International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences
2015; 4(2): 208-215
Published online March 19, 2015 (http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/j/ijnfs)
ISSN: 2327-2694 (Print); ISSN: 2327-2716 (Online)
Nutritional quality and health benefits of “Okra”
(Abelmoschus esculentus): A review
Habtamu Fekadu Gemede
1, 4, *
, Negussie Ratta
, Gulelat Desse Haki
, Ashagrie Z. Woldegiorgis
Department of Food Technology and Process Engineering, Wollega University, P.O. Box: 395, Nekemte, Ethiopia
Department of Chemistry, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Department of Food Science and Technology, Botswana Collage of Agriculture, Botswana University, Gaborone, Botswana
Center for Food Science and Nutrition, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
firstname.lastname@example.org (H. F. Gemede) email@example.com (H. F. Gemede)
To cite this article:
Habtamu Fekadu Gemede, Negussie Ratta, Gulelat Desse Haki, Ashagrie Z. Woldegiorgis, Fekadu Beyene. Nutritional Quality and Health
Benefits of “Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus): A Review. International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Vol. 4, No. 2, 2015, pp. 208-215. doi: 10.11648/j.ijnfs.20150402.22
“Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus) is an economically important vegetable crop grown in tropical and sub-tropical
parts of the world. This paper was aimed to review nutritional quality and potential health benefits of edible parts of “Okra”.
“Okra” is a multipurpose crop due to its various uses of the fresh leaves, buds, flowers, pods, stems and seeds. “Okra” immature
fruits, which are consumed as vegetables, can be used in salads, soups and stews, fresh or dried, fried or boiled. It offers
mucilaginous consistency after cooking. Often the extract obtained from the fruit is added to different recipes like stews and
sauces to increase the consistency. “Okra” mucilage has medicinal applications when used as a plasma replacement or blood
volume expander. The mucilage of “Okra” binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the liver. “Okra”
seeds are a potential source of oil, with concentrations varying from 20% to 40%, which consists of linoleic acid up to 47.4%.
“Okra” seed oil is also a rich source of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid essential for human nutrition. “Okra” has been
called “a perfect villager’s vegetable” because of its robust nature, dietary fiber, and distinct seed protein balance of both lysine
and tryptophan amino acids. The amino acid composition of “Okra” seed protein is comparable to that of soybean and the protein
efficiency ratio is higher than that of soybean and the amino acid pattern of the protein renders it an adequate supplement to
legume or cereal based diets. “Okra” seed is known to be rich in high quality protein especially with regards to its content of
essential amino acids relative to other plant protein sources. “Okra” is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is
soluble fibre in the form of gums and pectins which help to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart diseases. The other
fraction of “Okra” is insoluble fibre, which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy. “Okra” is also abundant with several
carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, which play a vital role in human diet and health. “Okra” is rich in phenolic compounds with
important biological properties like quartering and flavonol derivatives, catechin oligomers and hydroxycinnamic derivatives.
“Okra” is also known for being high in antioxidants activity. “Okra” has several potential health beneficial effects on some of the
important human diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, digestive diseases and some cancers. Overall, “Okra” is an
important vegetable crop with a diverse array of nutritional quality and potential health benefits.
Okra, Nutritional, Quality, Health, Edible, Oil
“Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus) is one of the most
widely known and utilized species of the family Malvaceae
 and an economically important vegetable crop grown in
tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world [2,3,4]. This crop
is one of the most widely known and utilized species of the
family Malvaceae . “Okra” plant was previously included
in the genus Hibiscus. Later, it was designated to
Abelmoschus, which is distinguished from the genus
“Okra” originated in Ethiopia  and was then propagated
in North Africa, in the Mediterranean, in Arabia and India by
the 12th century BC . Considering the little contact
International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 2015; 4(2): 208-215 209
between Ethiopia and the rest of the world within historic
times, it is not surprising that little is known about the early
history and distribution of “Okra”. The routes by which
“Okra” was taken from Ethiopia to North Africa, the eastern
Mediterranean, Arabia, and India, and when, are by no means
“Okra” is known by many local names in different parts of
the world. It is called lady’s finger in England, gumbo in the
United States of America, guino-gombo in Spanish, guibeiro
in Portuguese and bhindiin India [9,10]. In its origin of
Ethiopia it is also called Kenkase (Berta), Andeha (Gumuz),
Bamia (Oromica/Amharic). The name “Okra” derives from
one of Niger-Congo group of languages (the name for “Okra”
in the Twi language is nkuruma) . The term “Okra” was
in the use of English by the late 18th century .
