Can you eat raw okra? 

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you eat raw okra?”, the benefits and harms of eating it raw and the nutrients in them.

Yes, you can eat raw okra. The entire okra plant is edible and can be consumed raw, but the seed pods are slimy and have a characteristic mucilage layer on them which can be neutralized by cooking it with acidic foods like tomatoes.

The leaves of okra are eaten raw in a salad or cooked like other vegetables, and their seeds could be roasted and ground to use as a substitute for caffeine-free coffee.

Okra has more health benefits when eaten raw. Cooking or frying okra will make it less slimy, but it will significantly reduce the level of nutrients in them. It is high in dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K.

The mucilage in okra is good for you. It’s high in fiber and greatly helps digestion. It is said to contain hormones that can increase libido.

What is the nutritional profile of raw okra?

Raw okra is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals. There is a significant amount of dietary fibers, vitamin C, and vitamin K in 100 grams of raw okra. 

Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is required by the body through external sources; okra is an excellent source of this vitamin.

These slimy pods are rich in nutrients, yet their calorie count is low. Just around 30 calories in 100 grams of okra pods and have virtually no fats and cholesterol.

A 100 grams of okra contains:

33 calories

7g carbohydrate

2g protein

0g fat

3g fiber

7mg sodium

23mg vitamin C

82mg calcium

Other nutrients found in okra:

Magnesium

Folate

Vitamin B6

Vitamin K

What are the benefits of eating raw okra?

Okra is not a common vegetable in American households, but its benefits are far more exceeding to overlook it. 

It’s rich in antioxidants and minerals that can benefit health in various ways. Regularly integrating this vegetable into your diet will bring several benefits.

Improves heart health

Mucilage found in okra is advantageous to heart health in a way that it reduces cholesterol absorption. Cholesterol gets excreted by the body when mucilage binds to it.

Another benefit is that okra is rich in fiber. High fiber diets have positive effects on heart health.

Polyphenols found in okra are associated with lowering inflammatory substances that can negatively affect heart functioning.

Anticancer properties

Lectins are proteins that are known for their tumor inhibiting properties. They are extensively studied for their benefits in preventing various cancers.

Okra is rich in these proteins. However, studies are being performed for further evidence.

Beneficial in pregnancy

Fresh pods of okra are a very good source of folate (Vitamin B9). It is an essential nutrient for pregnant women because it is important for preventing fetal problems. Low levels of folate can have fetus related complications.

Okra fulfills 15% of the daily needs of pregnant women.

Lowers sugar level

Studies have shown that okra might help in lowering blood sugar levels by hindering glucose absorption. Research Is being carried out for its further benefits in diabetic patients.

However, okra has been shown to interfere with a medication used to control blood sugar levels, metformin. So, caution must be practiced in diabetic patients who are using this medication.

Therapeutic usage

Oil can be extracted from dried seeds of okra, which is rich in nutrients. This oil is mostly used in countries that cannot produce other oils.

Its leaves are also used to prepare a medication that helps in mitigating inflammation.

Rich in vitamins

Okra is rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin K and C. These are all essential for maintaining good health. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that aids in iron absorption and vitamin K helps in forming blood clots.

How to add okra to your diet?

  • In a salad with other vegetables; okra leaves are perfect for a salad
  • Roasted okra pods with olive oil and black peppers
  • Fried with garlic
  • Okra stew with different spices

What are the forms of okra?

Wet okra:

Cooking okra under low heat releases mucilage. This slimy substance is good for the digestive system. This gives it a thick gummy appearance.

Dried okra:

By cooking okra pods with a bit of lemon juice, the mucus of okra can be reduced. This is a way around for people who do not prefer gummy okra; however, it is not ideal to do so.

What are the risks associated with eating okra? 

There are a few minor risks of eating okra. Precaution should be taken in consuming large quantities of any kind of food as it can have adverse effects. 

Okra poses no serious risks but may cause gastric disturbances owing to the presence of fructans in it.

Moreover, some people may experience inflammation due to solanine found in okra. Solanine can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question “can you eat raw okra?”, along with the benefits and harms of eating it raw and the nutrients in them.

References

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/vegetabletravelers/okra.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977#nutritional-content
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/okra-health-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.