The Health Benefits of Okra


By Contributor Stephanie Young

Okra is a versatile, tasty nutritional powerhouse

Ever since I started gardening two years ago, I have become completely enamored with okra. Yes, okra. Strange, I know.

I’d eaten it fried and stewed in South Carolina, but never fully embraced it until I grew it myself here in Kansas.

Since then I have eaten it raw, fried it, stewed it with peppers, squash, onions and tomatoes, sautéed it in olive oil, pickled it and put it in gumbo. I’ve seen the hearty plants flourish when others died from drought, heat, hail or cold. It has beautiful pale flowers and is just an all-around wonderful thing to grow. Even my picky 8-year-old has tried it willingly!

Turns out, it’s also really good for you.

I recently did a little research and here’s what I learned:

  • According to, okra is low in calories and high in calcium, fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, vitamins A, B6, C, and zinc.
  • The Kansas City Star reports okra helps maintain blood sugar levels, regulate the body’s absorption in the small intestine, has probiotics, and both insoluble and soluble fiber.
  • Okra, in the same family as hibiscus, can get to 6 feet tall, according to an article at the University of Illinois Extension. It is also high in folic acid.
  • In this Florida Times Union article, a nutrition professor addresses myths and facts, including nutritional benefits, cooking, preparation and storage.
  • Wikipedia reports okra is also related to cotton and cocoa, and dubs it “among the most heat- and drought-tolerant vegetable species in the world.” It is also high in antioxidants.
  • According to health website, okra is low-energy-dense and can help with weight loss or maintenance. It also helps lower cholesterol and reduces risk of heart disease.
  • touts okra as a low glycemic index food, helpful to diabetics.
  • In 2011, the New York Time posted this roasted okra recipe by Martha Rose Shulman, author of “The Very Best Recipes for Health.”

Cut and ready to freeze!

If you’ve never tried okra, give it a chance! If you think you don’t like it, give it a second chance! It’s so versatile, with a little experimenting, I’ll bet you can find a way of cooking it that you enjoy.

Stephanie Young lives in a small Kansas town where she raises her 8-year-old boy, works with her husband in the family business and writes the blog, From the Burbs to the Boonies.

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

41 responses to “The Health Benefits of Okra”

  1. Awesome!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to getting some Okra next time I go grocery shopping!

  3. I have not tried okra, I will look for it and give it a go.

  4. I admit it, I hate this vegetable. I can’t even eat them in currys – which is where I was introduced to them

  5. I love okra! It takes a bit of getting used to, but if it’s cooked properly, it’s delicious!

  6. Wow, wonder if I can grow it in northern Ontario. I am going to try.

  7. i have not tried or heard of Okra but ill definitely keep my eyes out for it !

  8. I’ve never heard of Okra before but I definitely want to try it.

  9. Yes, i agree with this! I used to hate okra as a kid but now I absolutely love it.

  10. I love OKRA ! Especially in a nice Gumbo. Amazing how good it is for you. Did not know that.

  11. never ever tried it, think I’m to scared to try lol

  12. it’s like the miracle veggie

  13. Bursting with greens means bursting with vitamis

  14. My mom uses okra to make an Indian dish, tastes lovely dipped in plain yogurt!

  15. Definitely going to try this more often

  16. I’ve never tried Okra, nor have I even read about it, so thanks for the great read, very informative! Next time I do a stew, I’ll have to throw in some Okra to try out.

  17. This is the first time I’ve seen a post on okra… Personally, there are only two ways I will eat it (in a Jambalaya or a dry Indian curry recipe) and am not a fan, but I appreciate all the information above! Thanks!

  18. I’ve always loved Okra!

  19. I love veggies, but I’ve never tried okra. Come to think of it, I don’t even think I’ve seen it in the stores here, but I’ll have to make a point of looking!

  20. have tried ti, didn’t like it.

  21. I always use it when making soup

  22. I have never tried Okra, but have seen it in the supermarket. I think it’s time to get adventurous and give it a try.

  23. I was impressed with all the health benefits of eating okra.I really like that it helps with lowering cholesterol and heart disease.This was an awesome article to read.Thanks for posting it.

  24. I have never tried cooking with Okra before, but after reading this I will have to give it a try!

  25. I like okra. We usually just cook it and drizzle some oyster sauce.

  26. Well ya got me curious about Okra… I’ll have to toss some into whatever I’m cooking to see how it goes.

  27. have never tried Okra…will look for it next shopping day

  28. My grandmother would put this in all her soups and stews

  29. My husband’s grandmother made us stewed okra and I was hooked! We love it!

  30. I’ve never had these before but I love how healthy they are! I mean, just the fact that it helps maintain blood sugar levels is very intriguing because I have relatives with sugar issues.

  31. Thanks I never knew they were so healthy

  32. I’ve never tried okra and I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen it in store. Every time I’ve seen it on cooking shows it looks slimy 🙁 Might have to keep an eye out if it is really healthy for you.

  33. Still not seen these in store in my area

  34. Still not available in my area but I asked the manager if many they could bring some in for people to try,said he will try

  35. I’ve never tried Okra, what does it taste like? Zucchini? I like to have veggies in my garden that are easy to grow, so maybe I should pick up some Okra and see if we would like it.

  36. On the weekend is the first time |I have seen okra in the store here

  37. I tried it in soup over the weekend,thanks

  38. It has to grow on you,took a bit to get a taste for it

  39. I’ve never tried okra but I have seen it in the stores and my son sometimes uses it when he cooks.

  40. years ago this was a staple but I don’t see it being used much now

  41. We always have Okra when we are in Florida but I haven’t seen it in the grocery stores here. I will have to check the next time I go shopping.

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