“Okra” is suitable for cultivation as a garden crop as well
as on large commercial farms . “Okra” plants are grown
commercially in many countries such as India, Japan, Turkey,
Iran, Western Africa, Yugoslavia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Brazil,
Ethiopia, Cyprus and in the Southern United States .
“Okra” is a multipurpose crop due to its various uses of the
fresh leaves, buds, flowers, pods, stems and seeds .
“Okra” immature fruits (green seed pods), which are
consumed as vegetables, can be used in salads, soups and
stews, fresh or dried, fried or boiled . It offers
mucilaginous consistency after cooking. Often the extract
obtained from the fruit is added to different recipes like soups,
stews and sauces to increase the consistency. “Okra”
mucilage has medicinal applications when used as a plasma
replacement or blood volume expander. The mucilage of
“Okra” binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins
dumped into it by the liver. The immature pods are also used
in making pickle. The entire plant is edible and is used to
have several foods [16, 17].
“Okra” seeds are source of oil and protein. “Okra” seeds
have been used on a small scale for oil production. It can be
also used as non-caffeinated substitute for coffee. “Okra” seeds
may be roasted and ground to form a caffeine-free substitute
for coffee . “Okra” also has industrial applications and is
used in confectionary . To promote the use of indigenous
vegetables like “Okra” that have play significant role in
mitigate food insecurity and alleviate malnutrition in the
country. However, “Okra” has been considered a minor crop
and no attention was paid to its improvement in the
international research program in past .
On the other hand, the demand for vegetable oils is rapidly
increasing due to the growing human population and the
expanding oil industry with health promoting oil components,
the exploration of some underutilized and newer resources of
vegetable oils is of much concern . “Okra”, which is
currently grown mainly as a vegetable crop, has potential for
cultivation as an essential oilseed crop because “Okra” seeds
contain high amount of oil (20-40%) [10,22]. However, there
is also no comprehensive literature information regarding
characteristics of the oils produced from “Okra” seeds.
Therefore, this review was aimed to assess literature
regarding the nutritional quality and potential health benefits
of edible parts of “Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus) vegetable.
The oil compositions of “Okra” seed was also discussed in
order to provide further reliable information about health
promoting oil components of “Okra” seeds.
2. Nutritional Composition of “Okra”
“Okra” is more a diet food than staple . “Okra” seeds
have been used on a small scale for oil production. Lipid
components greatly contribute to the nutritional and sensory
value of almost all types of foods. Nature provides a large
number of fats that differ in their chemical and functional
properties. Four classes of lipids are habitually found in
vegetable oils: triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols, polar lipids,
and free fatty acids. The fatty acid composition determines
the physical properties, stability, and nutritional value of
lipids. The most naturally occurring storage lipids are
triacylglycerols. Triacylglycerols are natural compounds that
consist of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids that differ in
the length of their acyl chains and the number and positions
of double bonds: saturated, monoenoic, and polyunsaturated
fatty acids that differ with respect to detailed fatty acid
composition. Monoenoic fatty acids and polyunsaturated
fatty acids are structurally distinguished by the presence of
repeating methylene units. These units produce an extremely
flexible chain that rapidly reorients through conformational
states and constitutes an influential group of molecules that
promote health . “Okra” seeds from Greece are a
potential source of oil, with concentrations varying from 20%
to 40% [10,22], depending on the extraction method. The oil
mainly consists of linoleic acid (up to 47.4%) . “Okra”
seed oil is a rich source of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated
fatty acid essential for human nutrition .
Proteins play a particularly important role in human
nutrition. The amino acid contents, proportions, and their
digestibility by humans characterize a protein’s biological
value . “Okra” has been called “a perfect villager’s
vegetable” because of its robust nature, dietary fiber, and
distinct seed protein balance of both lysine and tryptophan
amino acids (unlike the proteins of cereals and pulses) [20,27].
The amino acid composition of “Okra” seed protein is
comparable to that of soybean and the protein efficient ratio is
higher than that of soybean , and the amino acid pattern of
the protein renders it an adequate supplement to legume or
cereal based diets . “Okra” seed is known to be rich in high
quality protein especially with regards to its content of
essential amino acids relative to other plant protein sources
[2,23]. Hence, it plays a vital role in the human diet .
