Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a plant that has been known for centuries for its health and medicinal benefits. Its anti-diabetes power has specifically been noted since the last century. New studies show that okra is also effective in fighting and/or preventing 3 cancer types.
Research on Mammals
Scientists have found that okra slows down/prevents metastatic mouse melanoma cells while also destroying breast cancer cells in humans. Other research studies have reported up to 40 percent lesser chances in men for developing prostate cancer when they regularly consumed it following the Southern eating style.
Human Breast Cancer Benefits of Okra
According to the latest studies, the lectin present in okra is responsible for killing over 70% of breast cancer cells in vitro (in humans). The largest percentage of these cells are destroyed through apoptosis.
Lectin – This ingredient has also been found to be effective in fighting the development of breast cancer cells by over 60%. It is concentrated in the seeds. Besides he anti-cancer benefits, it also fights inflammation, nociceptive and pain.
Years of research has established beyond doubt that this ingredient is a promising ‘therapeutic’ for fighting breast cancer in humans. Lectin may be concentrated mostly in the seeds, but it doesn’t mean that the other parts of okra can be discarded. The rest of the plant is rich in pectin, which is also a powerful anti-cancer ingredient.
Health Benefits of Pectin from Okra
Studies show that the pectin found in okra fights over 75% of the harmful metastatic melanoma cells in vitro. It is the pod skin in okra that contains this special kind of pectin, and research proves that it has special properties which were not found in other forms of pectin.
It is the unique chemicals found in okra pectin which are considered to be highly effective in fighting melanoma. Researchers in France and Holland found that this unique type of pectin helped in fighting the spread of highly metastatic mouse melanoma cells. They concluded that the ingredient was capable of fighting up to 75% of the harmful cells after 2 days of treatment. It also helped in increasing the death rate of programmed cell (apoptosis) by almost 23 times.
Researchers also found that when it came in contact with Galectin-3, pectin would trigger apoptosis. This was similar to what happened with another popular chemical – Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP). But unlike MCP, it doesn’t need any kind of changes.
Benefits Against Prostate Cancer in Men
Researchers have also concluded after years of study that men eating Southern diet containing okra are 40% less likely to develop prostate cancer. As indicated above, the 2 main anti-cancer compounds in okra are present in different parts of okra. Therefore, it is important to include the entire plant in your diet. Researchers in the U.S. have already demonstrated the health benefits of consuming all the edible parts in the plant. They found that consuming okra helped in reducing the chances of developing prostate cancer by 40%. They concluded this after testing its benefits on almost 4,000 men for a decade.
Southern Eating Pattern – The Southern eating pattern contains not only okra, but also bacon and red meat. These meats have been found to be potential triggers for causing cancer. Scientists have concluded that this makes this eating pattern not as healthy as it would otherwise have been. But they have also concluded that it is still helpful in protecting men against prostate cancer. Studies found this eating pattern to be more effective against prostate cancer compared to food rich in fruits and vegetables.
Okra is already widely consumed worldwide for its other health benefits. But its anti-cancer properties give you another good reason to include it into your diet.