Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus): A ReviewHabtamu Fekadu Gemede1, 4*, Negussie Ratta2, Gulelat Desse Haki3, Ashagrie Z Woldegiorgis4and Fekadu Beyene1
- *Corresponding Author:
- Habtamu Fekadu Gemede
Department of Food Technology and Process Engineering
Wollega University, P.O.Box: 395
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: November 26, 2015; Accepted date: May 01, 2015; Published date: May 08, 2015
Citation: Gemede HF, Ratta N, Haki GD, Woldegiorgis AZ, Beyene F (2015) Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus): A Review. J Food Process Technol 6:458. doi:10.4172/2157-7110.1000458
Copyright: © 2015 Gemede HF, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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 plays 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.