“Okra” also contains carbohydrates and vitamins
[12,31,32], and plays a vital role in human diet [4,33].
Consumption of young immature “Okra” pods is important as
fresh fruits, and it can be consumed in different forms .
Fruits can be boiled, fried or cooked . The composition
of “Okra” pods per 100 g edible portion (81% of the product
as purchased, ends trimmed) is: water 88.6 g, energy 144.00
kJ (36 kcal), protein 2.10 g, carbohydrate 8.20 g, fat 0.20 g,
210 Habtamu Fekadu Gemede et al.: Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of “Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus): A Review
fibre 1.70 g, Ca 84.00 mg, P 90.00 mg, Fe 1.20 mg, β-
carotene 185.00 µg, riboflavin 0.08 mg, thiamin 0.04 mg,
niacin 0.60 mg, ascorbic acid 47.00 mg.
The composition of “Okra” leaves per 100 g edible portion
is: water 81.50 g, energy 235.00 kJ (56.00 kcal), protein 4.40
g, fat 0.60 g, carbohydrate 11.30 g, fibre 2.10 g, Ca 532.00
mg, P 70.00 mg, Fe 0.70 mg, ascorbic acid 59.00 mg, β-
carotene 385.00 µg, thiamin 0.25 mg, riboflavin 2.80 mg,
niacin 0.20 mg [32,35]. Carbohydrates are mainly present in
the form of mucilage [36,37]. That of young fruits consists of
long chain molecules with a molecular weight of about
170,000 made up of sugar units and amino acids. The main
components are galactose (25%), rhamnose (22%),
galacturonic acid (27%) and amino acids (11%). The
mucilage is highly soluble in water. Its solution in water has
an intrinsic viscosity value of about 30%.
Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium and Calcium are the
principal elements in pods, which contain about 17% seeds.
Presence of Iron, Zink, Manganese and Nickel also has been
reported . Fresh pods are low in calories (20 per 100 g),
practically no fat, high in fiber, and have several valuable
nutrients, including about 30% of the recommended levels of
vitamin C (16 to 29 mg), 10 to 20% of folate (46 to 88 mg) and
about 5% of vitamin A (14 to 20 RAE). Both pod skin
(mesocarp) and seeds are excellent source of zinc (80 mg/g) .
“Okra” seed is mainly composed of oligomeric catechins
(2.5 mg/g of seeds) and flavonol derivatives (3.4 mg/g of
seeds), while the mesocarp is mainly composed of
hydroxycinnamic and quercetin derivatives (0.2 and 0.3 mg/g
of skins). Pods and seeds are rich in phenolic compounds
with important biological properties like quartering
derivatives, catechin oligomers and hydroxycinnamic
derivatives . These properties, along with the high
content of carbohydrates, proteins, glycol-protein, and other
dietary elements enhance the importance of this foodstuff in
the human diet [12, 40].
Dried “Okra” sauce (pods mixed with other ingredients
and regularly consumed in West Africa) does not provide any
beta carotene (vitamin A) or retinol . However, fresh
“Okra” pods are the most important vegetable source of
viscous fiber, an important dietary component to lower
cholesterol . Seven-days-old fresh “Okra” pods have the
highest concentration of nutrients .
Seed as potential edible oil and flour source
“Okra” seeds contain about 20 to 40% oil [10,22]. The bark
fibre is easy to extract. It is white to yellow in colour, strong
but rather coarse. Tests conducted in China suggest that an
alcohol extract of “Okra” leaves can eliminate oxygen free
radicals, alleviate renal tubular-interstitial diseases, reduce
proteinuria, and improve renal function [36,37]. “Okra” seed
can be dried, and the dried seeds are a nutritious material that
can be used to prepare vegetable curds, or roasted and ground
to be used as coffee additive or substitute .
“Okra” seed oil yield is comparable to most oil seed crops
except oil palm and soybean . Moreover, “Okra” seed oil
has potential hypocholesterolemic effect. The potential for
wide cultivation of “Okra” for edible oil as well as for cake is
very high . “Okra” seed flour could also be used to
fortify cereal flour . For example, supplementing maize
ogi with “Okra” meal increases protein, ash, oil and fiber
content . “Okra” seed flour has been used to supplement
corn flour for a very long time in countries like Egypt to
make better quality dough. However, long-term
rodent/animal feeding trials would be pertinent before
making final recommendations for wider consumption of
“Okra” seed flour .
