The seeds of okra are used as a coffee substitute in some countries.

Okra is a whole food Background

  • Okra is a member of the Malvaceae botanical family which also consists of cacao (cocoa) and durian fruit.
  • Okra is thought to have originated in Africa and thus thrives in hotter climates.


  • Okra is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C and a good source of manganese.
    • Vitamin K encourages blood clotting and strong bones.
    • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes wound healing, immune function, and collagen and connective tissue function.
    • Manganese supports wound healing and cartilage and bone formation.

How to Purchase, Prepare, and Store

  • Purchase okra at grocers or local food markets.
  • Choose fresh okra that is 2-4 inches long and bright green in color without any blemishes.
  • Avoid okra that have soft spots, are shriveled or bendy or those that are overly large as these tend to be overripe and tough.
  • Larger okra can be used in stews as it contains more gelatinous properties than small ones.
  • To prepare okra, rinse with water. Older okra has more fuzz on the outer skin. To remove the fuzz, run under water and rub off with a paper towel. Once rinsed, dry completely.
  • Trim off the stem and tip of the okra.
  • Store okra unwashed in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Okra is delicate and should be used within 2-3 days of purchase.
  • Okra can be fried, roasted, sautéed, or used to thicken stews.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup okra, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt

  • Calories: 17.6
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Fat: 0.16 g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.6 g
  • Fiber: 2.0 g
  • Calcium: 61.6 mg
  • Iron: 0.22 mg
  • Magnesium: 28.8 mg
  • Phosphorus: 25.6 mg
  • Folate: 36.8 μg
  • Vitamin A: 11.2 μg



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