Okra water: Benefits, side effect and best recipe

Health benefits of okra water, side effect and recipes

There are so many health benefits that have been associated with Okra water, especially among pregnant women and those seeking to conceive. Okra is one of the vegetables that make up parts of the Nigeria soup menu. It tastes great and usually makes the stomach calm and healthy. Okra immature fruits, which are consumed as vegetables, can be used in salads, soups and stews, fresh or dried, fried or boiled.

The okra plant is an annual plant that usually grows during the wet season, but dries off during the dry season. It comes in several varieties but mostly retain its taste and flavor. Some of the variety can grow as tall as 3 meter while some do not cross a meter.

Nutritional benefits of Okra water

Okra may not be a staple food; it surely is one of the best vegetables for every food. No wonder then why it 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.

Okra water is rich in Protein

Protein plays an important role in human nutrition. Most of the building blocks of our tissues and organs are constituted with proteins. Our cellular membranes are made of glycoprotein, the hemoglobin that transport oxygenated red blood cells to all parts of our body are made of proteins as well, and whenever there’s deficiency of protein in the body, such a person would suffer some diseases such as kwashiorkor and marasmus. An individual may develop fatty live, skin degeneration and stunted growth.

Okra water possess essential amino acids

Okra water is rich in essential amino acids, especially in its content of tryptophan and lysine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, but our body cannot synthesize half f the amino acids required by the body in order to build the needed structural proteins and the enzymes in our body.

According to a study, the amino acid composition of protein in okra seed can be compared to that of soybean. The study also postulated that the protein efficient ratio of okra seed 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. Hence, it plays a vital role in the human diet.

Okra water mucilage is rich in carbohydrates

Aside proteins and amino acids, okra is also enriched with carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are components of the fresh fruits mucilage. They are usually long chain compounds. And the major components are galactose, rhamnose and galacturonic acid. This means that acid being a rich source of proteins and essential amino acids, okra water can also be a source of energy.

Okra fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals

The fresh fruit of okra is well fortified with vitamins and minerals. The vitamins present in okra water include vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K, while the minerals present in the okra water include calcium, zinc, iron potassium, and magnesium.

The fruits also possess bioactive compounds, and some of them are antioxidants. The seeds of okra possess unsaturated fatty acids, with linoleic acid being the highest in percentage. Being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, okra water would definitely enhance your cellular functions and support your immune system.

Health benefits of okra water

okra water has been used in traditional medicines for the treatment several illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, diabetes and several others, which I shall list in this article.

Okra water benefits in pregnancy

Okra is rich in folate and other B vitamins. It is also a rich source of vitamin C. these vitamins, especially the B vitamins are very good for the fetus growth and development. Folate prevents the development birth defects such as congenital abnormalities. In the mother, deficiency of folate can lead to anemia, and peripheral neuropathy.

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Folate is required for the synthesis of DNA in both the mother and fetus. It is a must requirement for the development of neural tubule during the 4th to 12th week of the pregnancy. Another vital vitamin is the vitamin C. It is required for the development of collagen, iron absorption and boost your immunity. It is also vital for tissue repair and wound healing.

The zinc present in okra water and the iron are very vital for a pregnant mother and her fetus. Zinc helps in the development of placenta, function in cellular and DNA building during pregnancy, and is needed for normal cell division and tissue growth. Thus, zinc helps your baby grow well.

Iron is very important for the production and transportation of oxygenated blood to your baby. During pregnancy, your body requires more iron to supply oxygenated blood to your body and that of your baby. When there is not enough supply of iron in your body, you may be exposed to anemia.

Another mineral of and vitamin that we cannot forget are vitamin K and calcium. These two compounds are very vital for the development of healthy bones and skeletal system.

May lower cholesterol level

Okra water is effective at reducing cholesterol level. High cholesterol level cause several ill health diseases such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke. According to studies, both the pod and seeds of okra possess antihyperglycemia and antitriglycerides. They also increase the level of high density lipoprotein.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) functions to transport free cholesterol contained in the endothelial peripheral tissue to HDL receptors located in the liver so that it can be processed to be used as bile. By so doing, HDL protects you from various diseases.

Okra water benefits for diabetic patients

Some traditional medical practitioners recommend okra water for diabetic patients. This has been proved by scientific studies, which showed that okra water possess antihyperglycemia and anti-hypertriglycerides. This ability to suppress glucose and lipid levels is hallmarks of an antidiabetic medication. Therefore, it may be proper to say that okra water could be a good home remedy for diabetes.

Given the ready availability of okra and the cheap cost of purchasing a good quantity of it, okra makes the list of easily available home remedy for managing and treating diabetes.