The enormous nutritional and other biological activities in
the pods and seeds were reported by Agbo et al., ;
Arapitsas, , and Kumar et al., . The “Okra” pods
were reported to have viscous fiber and lower cholesterol
content [42,47]. “Okra” seeds were determined to have
appreciable protein content according to Akingbala et al.,
. The variations in polysaccharides found in the mucilage
are higher in “Okra” pods according to Hirose et al., ,
and Sengkhamparn et al., .
Green vegetables contain valuable chlorophyll .
Chlorophyllin as an important component of chlorophyll was
reported for enormous health benefits. The physiological and
biochemical activities of phenolic compounds as antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial were also reported by
Ali and Deokule, ; Manach et al., , and Middleton,
. Marinova et al.,  proved the higher values of
phenolic and flavonoid values, ratios and distributions in
some Bulgarian vegetables and fruits. Generally, fruits and
vegetables have shown the basic useful properties especially
in providing an excellent health and nutritional qualities in
the area of prevention and delay in the onset of chronic
diseases and the provision of vitamins and enzymes
necessary for proper body function .
3. Mucilage and Its Potential
“Okra” mucilage refers to the thick and slimy substance
found in fresh as well as dried pods. Mucilaginous substances
are usually concentrated in the pod walls and are chemically
acidic polysaccharides associated with proteins and minerals
. Although nature of the polysaccharides varies greatly,
neutral sugars rhamnose, galactose and galacturonic acid
have been reported often [48,49]. The “Okra” mucilage can
be extracted as a viscous gum using various procedures. Such
diversity in the extraction procedures seems to contribute to
the observed variability in the mucilage chemical
composition . “Okra” mucilage is a renewable and
inexpensive source of biodegradable material. Its physical
and chemical properties include high water solubility,
plasticity, elasticity and viscosity .
Most physical and chemical properties are influenced by
factors such as temperature, pH, sugar and salt contents, and
storage time [55,58]. “Okra” mucilage has potential for use as
food, non-food products, and medicine. Food applications
include use as a whipping agent for reconstituted egg whites,
as an additive in the formulation of flour-based adhesives, and
as an additive in India for clarifying sugarcane juice. Non-food
applications include brightening agents in electro deposition of
International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 2015; 4(2): 208-215 211
metals, as a deflocculant in paper and fabric production, and as
a protectant to reduce friction in pipe-flow [56,57].
Polysaccharides can be combined with acrylamide to develop
new biodegradable polymeric materials . Potential of
mucilage for medicinal applications includes uses as an
extender of serum albumin , as tablet binder  and as
suspending agent in formulations . “Okra” mucilage is
used in Asian medicine as a protective food additive against
irritating and inflammatory gastric diseases .
4. Health Benefits of “Okra”
In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the
role of diet in human health . The high intake of plant
products is associated with a reduced risk of a number of
chronic diseases, such as atherosclerosis and cancer .
These beneficial effects have been partly attributed to the
compounds which possess antioxidant activity. The major
antioxidants of vegetables are vitamins C and E, carotenoids,
and phenolic compounds, especially flavonoids. These
antioxidants scavenge radicals and inhibit the chain initiation
or break the chain propagation (the second defense line).
Vitamin E and carotenoids also contribute to the first defense
line against oxidative stress, because they quench singlet
oxygen . Flavonoids as well as vitamin C showed a
protective activity to α-atocopherol in human LDL, and they
can also regenerate vitamin E, from the α-chromanoxy
Nutrient antioxidants may act together to reduce reactive
oxygen species level more effectively than single dietary
antioxidants, because they can function as synergists . In
addition, a mixture containing both water-soluble and lipid-
soluble antioxidants is capable of quenching free radicals in
both aqueous and lipid phases . For example, with the
liposome oxidation method, the activity of combination of
quercetin or catechins plus α-tocopherol was significantly
higher than the sum of the individual activities.
Combinations of α-tocopherol or vitamin C plus phenolic
compounds also provided synergistic effects in human
erythrocyte membrane ghosts and phosphatidylcholine
liposome systems .
“Okra” seed is rich in protein and unsaturated fatty acids
such as linoleic acid . In some countries, “Okra” also is
used in folk medicine as antiulcerogenic, gastroprotective,
diuretic agents . However, little information on
antioxidant capabilities of major phenolic compounds from
“Okra” seed is available. “Okra” is also a popular health food
due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. “Okra” is
also a good source of calcium and potassium. “Okra” pod
contain thick slimy polysaccharides, which are used to
thicken soups and stews, as an egg white substitute, and as a
fat substitute in chocolate bar cookies and in chocolate frozen
dairy dessert .
