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Does Okra Water Help Control Blood Sugar Levels?

Does Okra Water Help Control Blood Sugar Levels?

Okra, also called ladyfingers, is a green flowering plant native to many tropical countries, like the Philippines. The immature okra pods are a popular vegetable with a fuzzy outer texture and edible seeds; they also have a sticky juice that many use to thicken sauces. What’s interesting about okra is that a lot of people believe it to be a “superfood” for those with or at risk of having diabetes. In fact, some people drink okra water, thinking it helps control their blood sugar levels. But, is it true? Find out here.

Okra Water for Diabetes: Is It Effective?

Seeing that okra is a common and affordable vegetable here in the Philippines, it’s truly good news if it can help people control their blood sugar levels. But what evidence do we have to prove this claim?

Anecdotal Reports

Anecdotal reports may not be scientifically proven, but many people testify that they experience lower blood sugar levels after drinking okra water in the morning. They prepare okra water by cutting up okra pods into pieces and soaking them in water overnight¹.

Okra’s Beneficial Components

Did you know that okra pods (and probably okra water, too) contain nutrients that might help in diabetes management?

First, okra has “superior insoluble fiber” that might help in slowing down the rate by which sugar is absorbed in the intestines. This, in turn, helps stabilize glucose levels1. Another report indicated that increased dietary fiber intake was associated with better glycemic control².

Also, okra appears to contain antioxidant and anti-stress properties³. This is crucial because prolonged or chronic stress might result in blood sugar spikes. Furthermore, making sure that the patient has great mental health is an indispensable part of diabetes management.

Animal Studies

Finally, numerous studies (most of which involve rodents) have shown that okra has sugar-lowering or anti-diabetic properties.

For instance, one review of different rodent studies concluded that there is evidence pointing to the anti-diabetic properties of okra. The review even encouraged further studies to address a formulation of this potential nutraceutical as an alternative treatment in diabetes management⁴.

Other Benefits

Okra and okra water might also help with other health issues, such as digestive concerns and high cholesterol. Reports say okra also promotes healthy skin and blood. It also aids in having a healthy pregnancy⁵.

How To Add Okra To Your Diet

Of course, the most practical way to add okra to your diet is to consume the pods. You can eat it fresh, dried, fried, broiled, sautéed, pickled, or roasted. Add the vegetable to your salads, stews, or other dishes.

If you’re interested in okra water, here are the preparation instructions:

  1. Choose okra pods that are firm to touch. Wash them under running water.
  2. Slice the pods thinly.
  3. Place the okra slices in water and leave overnight for up to 24 hours.
  4. When you’re ready to drink it (usually in the morning), squeeze the remaining juice of the pods into the okra water.

While it’s generally safe for people to eat okra or drink okra water, please note that excessive consumption might lead to some side effects.

For instance, since okra has moderate oxalate content, eating too much might increase your risk of kidney stones⁶. Okra also has vitamin K, which may interfere with blood-thinning medicines, like warfarin.

Hence, if you want to use okra and okra water medically for your diabetes, the best thing to do is consult your physician first.

Key Takeaways

Anecdotal reports claim that drinking okra water decreases blood sugar levels. There are also animal studies suggesting that okra is indeed an antidiabetic food. If you’re interested in consuming okra as herbal medicine, please consult your doctor first. This is especially important if you’re already taking medicines or have other underlying concerns.

Learn more about Diabetes here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Okra, https://www.diabetes.co.uk/natural-therapies/okra.html, Accessed November 9, 2021

2 Impact of dietary fiber intake on glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors and chronic kidney disease in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3878841/, Accessed November 9, 2021

3 Abelmoschus esculentus, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4221879/, Accessed November 9, 2021

4 Abelmoschus esculentus (L.): Bioactive Components’ Beneficial Properties—Focused on Antidiabetic Role—For Sustainable Health Applications, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6337517/, Accessed November 9, 2021

5 Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus):
A Review, https://www.longdom.org/open-access/nutritional-quality-and-health-benefits-of-okra-abelmoschus-esculentusa-review-2157-7110-1000458.pdf, Accessed November 9, 2021

6 A further study of oxalate bioavailability in foods, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2359186/, Accessed November 9, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran