July 13, 2009, 5:29pm
Aside from celebrating Nutrition month this July, we also celebrate diabetes awareness week. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that there are around 171 million people worldwide who suffer from this illness. For the year 2030, WHO has further estimated that, worldwide, diabetes could afflict 360 million people, 1/3 of which may come from the Southeast Asia Region. In the Philippines alone, people with diabetes can reach an estimated number of 7.7 million.
While diabetes can be hereditary, a type of diabetes called Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with active lifestyle and proper diet. But for most adults, having an active lifestyle and maintaining proper diet is really very difficult. This is because of the ever increasing time of inactivity among adults. On a conservative estimate, an adult can have at least 18 hours of inactive periods in a day. Well, it’s so easy to say: “then, there’s still six hours a day to be active”, but not most offices have their mini gymnasium for their employees, and in this time of crisis, to spend for gym memberships wouldn’t be that easy to include in the family budget. Oh yes, a walk in the city’s park or open-to-public university campuses would be an option where to walk, run, bike or play, but not too many could really have this done. With many people becoming inactive, we can really come close to the estimated number diabetics in our country alone. We should really exert effort to make our bodies physically active as it can be.
As always mentioned, having a high-fiber diet is another means to prevent diabetes. For you to have more idea as to what fiber your purchased products contain, here are different types of fibers that you can look for from the label’s ingredient lines:
Cellulose, a principal component of the cell wall of most plants and is therefore present in fruits, vegetables and cereals. Much of the fiber in cereal bran is cellulose. Cellulose forms about one quarter of the dietary fibre in grains and fruit and one third in vegetables and nuts.
Hemicellulose/s are polysaccharides that contain sugars other than glucose, and are associated with cellulose in plant cell walls. Approximately one third of the dietary fibre in vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts consist of hemicelluloses.
Pectin. Although fruits contain the most pectin, they also represent 15 to 20 percent of the dietary fibre in vegetables, legumes and nuts.
Beta Glucan, a major component of the cell wall material in oats and barley grains but are present in only small quantities in wheat.
Resistant Starch. Legumes are one of the main sources of resistant starch (RS1) as they have thick cell walls that make the starch inaccessible to enzymes. The cooking and processing of foods can disrupt cell walls, making the starch more available for digestion. Banana is a major source of another type of resistant starch (RS2) in the human diet; but as the banana ripens the amount of resistant decreases.
Non-digestible Oligosaccharides in general are highly fermentable while some have so-called prebiotic properties. Onions, chicory and Jerusalem artichokes are the major dietary sources of naturally occurring fructans, from which inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides are obtained.
The more types of fiber that you see on your food’s label, the better it could be for you for type 2 diabetes prevention and management.
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By Angel S. Respicio, Jr. MD Updated May 19, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – There’s so much emphasis on the positive role of soy in preventing osteoporosis. Soy was hailed as the wonder food ever since soy lobbyists successfully persuaded the USFDA to approve it in 1999. Taking their cue, the American Heart Association fell to the soy industry’s ploy in 2000 despite concerns from Dr. Francis Crinella, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and Kaayla T. Daniel PhD.
According Dr. Francis Crinella at the University of California, the soybean plant lifts up manganese in the soil and concentrates it, creating levels of manganese in soy formulas that are 200 times the level found in breast milk. A newborn cannot excrete this extreme manganese load, creating high manganese levels in the blood, liver, kidneys, and other soft tissues of the body, including the brain. Manganese overload has been implicated in cases of brain damage and movement disorders.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, on the other hand, notes in his newsletter that soy formulas contain high levels of aluminum (1,000 percent higher than cow’s milk formulas) and the phytoestrogen substance isoflavones. He says that a soy-fed baby receives the equivalent of five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day. These babies’ isoflavone levels were found to be from 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than in non-soy-fed infants. Early onset of puberty in girls and abnormal development of testes in boys have been linked to this unnatural surge of hormones in early life.
Some health practitioners advise us to avoid meat and eat tofu for better bone health, but Kaayla Daniel, PhD thinks otherwise. In her absorbing article “Soy and Osteoporosis: Not a Leg to Stand On,” she busts the myths head on.
Soy as the all-natural solution for osteoporosis? The latest ploy of the soy industry is to fan women’s fears about bone loss and distract them from recent news that soy does not prevent heart disease, and that it worsens cardiomyopathy, impairs fertility, and may increase breast cancer risk.