“Okra” is also known for being high in antioxidants
activity with different parts of the plant . Atawodi et al.,
 has reported in vitro antioxidant assay of methanol
extract of “Okra” fruits. They have done antioxidant/radical
scavenging activities by xanthine oxidase and 2-
deoxyguanosine methods and reported 50% inhibitory
concentration values of 25 and 43 ml. In addition, Arapitsas,
, reported that “Okra” seed is rich in Phenolic
compounds, mainly composed of flavonol derivatives and
oligomeric catechins. According to Khomsug et al., ,
total phenolic content of pulped and seeds of “Okra” extracts
as 10.75±0.02mg GAE/100g extract and 142.48±0.02mg
GAE/100g extract which corresponds with scavenging
activities. Besides they have also found procycanidin B2 as
predominant phenolic compound followed by procycanidin
B1 and rutin in seeds. In pulped seed catechin, procycanidin
B2, epicatechin and rutin are reported to be present. It is
quite important to the see that roasting (1600°C for 10–60
minutes) increased the nutrient composition and antioxidant
activity of the seeds whereas pre-treatment (soaking and
blanching) increased the nutrient composition, but decreases
antioxidant activity . Ansari, , reported “Okra”
extract as in vitronon-enzymatic inhibitior of lipid
peroxidation in liposomes. A. esculentus peel and seed
powder contains significant in vivo antioxidant property in
streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Administration of different doses of peel and seed powder
significantly increased liver, kidney and pancreas superoxide
dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, reduced
glutathione levels and decreased thiobarbituric acid reactive
substances (TBARS) (P < 0.001) levels in diabetic rats
compared to diabetic control rats. Liao et al.,  has done a
comparative analysis of total phenolics and total flavonoids
and antioxidant ability of different organs (flower, fruit, leaf,
and seed) and different enrichment fractions of water extracts
of the A. esculentusplant. They confirmed fruitful presence of
total phenolics and total flavonoids related to antioxidant
ability in all the extracts of the plant organs although
percentage varied. In flower of “Okra” highest amount of
total phenolics and totalflavonoids were found . This data
suggests “Okra” as a good contributor to the antioxidant
status and promising chemopreventive agent as described in
several traditional medicines for human race. “Okra” is
abundant with several vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that
handles the health advantages the plant provides. Here are a
few of “Okra”’s health advantages:
“Okra” contain high fiber, which “helps to stabilize blood
sugar by regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed from
the intestinal tract”. Because of fiber along with other
nutrition, “Okra” shows useful for minimizing blood sugar
levels within the body, assisting along with diabetes. The
fiber likewise helps support blood sugar levels level simply
by slowing down sugar assimilation through the intestines
. The frequent usage of “Okra” might help avoid kidney
disease. Within the research, “those who consumed “Okra”
every day decreased clinical indications of kidney damage a
lot more than the ones that simply consumed a diabetic diet.”
This ties along with diabetes, as almost 50% of kidney
disease cases are generated by diabetes .
“Okra” is used to treat digestive issues. The
polysaccharides present in immature “Okra” pods possessed
212 Habtamu Fekadu Gemede et al.: Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of “Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus): A Review
considerable antiadhesive properties (i.e. they help remove
the adhesive between bacteria and stomach tissue, preventing
the cultures from spreading). “Okra”’s polysaccharides were
particularly effective at inhibiting the adhesion of
Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that dwells in the stomach
and can cause gastritis and gastric ulcers if left unchecked.
Therefore, eating more “Okra” can keep our stomach clean
and create an environment that prevents destructive cultures
from flourishing . “Okra” is used to supports colon health.
It smoothly sails down our colon, absorbing all toxins and
excess water in its path. “Okra” is filled with dietary fiber,
that is required for colon health and digestive health all
together. The fiber “Okra” offers helps to cleanse the
intestinal system, letting the colon to operate at higher
amounts of effectiveness. In addition, the vitamin A plays a
role in wholesome mucous membranes, assisting the
digestive system to function adequately .
