okra and cholesterol level
For long period, okras have been considered as a food source which is able to lower cholesterol as well as improve diabetes. People with high blood sugar starts to include okras into their daily diets, which is a good health habit. In relation to cholesterol, there are some things about okra to consider.
- Although influenced by variety of risk factors, cholesterol level is somehow affected by the weight. Being overweight, thus, is one of the risk factors for heart disease, since it tends to increase your blood cholesterol level. As a food source loaded with fiber, okras are going to fill you up and satisfy your appetite. Regular consumption of okras, therefore, may contribute a significant role in weight loss.
- Fiber which is contained by okras is going to attach themselves to body cholesterol found in the stomach. This will slow the digestion down, which improves blood sugar balance—preventing your blood sugar from drastically escalate. A good blood sugar balance contributes to lower level of cholesterol and triglycerides, which prevents the risk of heart diseases as well as diabetes.
- Fiber in okras maintains okra’s glycemic index low. This means, it has a minimal effect on the blood glucose. Lower glycemic index triggers more proper digestion, which is good for the body cholesterol level.
- Okra is low in saturated fat and contains fatty acid, making it a recommended menu for weight gain. Foods lower in fats will increase the level of good cholesterol—the HDL and lower the bad cholesterol—the LDL, and triglycerides. This, thus, keep your cholesterol level in balance and minimize your risk of having cardiovascular diseases.
- Since okra is low in calories, it helps maintaining weight control. Balanced weight helps maintaining cholesterol level, and losing some weight may help lowering the entire cholesterol level, which is important for preventing heart and cardiovascular diseases.
Best ways to prepare okras for cholesterol lowering
Okras is a healthy food source, which is recommended for people with diabetes and those with cholesterol-lowering plans, other than pregnant women. The vegetable itself is loaded with vitamin, minerals, and fiber that are important for proper digestion. However, your chosen methods to prepare this vegetables might influence the quality of its content and its effects on your digestion and cholesterol level.
- Avoid overcooking okras as it may eliminate the nutrients. Eating okras raw might not also be recommended, as it is going to taste strange. Put light seasoning, such as sprinkling salt and pepper to improve the vegetable’s taste and makes it more tasteful.
- Grilling or baking okras is considered as the most nutritious way of preparing the food. This will also minimize its strange taste and reduce the slime texture. Before baking the okras, you can boil it with a cup of corn meal, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of pepper. Put the mixture on the oil-sprayed pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- Many people cook okras by frying it, which in fact, is not a recommended cooking method for the vegetables, as it increases the percentage of both cholesterol—from the unsaturated fat in the oil used, and the calories up to 10% of the daily recommendation.
- Avoid preparing okra with some butter or by mixing it with some bread, as this will escalate the sugar level, which can possibly increase your cholesterol level.
- Combining okras with other cholesterol-lowering food source, such as cloves of garlic—not the powdered one, will maintain its health benefit on lowering cholesterol.