Consumers who bone up on the issue, however, will find that the research is inconsistent and contradictory at best, and that soy truly does not have a leg to stand on. A recent study that the industry has chosen not to promote came out of Yale New Haven Hospital in July and compared calcium bioavailability in women eating soy versus those eating meat. The researchers concluded in the Journal of Nutrition, “These data indicate that when soy protein is substituted for meat protein, there is an acute decline in dietary calcium bioavailability.”
This finding explodes a myth widely propagated by vegetarians, namely that meat and eggs cause a loss of calcium, leading the body to strip calcium from storage in the bones, ultimately resulting in osteopenia or osteoporosis.
The study most often cited to justify this claim came out in 1988 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Those who got their protein from animal products lost 50 percent more calcium from their bodies than did those who had only soy protein. The researchers concluded, “The inability to compensate for the animal protein-induced calciuric response (meaning calcium in the urine) may be a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis.”
What is never mentioned in this study is that the 15 subjects spent a grand total of 12 days testing each type of food. This was just enough time for their bodies to react to unexpectedly high levels of sulfur proteins, but not enough time for the body to normalize and handle the sulfur load. Calcium homeostasis is normally well regulated so that increased calcium loss through the urine results in increased calcium absorption from the gut. This adaptive process may fail to occur during short-term studies but the human body is more than capable of adjusting to the sulfur load of real foods, given a proper time frame.
The evidence that soy isoflavone supplements stem bone loss was based on the results of bone density tests. These tests measure bone quantity but not quality, and fail to acknowledge that thin bones can be strong, flexible, and healthy while thick bones can be brittle and friable. If soy isoflavones, in fact, stop bone resorption, the result could be chalky big bones that crumble. This is exactly what’s happening with some women whose bone mass has been “preserved” with drugs like Fosamax.
Notably, people and animals fed real food have not experienced the same problems, so cutting back on sulfur-rich foods is not the solution to osteoporosis.
Malnutrition in Children
Evidence that soy milk does not promote healthy bone growth in children has even begun to appear in the mainstream press. A May 8, 2006 Newsweek article entitled “Does Milk Hurt Kids?” warned readers that children given rice and soy-based milk substitutes were showing rickets and other signs of malnutrition once found almost exclusively among the famished in third world countries. Soy milk, of course, contains phytates, which block the proper absorption of calcium, zinc, and other minerals needed for proper bone growth.
Although calcium supplements are added to soy milk to compensate for theft by phytates, the cheap powders are hard to absorb or not swallowed at all because of the powder’s tendency to either clump at the bottom or stick to the walls of the container.
Commercial soy milk also contains vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), the ineffective vegetarian form of vitamin D that offers few of the benefits of true vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and has been linked to hyperactivity, coronary heart disease, and allergic reactions. Even the cheapest dairy milk sold in supermarkets uses vitamin D3, but soy milk manufacturers use D2, the only form accepted by soymilk-swigging vegans.
Dr. Daniel reminds us that soy milk is high in sugar, a well-known bone hazard. Most brands add between one teaspoon and one tablespoon per glass.
On January 17, 2006, the American Heart Association has had enough and withdrew their support for soy and soy-based products. The health claims from the soybean-funded studies were actually exaggerated and false.
D Bare Facts
Now, to make that calcium prevent osteoporosis, you need vitamin D. Let me clear a misinformation. The sun is not a source of vitamin D, it will never be! It only activates the “inactive” form of vitamin D which is found under the skin. The best time to maximize the activating power of the sunlight is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Avoid taking a bath in your house or soaking in chlorinated pools for at least an hour for the sun-activated vitamin D to be absorbed properly. Vitamin D occurs naturally in fatty fish, cod liver oil, liver, animal fat, and egg yolk. It is also synthesized (manufactured) by the body from cholesterol. Egg yolk, therefore, should be consumed regularly and if you have concerns with stroke, fear no more. Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff of the Harvard Health Letter assured us when he said, “People who eat an egg a day are no more likely to have heart disease than those who eat eggs less than once a week.”
By the way, vitamin D can only be absorbed in the gut in the presence of fat. If you are taking vitamin D supplements without the required fat, you are just putting that essential vitamin down the drain. Did you ever wonder why skim milk, low-fat milk, and fat-free milk, even if fortified with calcium and vitamin D, do not benefit your bones if at all?
View previous articles from this author.
WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit Updated May 12, 2009 12:00 AM
A reader asked in relation to our last feature on night cramps, “Which foods are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium? I’m always on the go and usually have to eat out?”
