Chances are that you have had a meal that contained okra or had okra has its major ingredient. You might have even had one today, okra is a significant part of meals in Nigeria.
It is also a great source of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre, for those who love numbers and stats, one cup of okra (100g) contains the following:
- Calories: 33
- Protein: 1.9g
- Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 7.5g
- Fibre: 3.2g
- Sugar: 1.5g
- Vitamin K: 31.3mg
- Potassium: 299mg
- Sodium: 7mg
- Vitamin C: 23mg
- Thiamine: 0.2mg
- Magnesium: 57mg
- Calcium: 82mg
- Pyridoxine: 0.215mg
- Folic acid: 60mcg
- Vitamin A: 36mcg
- Trace amounts of iron, copper, niacin and phosphorus
With all these nutrients, there are some shadows that have been cast over this food item, and that is gossypol.
Okra and infertility, is there a link?
Gossypol is contained in the seeds of okra at low levels and some studies have claimed that excess consumption if gossypol can affect the production of sperm and may subsequently cause male infertility. As a matter of fact, gossypol has been considered as a male contraceptive.
Some tribes in Nigeria strongly believe that eating okra might prevent a man from fathering babies and there might be some truth to this, given the presence of gossypol. However, we need more studies on the issue before we can confidently say that okra affects male fertility. We need more studies to ensure that there is a definite link between the consumption of okra and male infertility.
Notwithstanding, there are still numerous benefits of okra and we do not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, besides, it contains antioxidants which promotes health
What should I do?
We all know that too much of everything is bad. Even though okra has a lot of benefits, it might still have some downsides, for instance, high amounts of Okra in higher amounts isn’t good for people with anaemia, athletes, women who have irregular menses.
For this reason, men who have had issues with fertility or are undergoing tests to ensure if they are fertile will do well to avoid okra at the moment.
Taking too much of okra might induce diarrhoea, cramps and bloat in some people and even kidney stones in some
Moderation is key. Always check with your doctor