May be good for treating neurological disorder

There are reports that okra treatment can reverse cognitive deficits and protect against morphological changes in the CA3 region of dexamethasone-treated mice. Okra possesses some bioactive compounds such as quercetin and rutin, which protect the neurons and improve learning and memory deficits.

One of the ways in which okra water could protect your body from neurological damage is by suppressing the production of the proinflammatory mediators, NO and ROS, as well as production of TNF-α and IL-1β, in LPS-stimulated BV2 microglial cells by suppressing Akt-mediated NFκB pathway. Thus, okra water may be given to Alzheimer’s disease patients to improve recognition and memory capability.

Read also(10 Amazing Health Benefits of Watercress Juice)

May protect your liver from toxic damages

Okra water is rich in antioxidants, which scavenge reactive oxygen species, nitric oxides, hydrogen peroxides and other free radicals. Oxidative stress is one of the ways toxic substance destroy the liver, and induce carcinogenesis. In the liver, nitric oxide can bind with super-oxide to form  peroxynitrite (ONOO−).

This reaction between ONOO− and polyunsaturated fatty acid rapidly enhances lipid peroxidation, which produces  malondialdehyde. An increasing level of level of malondiadehyde leads to damage to the cell membrane, and a widespread damage can cause your tissue and organ to deteriorate. Luckily, flavonoids in okra water induce the activation of the nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2-activation response element (Nrf2-ARE).  This process then leads to the transcription of antioxidant genes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT). SOD can bind superoxide and transform it into hydrogen peroxide, while CAT transforms hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water.

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These surely make okra water a good home remedy for treating liver damages and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Okra seeds and flowers possess anticancer properties

Both the seeds and flowers of okra have been shown to possess significant anticancer activities. They exert their activity through different mechanisms such as apoptosis, cell proliferation inhibition, and vascular endothelia growth factor (VEGF) inhibition.

According to a study conducted on the seed extract of okra, a direct delivery of okra seed extract had the highest cytotoxic effect on the breast cancer cell line (MCF-7), followed by the hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) and cervical carcinoma (HeLa) cellines. This may be due to the inhibition of cell proliferation and migration through the vascular endothelia growth factor inhibition, which leads to apoptosis and cell deaths.

The anticancer activity of okra may due to the presence of flavonoids such as isoquercitrin and other bioactive compounds present in the okra pods, seeds and flowers.

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Okra water in gastritis

Another health benefit of okra water is its use in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases such as gastritis and ulcer. The lectin present in okra water protects the gastric wall from alcohol-induced acute gastric mucosal injury. It also offers protection against gastric ulcer and gastritis.

Also, the polysaccharides present in the okra fruit mucilage are known to exhibit anti-adhesive effects against bacterial adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to stomach tissue. They also prevent the binding of bacteria to its ligands.

Considering the growing number of ulcer patients, okra water, like cabbage juice, may present another alternative remedy for treating ulcer and stomach disturbances.

May relieve fatigue

Fatigue is the overall feeling of tiredness, weakness and lack of energy to do physical or mental work. Fatigue can be physical, mental or a combination of both. This feeling can be overcome by drinking okra water, or making a vegetable salad with fresh okra pod and seeds. This is because both the fresh pod and seed of okra possess antioxidant and anti-fatigue activity.

The bioactive compounds responsible for the anti-fatigue activity of fresh okra pods and seeds are yet to be characterized. This gives room for further scientific studies concerning the anti-fatigue properties. The seeds were, according to studies, shown to possess high anti-fatigue activity than the pod, which may be due to the effect of the mucilaginous polysaccharides, which may have prevented the absorb polyphenols and flavonoids.

Okra water improves heart health

One of the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases is increased plasma low density lipoprotein levels. This may lead to atherosclerosis, and eventually to myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke. Luckily, okra water possesses anti-hyperlipidemic activity, which lowers the plasma level of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides. On the other hand, okra water increases the level of HDL-cholesterol, otherwise known as the good cholesterol.

The function of HDL is to mop LDL from the arterial walls where they are likely deposited, and transport them to the gall bladder, where it is transformed to bile acids. This way, okra water keeps your heart healthy and functioning at optimum level.

Improves eyesight and skin health

Okra contains vitamin A and beta-carotenoids, which are good for improving vision. But that’s not all, it also possesses B vitamins, which are also good for the body.

The high vitamin E and vitamin C content in okra serve as strong antioxidants and protect your skin from UV damages. They also scavenge free radicals that would damage your skin cells, and give your body a youthful glow and texture.