Cramps on the legs and feet at night are due to several factors, primary of which is dehydration (easily remedied by drinking eight glasses of pure and clean water daily), followed by deficiency in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Her question led me to a very helpful site — http://www.whfoods.com developed by author George Mateljan of Cooking Without Fat fame.
Voted best in 2004 of the Web’s Greatest Hits, this site has a list of the most wholesome foods that should be eaten every day. There is also a food advisor facility, as well as quick and easy healthy cooking techniques.
Top Ten Sources
Armed with three lists from the site of the world’s healthiest foods ranking quality sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, we tabulated the results for the 10 top sources for all three nutrients:
• Spinach should not only be Popeye’s favorite source of strength but ours, too. because it tops the list as an excellent source of all three macrominerals — potassium, calcium, and magnesium! One cup of boiled spinach, which is only 41 calories, provides 839 mg. of potassium, 157 mg. of magnesium, and 245 mg. of calcium.
• Swiss chard is next best, ranked as an excellent source for potassium and magnesium and a very good source for calcium. A cup of boiled Swiss chard is only 35 calories and provides 151 mg. of magnesium, 961 mg. of potassium, and 102 mg. of calcium.
• Cooked green turnips is an excellent source of calcium and a very good source of potassium and magnesium. One cup, only 29 calories, provides 197 mg. of calcium, 292 mg. of potassium, and 32 mg. of magnesium. A cup of boiled green mustard, only 21 calories, is a source of 104 mg. of calcium, 283 mg. of potassium, and 21 mg. of magnesium.
• Boiled collard greens provide 494 mg. of potassium, 32 mg. of magnesium, and 226 mg. of calcium for a cup (49 calories). Blackstrap molasses yield 118 mg. of calcium, 29 mg. of magnesium, and 341 mg. of potassium for a serving of two teaspoons (32 calories).
• The more readily available broccoli and basil join the elite list as seventh and eighth best sources, respectively. A cup of steamed broccoli, only 44 calories, has 505 mg. of potassium, 39 mg. of magnesium, and 75 mg. of calcium. While a serving of two teaspoons of dried ground basil, only eight calories, provides 63 mg. of calcium, 13 mg. of magnesium, and 103 mg. of potassium.
• Completing the list of 10 are kale and brussel sprouts. A cup of boiled kale, only 36 calories, is a source for 296 mg. of potassium, 23 mg. of magnesium and 94 mg. of calcium. While a cup of boiled brussel sprouts, 61 calories, provides 56 mg. of calcium, 31 mg. of magnesium, and 495 mg. of potassium.
To clarify, the question was for a single food source for all three macrominerals. Incidentally, the 2004 advisory of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, according to the website, lists the adequate intake for these macrominerals for women 19 to 50 years of age as 4.7 grams of potassium, 1000 mg. of calcium, and 360 mg. of magnesium.
Each Nutrient Up Close
All three nutrients under study — magnesium, potassium, and calcium — are macrominerals, meaning our food must provide us with hundreds of milligrams of these minerals every day.
Magnesium is dubbed a “smoothie” mineral since it has the ability to relax our muscles. The nerves also depend upon magnesium to avoid becoming overexcited. Muscle weakness, tremor or spasm, imbalanced blood sugar levels, headaches as well as elevated blood pressure may indicate the need for more high-magnesium foods.
The World’s Healthiest Foods rich in magnesium rated boiled spinach and Swiss chard as best sources as already explained above. Other foods that belong to the top 10 sources include raw pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup at 187 calories provides 45 percent of daily value required) and baked or broiled halibut (four ounces at 159 calories provides 35 percent of the daily value required). Other great sources are cooked soybeans, chinook salmon, raw sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cooked black beans, and navy beans.
While there is no limit set on magnesium intake through food sources, a limit of 350 mg. has been set for dietary supplements. Toxicity symptoms for high levels of magnesium intake through supplementation include diarrhea, drowsiness, and a sense of weakness.
Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the body’s nerve and muscle tone. Frequent bone fractures, muscle pain or spasms, tingling or numbness of feet, bone deformities, and growth retardation in children indicate a need for more high-calcium foods.
While spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and blackstrap mollasses have already been included not only as excellent sources of calcium but magnesium and potassium as well, others that made the top 10 sources of calcium are low-fat yogurt (one cup at 155 calories provides 45 percent of the daily requirement) and sesame seeds (1/4 cup at 206 calories provides 35 percent of the daily requirement). Other good sources are goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and mozzarella cheese.