“Okra” is used to promote healthy skin and blood. One
hundred grams of “Okra” also contain approximately 27
percent of our RDI of vitamin C and 50 percent of our RDI
of vitamin K. Vitamin C is, of course, an essential antioxidant
that aids in the growth and repair of bodily tissues. For this
reason, eating more “Okra” can rejuvenate our skin and hair,
and also shield us from degenerative diseases associated with
long-term free radical damage. Vitamin K, on the other hand,
plays an important role in blood clot formation. If you suffer
from regular nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heavy menstrual
bleeding, or easy bruising, your blood might be too thin.
Consider adding more vitamin K-rich foods like “Okra” to
your diet to improve your blood’s ability to coagulate .
“Okra” is used to promotes a healthy of the pregnancy. An
incredibly essential B vitamin for creating and maintaining
new cells, foliate is a vital substance for optimum pregnancy.
The vitamin aids in preventing birth defects just like spina
bifida and enables the baby to develop completely. Vitamin C
is additionally required for baby development. “Okra” is full
of both foliate and vitamin C. The high quantity of foliate
included in the “Okra” is helpful for the fetus while pregnant.
Foliate is a vital nutrient that increases the growth and
development of the fetus’ brain. The high quantity of folic
acid within “Okra” performs a huge role within the neural
tube formation of the fetus through the fourth to the 12th
week of pregnancy .
“Okra” is used to improves heart health. The soluble fiber
within “Okra” helps you to reduce serum cholesterol and
therefore decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease.
Consuming “Okra” is an efficient method to manage the
body’s cholesterol level. “Okra” is additionally loaded with
pectin that can help in reducing high blood cholesterol
simply by modifying the creation of bile within the intestines
. “Okra” is also used to improves good eyesight. The
“Okra” pods are fantastic options for Vitamin A and also beta
carotene that are both important nourishment for sustaining
an excellent eye-sight along with healthy skin .
Additionally, these types of important nourishment also assist
inhibits eye associated illnesses along with problems on the
skin. “Okra” is better ingested when joined along with other
healthy veggies. Consuming “Okra” has truly numerous
advantages, simply bear in mind to eat natural veggies as
opposed to processed veggies .
“Okra” is used to controls the body’s cholesterol level.
There are numerous significant illnesses related to high
cholesterol level of the entire body. Managing the body’s
cholesterol level is nearly difficult because it’s hard to avoid
foods loaded with cholesterol content. One of the better
health advantages of consuming “Okra” is definitely the
powerful management of the human body’s high cholesterol
level . This healthy vegetable is beneficial in slimming
down and also decreasing cholesterol therefore keeps a
healthy and also low cholesterol body. “Okra” have been
taken advantage by diet advisors due to these qualities .
Generally, “Okra” is used to stabilize blood sugar by
regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the
intestinal tract. It is a good vegetable for those feeling weak,
exhausted, and suffering from depression and it is also used
in ulcers, lung inflammation, sore throat as well as irritable
bowel. “Okra” is good for asthma patients and it also
normalizes blood sugar and cholesterol levels . Previous
studies reported that “Okra” polysaccharide possesses
anticomplementary and hypoglycemic activity in normal
mice . Also, “Okra” polysaccharide lowers cholesterol
level in blood and may prevent cancer by its ability to bind
bile acids [81,84]. Additionally, “Okra” seed possess blood
glucose normalization and lipid profiles lowering action in
diabetic condition .
The information presented here shows the potential
nutritional importance of “Okra” and its role in improved
nutrition and health. It is an affordable source of protein,
carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, dietary fibre and
health promoting fatty acids. Scientific studies provide some
evidence to support the potential beneficial effects of “Okra”
components in lowering the risk for various chronic diseases,
although information pertaining to the role of edible plant
parts of “Okra” in disease prevention and the mechanisms of
action are limited to date. This is due to the complex nature
of disease etiology and various factors impacting their
occurrence. It is imperative the scientific community
continues to unravel the mechanisms involved in disease
prevention and determine how food bio-actives from such
foods as “Okra” can influence human health. Further
research, needs to be performed to provide compelling
evidence for the direct health benefits of “Okra” consumption.
Therefore, promoting the consumption of traditional
vegetables such as “Okra” could provide cheap sources of
macro and micronutrients and mineral elements that can
improve the nutritional status of resource-poor subsistence
farmers in the area in particular and in Ethiopia in general.
Furthermore, this vegetable can also be used as an
indispensable tool when it comes to reducing the prevalence
of malnutrition, especially among resource-constrained urban
households in addition to rural household. Consumption of
International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 2015; 4(2): 208-215 213
“Okra” by both low-income and high-income groups can also
used as a means of dietary diversification approach.
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