THE Health Benefits Okra
A research abstract to determine the benefits of okra.
Vegetable production in Ghana has been conducted on small and domestic scale both in the dry and rainy season. Its production in the country has a great potential of increasing income and improving the living standard of the rural farmers. Vegetables can be produced in the backyard and sold to generate income to purchase grains for consumption as well as house hold needs and for the education of wards. The vegetables mostly grown all over the country are mainly tomato, okra, pepper, onion and leafy vegetables. These are mainly used for cooking, medicinal purposes and also impact a glutinous consistency of soups (Schippers, 2000).
World production of Okra as a fresh fruit vegetable was estimated at 6million tons per year (Schipper, 2000). Okra is an annual tall, erect plant with hairy stems and woody tissues when matured. Some cultivars can grow up to 2m; the leaves are hairy with long stalks. In Ghana different varieties of okra are grown, some of which include, clempson spineless, emerald and several local such as “Manpiela” (Schippers, 2000). The part of the plant primarily use is the soft immature fruit called pod.
Okra has numerous uses; the pod is used in the preparation of soup sauces and stew though it can be fried or boiled before eating (Norman 1992). The pods could also be cut into pieces, dried and pounded into powder for soups. In Northern Ghana, leaves are also used for soups and seeds serve as source of oil which constitutes about 20% of its content (Schippers, 2000). According to Kochar (1981) the stems of okra and mature pods produce fibre used in paper and textile production.
Schippers (2000) recorded that okra is used as a source of gum and its fibres were traditionally used to make ropes and the ground pulps of the stem used as stabilizer when brewing ‘pito’ bear in Northern Ghana. Rai and Yadav (2005) reported that eating fresh raw okra on an empty stomach every morning nourishes the body and increase semen content and also serve as an excellent source of iodine.