Okra is a vegetable that has been used for centuries and belongs to the mallow family. Okra can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable or used in salads, soups, and curries. It might seem like a question out of the left field, but you might be wondering if okra seeds are safe to eat. So we’re going to answer that question for you today!
What are okra seeds?
Okra seeds are small, dark red or brown seed pods that form on the inside of an okra fruit after it has matured. They resemble grapes but are more elongated in shape and usually contain two to four seeds. The seeds are harvested from the pod and used as a spice or seasoning. Okra seeds are also known as “lady’s fingers” or “gumbo.”
Are okra seeds safe to eat?
Yes, okra seeds are safe to eat. Many cultures have been cooking with and eating the seeds of the vegetable for thousands of years. Okra seeds may be ground up and used in powder form or consumed whole and cooked with meats and vegetables.
Okra seed oil is also produced by pressing okra seeds. It can be added to dishes as a way to boost the nutritional value.
In fact, okra seeds are one of the only vegetable sources of protein. Most vegans and vegetarians will turn to beans, nuts, and soy as a source of protein but might not realize that okra seeds also contain high levels.
Benefits of Okra Seeds
Okra seeds are safe to eat and come with many health benefits. They can be consumed raw, cooked, or ground up into a powder for use in seasoning meats and vegetables. Here are some benefits of eating okra seeds:
Okra seeds are packed with protein
Okra seeds contain more protein than some other vegetarian options such as lentils, black-eyed peas, and peanuts. Thus, they are a great way for vegetarians to get their daily dose of protein.
Okra seeds have been shown to have more protein than many types of meat! One cup of okra seeds contains about 14 grams of these muscle-building nutrients.
They also contain nine amino acids including valine, leucine, isoleucine, and lysine which are the essential ones that our bodies cannot manufacture.
Heart health benefits
The magnesium in okra seeds can also help lower blood pressure and keep them heart-healthy. Magnesium plays an important role in the function of the heart and also has been shown to lower blood pressure levels. Thus, consuming foods that are high in magnesium can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke.
Okra seeds are high in calcium which is also very good for the health of your bones. Calcium not only helps keep the skeletal system healthy, but it can help prevent osteoporosis by strengthening the bones. Consuming foods high in calcium can help reduce your risk of bone fractures and fragile bones as you age.
Okra is already a fiber-rich vegetable since it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. By consuming the seed pods, you boost the nutritional value even higher with more dietary fiber which can improve heart health and digestive process.
Many people are lactose intolerant but can usually eat okra since it contains very little natural sugars. Therefore, the seeds are safe to consume even for those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy.
Weight loss benefits
Okra seed pods are also high in dietary fiber which can help boost weight-loss efforts. The soluble fiber in particular has been shown to be very effective at making you feel full after eating, so you’re less likely to overeat which can result in weight gain. Eating foods with soluble fibers regularly may even help reduce your risk of obesity.
Okra seeds also contain a variety of vitamins including vitamins A, E, and K. They are a good source of iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folates, dietary fiber, and manganese. They are also low in fat and calories while being high in soluble fiber which can help keep you feeling full longer and keep your digestive system healthy.
Okra seeds contain several unique nutrients that we would not ordinarily be able to get from meat products such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients are important for cardiovascular health, kidney function, cell signaling, and much more.
Methods to Separate Okra Seeds
Different methods can be used in order to separate or extract okra seeds from which they are harvested. This includes:
Commercial growers air-separate fresh okra seed daily, allowing seeds to dry out. The wet, sound seeds are placed in a large container where the air is forced through the mixture by a blower and then dried with hot air.
This method is used mainly by backyard gardeners and those grown organically. Since the fresh okra pods contain only 8% of water and 92% of air, they can be dried out and the seeds removed by hand. This is a more time-consuming process than the commercial method of air separation, but for those who grow their own vegetables at home, it is not too much of a hassle.
In both of these cases, once the seeds are separated from the pod they can be stored and used in a variety of ways such as roasting, grinding into flour, making tea, or just eating them fresh.
Eating okra seeds is a healthy way to add a bit of flavor to your diet. Eating them raw is the best option, but they also make a good addition to many different types of dishes. They can be added to soups, pasta, stir-fry dishes, or even in salads. The seeds are often dried and ground into flour for use in bread or other baked goods.
Regardless of how you choose to eat them, okra seed pods are a healthy addition to your diet that provide lots of nutrition while being low in calories and fat. If you do not wish to eat the seeds, simply throw them away or compost them.