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Reasons Okra should be part of your food

  • Okra mucilage, full of nutrients, suitable for medicinal, industrial applications — Expert

Mr Adewale Samson, a food scientist, says okra mucilage is suitable for medical and industrial applications, full of nutrients and affordable vegetable.

Samson, who is also a farmer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that okra is one of the most important vegetables in Nigeria, contributing substantially to the diet as main constituent of soup and stew.

The food scientist, who, however, said that many Nigerians were yet to explore its potential, described okra as “a fruit vegetable rich in energy and contains protein, carbohydrates, calcium, thiamine, iron, beta-carotene riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid.

“Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.

“Okra is very affordable vegetable which can fit budget.”

According to him, the leave buds and flowers of okra are also edible and suitable for medicinal and industrial applications.

“It has medically found application as a plasma replacement or blood volume expander. Okra is also medicinal to human.

“The vegetable is an important protective food for the maintenance of health. It
contains valuable food ingredients, which can be successfully utilised to build up and repair the body,” he said.

He added that proper marketing, processing, preservation and utilisation of okra was necessary to arrest wastage being experienced
during its peak season.

Samson said that “Such effort should involve the development of appropriate technologies for processing and preserving
okra for high market value.

“This will enhance the standard of living of the farmers, marketers and processors’’.

The expert also said that okra farmers in Nigeria were still faced with several challenges in marketing activities, stressing that “the
major challenges facing the marketers include transportation, financial challenge, rapid deterioration in quality and market price
fluctuation.

“Effort should be made to address the identified challenges to improve marketing efficiency of okra in Nigeria.

“Government should also improve and maintain roads at the local level to reduce the cost of transport fares.” (NAN)

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