By Tilman Nathaniel, Founder of Superfood Box
My favorite dried vegetable has to be Okra. Okra seeds contain very high concentrations of linoleic acid – "up to 47.4%" according to a review in the Global Journal of Medical Research. Linoleic acid is an omega-6 essential fatty acid. A Harvard University publication Nutrition Source, interviewed Maryam Farvid, a visiting scientist and Takemi fellow in the Department of Nutrition. Her research showed that swapping saturated fat and carbs for linoleic acid – the main polyunsaturated fat found in vegetable oil, nuts, and seeds – lowers risk of coronary heart disease. Farvid's data supported the American Heart Association's recommendation of consuming a diet with 5-10% of energy intake coming from linoleic acid, or 100-200 calories in a 2000 calorie diet.
A review published in the Pakistan Journal of Food Sciences in 2015 offers a great summary of the nutritional value of Okra:
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.
Ready to take your nutrition to the next level? Try some delicious, dried okra here or add it as part of your care package here!
Fekadu Gemede, Negussie Ratta, Gulelat Desse Haki, Ashagrie Z. Woldegiorgis, Fekadu Bey, Habtamu. " Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Okra (Abelmoschus Esculentus): A Review." Global Journal of Medical Research [Online], (0): n. pag. Web. 8 Aug. 2017
Farvid MS, Ding M, Pan A, Sun Q, Chiuve SE, Steffen LM, Willett WC, Hu FB. Dietary Linoleic Acid and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Circulation. 2014
Gemede, Habtamu Fekadu, et al. "Nutritional quality and health benefits of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus): a review." J Food Process Techno 25 (2015): 16-25.