Beragam Manfaat Okra dan Cara Mengolahnya

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Sebagian dari kita mungkin masih asing dengan tanaman okra. Padahal, ada banyak manfaat okra yang sayang untuk dilewatkan. Di balik teksturnya yang berlendir, okra menyimpan segudang nutrisi yang dapat membawa banyak manfaat bagi kesehatan tubuh.

Okra (Abelmoschus Esculentus), atau yang dikenal sebagai “lady finger, merupakan tanaman yang masih satu keluarga dengan kembang sepatu dan kapas. Tanaman ini banyak ditemukan di wilayah Afrika, Timur Tengah, dan Asia, termasuk di Indonesia.

Okra sebetulnya termasuk golongan buah-buahan. Namun, tanaman ini kerap dianggap sebagai sayuran dan cukup umum diolah menjadi aneka hidangan, mulai dari lalapan, tumisan, atau gorengan.

Kandungan Gizi pada Okra

Dalam seporsi okra mentah (kira-kira 100 gram) terkandung sekitar 33 kalori dan aneka nutrisi berikut:

  • 7–7,5 gram karbohidrat
  • 2 gram protein
  • 3 gram serat
  • 60 miligram fosfor
  • 55–60 miligram magnesium
  • 300 miligram kalium
  • 700 IU vitamin A
  • 23 miligram vitamin C
  • 60 mikrogram folat
  • 30 mikrogram vitamin K

Selain berbagai nutrisi di atas, okra juga mengandung kolin, zinc, selenium, vitamin B kompleks, vitamin E, serta aneka antioksidan, seperti polifenol, flavonoid, isoquercetin, lutein, dan zeaxanthin.

Beragam Manfaat Okra untuk Kesehatan

Okra merupakan salah satu makanan yang murah dan bergizi serta baik untuk kesehatan. Berikut adalah manfaat okra yang sayang untuk dilewatkan:

– Menurunkan dan mengontrol kadar gula darah

Salah satu manfaat okra yang cukup terkenal adalah untuk membantu menurunkan dan mengontrol kadar gula darah. Beberapa riset menunjukan bahwa konsumsi okra secara rutin terlihat mampu menurunkan tingkat penyerapan gula darah di usus dan meningkatkan sensitivitas hormon insulin.

Okra juga termasuk makanan yang kaya akan serat dengan indeks glikemik yang rendah. Oleh karena itu, okra sangat cocok bagi penderita diabetes karena tidak membuat kadar gula darah cepat melonjak. Sementara bagi orang yang sehat, okra bisa bermanfaat untuk mencegah terjadinya resistensi insulin dan penyakit diabetes.

– Memelihara fungsi dan kesehatan pencernaan

Manfaat okra selanjutnya adalah untuk melancarkan pencernaan serta mencegah dan mengatasi sembelit. Ini karena kadar serat dan airnya yang tinggi mampu merangsang pergerakan usus serta membuat tinja menjadi lebih lunak dan padat.

Okra juga diketahui memiliki efek prebiotik, sehingga mampu menjaga keseimbangan jumlah bakteri baik di usus (probiotik) dan mencegah pertumbuhan kuman penyebab penyakit di dalam saluran cerna.

– Menjaga kesehatan jantung

Okra kaya akan serat, vitamin dan mineral, serta antioksidan yang baik untuk mengurangi peradangan, mencegah pembekuan darah, mengontrol tekanan darah, dan mengurangi kadar kolesterol jahat (LDL) dan trigliserida.

Berkat khasiat okra tersebut, Anda bisa terlindungi dari berbagai penyakit kardiovaskular, termasuk penyakit jantung dan stroke.

– Mengurangi risiko kanker

Ekstrak okra diketahui memiliki zat yang bersifat antikanker dan antioksidan yang berperan penting dalam mencegah pertumbuhan sel kanker.

Penelitian pada hewan menunjukkan bahwa ekstrak okra dapat menghambat pertumbuhan sel kanker payudara. Meski begitu, manfaat okra ini masih memerlukan penelitian lebih lanjut.

– Membantu menurunkan berat badan

Okra merupakan salah satu makanan yang rendah kalori, tapi kaya akan serat dan beragam nutrisi, seperi protein, karbohidrat kompleks, vitamin, dan mineral. Oleh karena itu, okra baik dikonsumsi untuk mendukung keberhasilan program diet.

Namun, agar manfaat okra ini bisa Anda peroleh secara optimal, Anda juga perlu rutin berolahraga dan membatasi asupan kalori.

Cara Mengolah Okra Menjadi Sajian yang Nikmat

Okra adalah tanaman yang bisa dikonsumsi hingga biji di dalamnya. Untuk menikmati dan mendapatkan manfaatnya, ada banyak cara mengolah okra yang bisa dijadikan pilihan, antara lain:

  • Memanggang okra dalam oven untuk dikonsumsi sebagai camilan sehat
  • Memasak okra dengan saus tomat dan disajikan dengan pasta
  • Menumis okra dengan bawang putih dan bumbu lainnya, seperti terasi atau cabai
  • Menambahkan okra ke dalam tumis sayuran

Untuk menghilangkan tekstur berlendir dan bergetah pada okra, Anda bisa memasak okra dengan api yang besar atau mengawetkan okra dengan garam terlebih dahulu.

Selain itu, perhatikan juga saat Anda membeli okra. Pilihlah okra yang bertekstur halus tanpa bintik-bintik cokelat atau ujung yang kering. Kemudian, simpan okra di kulkas sekitar 4 hari sebelum dimasak.

Meski memiliki potensi manfaat yang banyak, Anda dianjurkan untuk mengonsumsi okra secukupnya dan tidak berlebihan. Apabila Anda masih memiliki pertanyaan seputar manfaat okra atau ingin memastikan apakah tanaman ini baik untuk mengobati penyakit tertentu, cobalah berkonsultasi dengan dokter.

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