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VIDEO: Can okra lead to infertility in men?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Yesterday, the Jamaica Observer's All Woman Magazine carried a story titled 'Strong Back, weak sperm' in which director of the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr Vernon DaCosta, revealed that although the okra plant is highly nutritious, its seeds contain a chemical called gossypol, which reduces male fertility when consumed in sufficient quantities.

Given that the okra is believed by many Jamaicans to improve male virility, Observer writer Candiece Knight took to the streets of Cross Roads and downtown Kingston to find out how Jamaicans, especially men, were reacting to the news.

We asked the question: What are your views on recent research claiming that eating okra seeds can cause men to have a low sperm count?

“Me nuh believe inna that, because yuh done know say di okra and di steam fish inna yuh back a problem, that will boost yuh sex drive.”

“I don’t really eat it, but I blend it and make a drink with oats and peanuts, so it’s more of an energy drink for me. I always hear positive things about okra, so it’s the first time I’m hearing anything negative about it.”

“My mother and father a give me okra from the day me born. And me grow with okra, and me grow my okra them, and a okra give me him (pointing at his son), and me have two more bigger than him. So if okra did do something to my sperm count, me wouldn’t get no youth, so anybody a say dat, a lie. Okra slimy, so it good fi di back. It good fi di health and di strength.”

“Okra and string beans are my favourite vegetables. I feed on them because I am a diabetic and I learn that they carry a lot of insulin, and insulin good for the diabetes.”

Mr Sledge
“To tell you the truth, from me a youth me a eat okra, and a nuff youth me have. So if them come with a new ting, then them haffi go teach me ’bout it, because a di first me a hear of that. I know a lot of people who eat okra right through the years, and them alright. We can’t do without it. So them haffi go prove it to we say it nuh good fi we.”

Mr Dixon
“From me small me a eat okra pon fish, ina salt fish, okra juice, callaloo and okra, all type a things we a eat okra with and it never really sick we. So me nuh believe dat. A just something them a try come up wid fi okra stop sell or something, but a poor people ting that; okra can’t stop sell. It’s just a medical hoax. Me nuh believe dat. My son a 18 and a whole heap a okra bring him. Fish and okra, okra juice, okra inna oats, peanut wid okra. No man, nutten like dat man.”

“Me eat okra and me still perform properly and everything same way, so I’m not sure. I eat okra and steam fish, okra in soup, okra and saltfish, okra in callalloo, okra and curry chicken, every style.”

“I don’t believe okra a give di man dem low sperm count. How all of a sudden dem come up with this, and a years me hear di man dem a say dem a eat dem okra and a build dem back. How all of a sudden this come up now? Me nuh believe dat. My man always say him like okra with him fish, or him like okra inna him fish tea. From the other day dem say sugar a give di pickney dem dis and a give di pickney dem dat, now dem gone a okra. Me nuh believe dat.”

“It’s old okra causing the problem. Okra must eat when it young, when you can bruk it down a di bottom. The seed nuh have nutten fi do with you them time deh. You see when it get old, it fi go plant back, because it tough. But you see young okra, it good fi everything inna yuh.”

“Well, I know okra is a good stuff; it’s good for the joints. I don’t know about the seed part. I eat all of it though. I parboil it. I got five kids, and I always have okra in my juice same way, and I never have any problem with getting them.”

“Me a eat okra from me about 12, and nutten nuh happen to me. Me get four kids, one seven month old me get just the other day. So okra nuh do me anything at all. Okra nah do you nutten. Okra a good something fi eat.”