Muscle weakness, confusion, irritability, fatigue, heart problems, chronic diarrhea, regular intense exercise, and the use of diuretics increase the need for high-potassium foods. The top 10 sources listed by World’s Healthiest Foods do not include potassium-rich banana. Why? Because the sources are ranked based not only on the percentage value of the daily requirement served but also in terms of calories. One banana, 109 calories, provides only 13 percent of the daily requirement of potassium. Providing 25 percent or more of the daily requirement are one cup boiled Swiss chard (35 calories), one cup cooked lima beans (216 calories), one cup cooked and diced yam (158 calories), one cup baked and diced winter squash (80 calories), one cup cooked soybeans (298 calories), and one cup avocado slices (235 calories).
Four more almost made the mark, namely boiled spinach, cooked pinto beans, papaya, and cooked lentils.
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Q: Is it true that vetsin has a lot of adverse effects on health? How does vetsin enhance the flavor of food?
General Santos City
A: Vetsin is the popular Filipino term for monosodium glutamate or MSG, the salt form of glutamic acid. It has been widely used for centuries as a flavor enhancer in Asian cooking, but only recently has an acceptable explanation for its flavor enhancement effect been postulated.
For a long time, the scientific world thought that the taste buds (the receptors for taste that are in the tongue and some other structures in the mouth) are capable of detecting four basic tastes only—sweet, sour, salty, and bitter—and that all other tastes are merely combinations of these basic tastes. Lately, however, many experts have conceded that there is probably a fifth basic taste called umami that our taste buds are sensitive to.
Umami is a Japanese term which roughly means tasty. It is the naturally occurring savory taste that is present in many food items such as meats, cheese, tomatoes and many other foods that contain some amount of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid stimulates the umami taste receptors in much the same way as sugar stimulates the sweet taste receptors. Thus, the more glutamate there is in food, the more flavorful the food is and consequently, seasoning food with MSG enhances the flavor of food.
Does MSG have adverse effects on health? MSG has been blamed for what is known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” This condition that occurs in some people shortly after eating in Chinese restaurants exhibit symptoms including burning sensation at the back of the neck forearms and chest; numbness at the back of the neck that radiates to the arms and back; facial pressure or tightness; chest pain; headache; nausea; palpitation; tingling sensation, warmth, and weakness of the face, upper back, neck, and arms; drowsiness; weakness; and, for asthmatics, an asthma attack. In most instances, the symptoms appear 15-60 minutes after eating. However, without exception, the symptoms are temporary and self-limiting, subsiding spontaneously after a few minutes to several hours. There has been no report of death or prolonged illness that followed these symptoms.
Curiously, however, most foolproof studies that have been conducted on MSG have failed to demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between MSG and the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” Some experts say the syndrome is not really a distinct medical entity but simply a collection of anecdotes that describes a variety of postprandial illnesses. Other experts say that “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,” at least in some instances, is a manifestation of allergy or hypersensitivity to MSG.
At any rate, the existing consensus among experts is that, at current level of use, MSG poses no hazard to health. Hence, there has been no attempt by any government to restrict the use and sale of this age-old food flavor-enhancer. Even the U.S. Food and Drug administration states that MSG is generally safe, but it acknowledges that the seasoning may pose problems for certain individuals like asthmatics and those people who can tolerate small, but not large, amounts of MSG.
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When we were growing up, we ate eggs, usually for breakfast, because they tasted good, contained protein and other nutrients and could be prepared in a variety of fun ways. Then in the 90s came the dire news that our beloved eggs contained large amounts of cholesterol which increased the cholesterol levels in the blood.
Although we missed them, we started eating less eggs, limiting our consumption to the acceptable three per week. If we wanted the low-fat, low-calorie protein from eggs, we ate only egg whites, which did taste good but were nowhere near as delicous as eggs with good old-fashioned yolk. Egg substitutes, containing mainly egg whites, became popular for low-cholesterol diets as they contained zero cholesterol compared to regular yolks which pack 250mg of cholesterol.
After several years of this, information started popping up about how the cholesterol in eggs apparently wasn’t quite the death sentence they thought it was and eggs have regained their rightful place at the table. How did the change of heart come about?
