Is an African vegetable commonly called: Lady’s finger, Ila, Bamya, Nkrumah and Gumbo. The scientific name for okra is Abelmoschus esculentus. It is a slim cylindrical long green vegetable similar to the shape of a lady’s finger about 3 – 4 inches long and half an inch diameter. 


The Origin of Okra 

Okra takes it’s origin, grows naturally and is planted as a crop in Africa. History has it that Okra was planted in Africa as far back as 2000 B.C. It has local African names like “Bamya” in Sudan, “Nkrumah” in Ghana, “Ila” in Nigeria. Okra was introduced to America during the slave trade


Uses of Okra

Food  Drink  Medication

Okra is used in soups, salads, drinks, medication and

Okra Soup
Okra Prawn Soup

in various meals. Okra can be be boiled on its own in salt and water, sometimes it is mixed in stew, or cooked with other vegetable to make soups. Okra is very delicious when cooked with poultry, meat, fish or seafood.

Okra Medicinal Uses

Okra seeds are roasted and used traditionally in Turkey as a medicine for diabetics


Okra Drinks

Ground Okra
Ground Okra

When roasted dried

and powdered, ground okra

can be used in making

Okra coffee.


Okra water – Okra is soaked in water at night and the water is drank the following day

Okra Soups and Meals

Gumbo soup is 




To Prepare Okra   

Grated Okra
Grated Okra

Some use it whole, some use it sliced, some liquidize it, some dry it up and powder it and some use it grated. Okra is cooked, roasted, fried or prepared raw. 





Health benefits and Nutritional contents

Okra is very rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium and Potassium. It has a low calorie content, one portion of 100 grams contains 33 calories, which is 0.3 cal/g. It is also very low in fat. Okra has many health benefits:

  • It is a perfect solution for diabetics
  • It lowers the level of sugar in the blood
  • A good source of fibre



This article has 12 Comments

  1. Hi Juliet,
    I became a healthy lifestyle fun not a long time ago. Heard a lot about Okra but I never tried it.
    What can I expect it to taste?
    Maybe you can particularly recommend any dishes with it? What is great with?
    Will be nice to get some advice from you.
    Thanks you

    1. Hi Niki,

      Okra has it’s own unique taste. The closest to its taste I can think of would be spinach.

      It’s very delicious when cooked in salsa with meat (or fish) and spices. Serve with mashed potato, Pounded yam, or ground rice.

      I’ll be posting an okra meal picture on this post and on my gallery page. Please come back to see it.

  2. Wow, I never knew Ocra was used in medication.
    But, I am hardly surprised. I tasted Ocra for the first time over this past summer, I was surprised at how much I actually loved it. It has a very pickely taste!

    Thanks for sharing all this great info on this great food!

  3. I have read your interesting article about ocra and I am very interested in it. I have a few recipes where it is mentions but I have not idea what it is. We must call it something else in Australia because I have never been able to find it. Is it a type of banana? What we call Lady Fingers here is a small banana type of fruit. All in all a very interesting post.

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for coming by. Okra is a vegetable it’s bright green. It’s also called gumbo. In Australia it can be got from the local green grocer. Let me know how it goes when you try one of those recipes.

  4. Oh man, Okra! Growing up in the Fiji Islands it was not one of my favorite vegetables when mom made dinner. I never could grow to like it. Not even in adulthood,

    However now that you have mentioned that it is used to control Diabetes, I am ready to go back and try some various ways of cooking it that would taste good.

    I believe that is possible and I want to get off my diabetes medication so I will give it a try. 🙂

    I did see some dried Okra snack in a organic grocery store…will pick some up next time. thanks

  5. You’re correct about the “bamya” being the Sudanese name for Okra, it’s an Arabic-speaking nations and while I don’t speak Arabic but studied lots of Arabic for a while and okra means “bamia/bamya” in Arabic. Never knew it was a native African crop, I myself haven’t really included okra as part of my diet. But I am diabetic, so perhaps it’s time to start!

  6. Oh yes okra is great. My babies love love okra soup with fufu. I usually cook mine with smoked turkey. I like the flavor the turkey gives it. In my village we call it aeroplane soup because of how easy it is to swallow, you don’t have to worry about chewing. What a great site. I’ll come back to read the other post soon.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Tatihden. Aeroplane soup sounds cool and healthy. I’ll be uploading about some more food. See you around again soon.

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