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What are the health benefits of using okra?

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Quick Answer

Okra provides several key nutritional benefits, including high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber, which aid digestion and regulate blood pressure; it also has potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B6 and folic acid. Okra contains a large amount of soluble fiber, which lowers levels of "bad" cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. It also contains large amounts of insoluble fiber, which keeps the digestive tract running smoothly and may reduce the risk of developing some cancer, such as colorectal cancer, say experts at the University of Illinois.

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Full Answer

Okra goes by several common names throughout the United States, including gumbo. It is a green vegetable that resembles the jalapeno pepper thanks to a waxy outer coat and white star-shaped interior sac with seeds. Okra makes a popular vegetable eaten fresh or frozen. In the southern United States, it is a main ingredient in gumbo, which is a seafood stew. It also adds flavor and nutrition to dishes with tomatoes, onions and shellfish.

In addition to a high fiber content, this versatile vegetable has high amounts of potassium, which is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the cardiovascular system by regulating heart rate. It also facilitates muscle movement and coordination, helps the kidneys function properly and circulates blood through the body, say experts at WebMD.

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