Although it’s still true that eggs and particularly yolks, are rich in cholesterol, there are two bits of information that make this not such a bad thing. One is that two-thirds of the fat found in eggs is the healthy, unsaturated kind of fat. The other is that there are no trans-fatty acids in eggs. Trans fatty acids are bad for your heart because they increase total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol (bad) levels and reduce HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
And eggs have even more benefits! The fat that the egg does contain is a good source of vitamin A, E and K. Eggs yolks are also one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which is the wonder vitamin people are beginning to have a lot to say about. Other hard to get nutrients are also found in eggs – iron, folate and vitamin B12. The protein in egg white is considered an ideal protein, containing all the amino acids in the right amounts that your body needs.
Another important nutrient found in egg is choline. The established recommended intake for choline is 550mg for men, 425mg for women and 450mg for pregnant women. One large egg contains 125mg of choline. A study in 2008 at the University of North Carolina suggests that women who consumed more choline had a reduced risk of breast cancer. Three thousand women were studied and it was concluded that those who had the highest intake of choline had a 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. Other studies have shown the same findings.
However, there are cautions that should be considered. Researchers conclude that while egg consumption in middle-aged men of up to 6 eggs a week is not associated with risk, consumption of seven or more is assocated with a 23 percent greater risk of death. Men who already had diabetes died sooner if they ate any eggs at all. Researchers suggest further study is needed, because the men in these studies who ate the most eggs were also older, fatter and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise. Further studies will be undertaken, but in the meantime, caution is urged for middle-aged men.
Remember though, that it’s not only the egg that you eat that’s important. It’s how it’s cooked and what you eat it with! An egg fried in oil or butter with garlic fried rice and sausages is multiplying the calories, fat, and cholesterol in the egg by a whopping amount! There exists too large a variety of ways to prepare eggs to have it the same, artery-clogging way forever.
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Studies by competent multi-degreed scientists have shown beyond any reasonable doubt that consuming garlic generally has the following physical effects:
- Garlic lowers blood pressure a little. (9% to 15 % with one or two medium cloves per day.)
- Garlic lowers LDL Cholesterol a little. (9% to 15 % with one or two medium cloves per day.)
- Garlic helps reduce atherosclerotic buildup (plaque) within the arterial system. One recent study shows this effect to be greater in women than men.
- Garlic lowers or helps to regulate blood sugar.
- Garlic helps to prevent blood clots from forming, thus reducing the possibility of strokes and thromboses (Hemophiliacs shouldn’t use garlic.)
- Garlic helps to prevent cancer, especially of the digestive system, prevents certain tumors from growing larger and reduces the size of certain tumors.
- Garlic may help to remove heavy metals such as lead and mercury from the body.
- Raw Garlic is a potent natural antibiotic that works differently than modern antibiotics and kills some strains of bacteria, like staph, that have become immune or resistant to modern antibiotics.
- Garlic has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
- Garlic dramatically reduces yeast infections due to Candida species.
- Garlic has anti-oxidant properties and is a source of selenium.
- Eating garlic gives the consumer an enhanced sense of well being – it makes you feel good just eating it.
- Garlic probably has other benefits as well.
Excerpts from Health Benefits and Medical Emergency Uses of Garlic
The world’s most beautiful women, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra in their diets according to the history record.
When we visited the world’s most productive land of okra, Kami rural area in Kowchi Prefecture, Japan, young and old are all in smile and look very healthy. When we asked the secret of their beautiful smile and good health in that area, their answers were great grace of okra.
The history of okra seems to be very old and it was cultivated in Egypt before the time of Cleopatra. The okra plant spread to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade. During WWII, the shortage of coffee beans made them use okra seeds as a substitute for coffee. This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra’s popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.
Okra contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. It also contains starch, fat, ash, thiamine and riboflavin. No wonder, Cleopatra and Yang Guifei maintained their beauties. Probably, you want to know more specifically. Here it is:
|For 1/2 cup sliced, cooked okra||For 1 cup raw okra|
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1.52 grams
Carbohydrates 5.76 grams
Vitamin A 460 IU
Vitamin C 13.04 mg
Folic acid 36.5 micrograms
Calcium 50.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Potassium 256.6 mg
Magnesium 46 mg
Total Fat: 0.1g
Vitamin A 660 IU
Vitamin C 21mg
BENEFITS OF OKRA
- The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
Okra’s mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
- Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic.
- Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most unlike the OTC drugs.
- Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
- Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
- Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel.
- Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
- Okra is good for summer heat treatment. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
- Okra is good for constipation.
- Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
- Okra is good for asthma. Okra’s vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
- Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
- Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
- Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
- Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
- Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
- There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.