Okra water benefits for labor?

There have been several speculations concerning the effect of okra water during labor. These speculations are directed at the mucilaginous nature of okra water. Some said it fastens child delivery during labor. However, there has not been any study to support this claim.

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Therefore, whereas okra water possesses several benefits for pregnancy, and we may encourage pregnant women to eat more soups or foods made with okra, we may not state categorically that it could be used to induce or hasten labor.

Effect of okra water on male fertility

Despite the numerous health benefits of okra water, okra has been associated with sterility in animals, and men. Some studies have claimed that excess consumption of okra may have deleterious effect on the sperm parameters, testicular weight, and tissue.

This may be due to the presence of anti-fertility compound, gossypol, present in the okra seed. Eventually, these injurious effects of excess okra may lead to low fertility or total infertility in men.

Best okra water recipe

To make a cup of okra water may be easy but time consuming. To make okra water, follow these instructions.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 healthy okra fruits
  • A cup of water
  • Ginger
  • Uziza fruits

Instructions

  • Cut off the head of the okra fruits
  • The cut each fruit into smaller slices
  • Also cut the ginger into smaller slices
  • Crush the uziza fruits (this enhances fertility)
  • Add all of them in a jar with lid
  • Pour the cup of water and shake vigorously
  • Allow to stay for 24 hours
  • Strain the pods and seed
  • Drink the okra water

Note: you may add honey after straining the seeds and sliced pods and ginger, to taste.

Conclusion

Although okra water possess such amazing health benefits, it should not be consumed in excess by the men, especially those treating infertility or hoping for a conception.

 

References

Alifah, Rizqi & Peniati, Endah & Rudyatmi, Ely & Setiati, Ning. (2020). The Effect of Giving Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) Juice on HDL Levels in the Blood Serum of Wistar Strain Rats Fed High-Fat Feed. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. 874. 012003. 10.1088/1757-899X/874/1/012003.

Tongjaroenbuangam, W., Ruksee, N., Chantiratikul, P., Pakdeenarong, N., Kongbuntad, W. and Govitrapong, P. (2011) Neuroprotective Effects of Quercetin, Rutin and Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Linn.) in Dexamethasonetreated Mice. Neurochemistry International, 59, 677-685.

Luo,  Y.,  Hong-Xin,  C., An,  J.,  Shan-Shan,  J.  and  Ke,  Y. (2018) The protective effect of the total flavonoids of Abelmoschus esculentus L. flowers on transient cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury is due to activation of the Nrf2-ARE pathway. Oxid. Med. Cell. Longev.,  2018: Article  ID 8987173

Chaemsawang, Watcharaphong & Prasongchean, Weerapong & Papadopoulos, Konstantinos & Ritthidej, Garnpimol & Sukrong, Suchada & Wattanaarsakit, Phanphen. (2019). The Effect of Okra ( Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) Seed Extract on Human Cancer Cell Lines Delivered in Its Native Form and Loaded in Polymeric Micelles. International Journal of Biomaterials. 2019. 1-13. 10.1155/2019/9404383.

Ja’afar Bello, H., Yusif Maigoro, A., Hassan Dalhat, M., Muhammad Sheshe, S., Muhammad Labbo, A., Abdulrahman, J., & Muazu, A. (2018). Antifertility Effect of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) in Men. Asian Journal of Research in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2(4), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.9734/AJRIMPS/2017/38671.

Fekadu Gemede, Habtamu & Retta, Negussie & Desse Haki, Gulelat & Woldegiorgis, Ashagrie & Beyene, Fekadu. (2015). Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of “Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus): A Review. J. Food Process Technol.. 25. 16-25. 10.11648/j.ijnfs.20150402.22.

Durazzo, A., Lucarini, M., Novellino, E., Souto, E. B., Daliu, P., & Santini, A. (2018). Abelmoschus esculentus (L.): Bioactive Components’ Beneficial Properties-Focused on Antidiabetic Role-For Sustainable Health Applications. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)24(1), 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24010038

Sanjeet K., Sokona D., Adamou H., Alain R., Dov P., & Christophe, K. (2010). “Okra” (Abelmoschus spp.) in West and Central Africa: Potential and progress on its improvement. African Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(25), pp. 3590- 3598.

Fekadu Gemede, Habtamu & Retta, Negussie & Desse Haki, Gulelat & Woldegiorgis, Ashagrie & Beyene, Fekadu. (2015). Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of “Okra” (Abelmoschus esculentus): A Review. J. Food Process Technol.. 25. 16-25. 10.11648/j.ijnfs.20150402.22.

 

 

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