Is Okra Water the Next Big Health Drink? Benefits for Diabetics & More
8 minute read
Okra has long been considered a great food for the health-conscious population and can be consumed in water or as an edible seed pod. Outside of the health benefits already known, okra has recently been praised for its positive impact on blood sugar levels and the lives of diabetics.
Okra is more commonly known as “lady’s fingers” in the gardening world, but regardless of what you call it, this flowering plant should be in your kitchen as well as your garden. Thanks to recent research, there are even more ways this little food can benefit your health.
Diabetes and Your Health
Diagnoses of diabetes continue to increase each year and much of this is thought to be related to diet. The typical Western diet prominently features carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and sugar-laden processed foods.
These foods are more than just bad for your health; they can be fatal to a diabetic and are also known to increase your risk for prediabetes and type II diabetes.
As diabetes continues to increase, more research is being done to discover ways to help control blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels can be dangerous to your health in general. For those with diabetes, however, the outcome could be fatal.
It is important to stay in control of blood sugar levels in order to avoid serious health complications.
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The problem may start with blood sugar, but the effects are wide-reaching. As your ability to produce insulin becomes compromised, several parts of your body become affected. This includes:
♦ Increased blood pressure, which contributes to blood vessel damage and increases your risk of stroke and heart disease.
♦ Damage to blood vessels in your eyes can impair vision. Left untreated this can result in cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness.
♦ Untreated diabetes can result in ketoacidosis, which results in a loss of consciousness and can be very serious.
♦ An impaired immune system makes diabetics more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections.
♦ Inefficient blood sugar management leads to delayed emptying of the stomach during digestion, which can cause bloating, heartburn, and other uncomfortable digestive issues.
♦ Diabetes causes nerve damage which often feels like a tingly sensation, predominantly in your extremities. This can be painful at times and if left untreated can lead to more serious nerve problems, such as an altered perception to pain. which can increase your risk of serious injury.
♦ Continually having elevated blood sugar levels forces your body to use up water faster, and this can dehydrate your skin.
How Okra Water Can Help
Research has already proven that okra provides multiple health benefits. Recent studies turned their focus on the benefits specifically for diabetics.
Studies are ongoing but preliminary findings show that okra has a positive effect on blood sugar levels, and okra water specifically was shown to improve blood sugar levels in rats with gestational diabetes.
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Results are showing the positive impact okra has on blood sugar levels, but how exactly is this happening? Okra pods contain nutritious sap as well as fiber that deliver important benefits for your health.
Whether you eat the seeds or make okra water with the sap, you will get the same benefits below, all of which are particularly great for diabetics.
1. Full of Fiber
Okra is a fiber-dense food that provides several health benefits. Bulk fiber improves digestive processes and keeps you feeling full, so you can successfully avoid sugary snacks. Plus, increased consumption of dietary fiber has been shown to improve blood sugar control as well as insulin sensitivity.
2. Lowered Cholesterol
High-fiber foods that are also full of antioxidants, like okra, have been proven to lower cholesterol. Since there is a known connection between high cholesterol levels and diabetes, keeping total cholesterol low is beneficial to the overall health of diabetics.
3. More Energy
Spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels can deplete the body of energy and leave you feeling fatigued. Along with exercise, okra water improves recovery times and reduces levels of fatigue throughout the day.
Because exercise is important in diabetes management, it is essential that you maintain healthy energy levels to complete regular exercise and daily functions.
4. Less Stress
Stress can have a dangerous effect when trying to manage diabetes. Elevated stress levels can cause blood sugar spikes. Fortunately, the antioxidant and anti-stress compounds of okra help to protect against this.
How to Make Okra Water
If you are a diabetic, it is a good idea to have okra water on hand in your fridge. That way you can enjoy it whenever you want, or if you feel that your blood sugar levels need to be controlled.
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After a heavy meal would be a good time to drink a cool glass of okra water. All you need is water, a mason jar, and 4 or 5 medium-sized okra pods.
Wash the okra pods thoroughly and clip off both ends. Split the pods in half or you can pierce each side with knife. Put the pods into a mason jar or other drinking container and cover with water.
Let the pods soak overnight, or at least for 8 hours, to allow enough time for the water to extract nutrients from the pods.
Before drinking you can squeeze the pods into the water to make sure all the nutritious sap is released. You can then throw the pods away and drink.
If you find that you enjoy the okra water and drink it frequently you can make larger containers to keep in the fridge. Just remember to add more okra pods for increased amounts of water.
The Bottom Line
Taking okra water to the gym or work with you or just having it on hand in the fridge will benefit your health and help manage your diabetes. You can always add okra pods to your favorite meals or use the sap in sauces and salad dressings.
While okra water is not a proven replacement for insulin, it has been shown to help control blood sugar, so is a worthwhile drink to have around. Apart from the water, though, okra is a great green to keep on your menu for meals at anytime of the day.