Okra or okro soup is a popular Nigerian dish that is enjoyed by everyone. It is a hearty soup made with fresh okra, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of spices.
The soup is often prepared with meat or fish and served with fufu, a starchy staple made from cassava, yams, or plantains. The combination of okra soup and fufu is a staple in Nigerian cuisine and is enjoyed by people of all tribes and ages.
But okra soup is not just delicious, it also has a number of health benefits. Okra is packed with nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
This article will explore the amazing nutritious value and health benefits of okra soup.
Nutritional Value Of Okra Soup
The nutritional value of okra soup is dependent on the ingredients used in preparation. However, most of the nutrients in the soup come from okra, which is the main ingredient. Okra is a low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It is also rich in magnesium and folate.
The approximate calories in one serving of okra soup prepared with palm oil is about 208 calories.
7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Okra Soup
Now, let’s find out the amazing health benefits of okra soup:
1. Good for weight loss
Okra soup can be a great addition to a weight loss diet due to its low calorie and high nutrient content. One cup of boiled okra contains only 35 calories, making it a great choice for those looking to lose weight. Furthermore, okra is high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
2. Great food for pregnant women
Okra soup is an excellent choice for pregnant women due to the high amount of folate it contains. Folate is a B-vitamin that is essential for fetal development, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy.
It can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby, which can cause serious health problems. Okra is a good source of folate, with one cup providing around 15% of a pregnant woman’s daily requirements of folate.
3. May lower blood sugar levels
Okra soup may also have potential benefits for those at risk for high blood sugar levels.
A 2013 study conducted on mice indicated that eating okra or okra extract may help decrease blood sugar levels. The study found that okra extract helped reduce the absorption of glucose in the intestines, leading to improved blood sugar control.
Okra is also a low-glycemic food, meaning it is less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels compared to high-glycemic foods.
3. May kill cancer cells
One of the possible benefits of okra soup is its anti-cancer properties. This is due to the presence of a protein called lectin, which has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in test-tube studies.
A 2014 study investigated the effects of okra lectin on human breast cancer cells. The results showed that the lectin in okra was able to prevent the growth of breast cancer cells by up to 63%.
While more research is needed to determine the full extent of okra’s anti-cancer properties, this study suggests that consuming okra may potentially help prevent the growth of cancer cells.
4. Reduces the risk of heart diseases
Okra soup can potentially help reduce the risk of heart diseases because okra contains mucilage, a thick gel-like substance that can bind to cholesterol in the gut and prevent it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, and consuming okra can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Boosts the immune system
Okra soup is a great source of antioxidants that can fortify your body’s immune system. Antioxidants are compounds in food that protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals. The major antioxidants present in okra soup are polyphenols, such as flavonoids, isoquercetin, as well as vitamins A and C.
6. Rich in vitamin K
Okra soup is a good source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health and blood clotting. Vitamin K helps the body produce proteins that are necessary for blood clotting, which is important for wound healing and preventing excessive bleeding.
Additionally, vitamin K helps regulate calcium levels in the body, which is important for bone health. One cup of cooked okra contains approximately 40% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K
7. Promotes eye health
Both okra and most of the ingredients used in preparing okra soup are excellent sources of vitamin A, which make it a good food for your eyes.
As you can see, okra soup is not just a tasty dish but also a healthy one. It is packed with essential vitamins and minerals that offers many amazing health benefits. Therefore, make sure you eat okra soup and incorporate it into your diet.