What Is Okra?
Okra, also known as “lady’s fingers,” is a green flowering plant. Okra belongs to the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. The term “okra” most commonly refers to the edible seedpods of the plant.
Okra has long been favored as a food for the health-conscious. It contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has a high dietary fiber content. Recently, a new benefit of including okra in your diet is being considered. Okra has been suggested to help manage blood sugar in cases of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Incidences of diabetes diagnoses are only increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The verdict is out on whether okra can be used successfully as a direct diabetes treatment. However, the okra plant does have many proven health benefits. Read on to see if okra could be a viable part of your diabetes treatment plan.
Studies on Okra and Diabetes
Medical research on okra for diabetes management is still in early stages. We do know that according to one study, okra water improved the blood sugar levels of pregnant rats that had gestational diabetes. Roasted okra seeds, which have long been used in Turkey to treat diabetes, have also been studied and proven to have a positive effect on lowering blood sugar.
Okra Benefit #1: Dietary Fiber
Okra is high in fiber. Eight medium-sized pods are estimated to contain 3 grams of fiber. This bulk fiber quality has several benefits. It helps digestion, cuts hunger cravings, and keeps those who eat it fuller for longer. Foods that are high in fiber content are an important part of dietary treatment options for diabetes. Increased dietary fiber intake has been shown to promote better glycemic control and improve insulin sensitivity.
Okra Benefit #2: Anti-Stress Effects
There is evidence that the seed extracts of okra have an antioxidant, anti-stress effect in the bloodstream of mice. Managing stress levels is an important part of managing diabetes. Long-term, high stress levels can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Mental health should be a part of any diabetes treatment plan, and using okra and its derivative seeds can be a part of that plan.
Okra Benefit #3: May Help Lower Cholesterol
Okra has been found to lower cholesterol levels in diabetic lab mice. Foods with high fiber content and antioxidant qualities are recommended for those with diabetes because they lower cholesterol. The American Heart Associationpoints out that people with diabetes are more likely to have unhealthy cholesterol levels. When high cholesterol levels are combined with diabetes, the outlook is not good. That’s why it’s so critical to make sure that your diet has healthy cholesterol levels.