“Okra” a common vegetable found in the majority of Indian homes, most aware with its common name as ladyfinger. This is widely grown in temperate climates producing big flowers giving rise to green pods. It has thrived since time immemorial and long history in traditional medicine. But very few are aware of its health benefits, especially in conditions like diabetes. This green vegetable contains calcium, potassium, vitamin B and C along with high fibers in them. It’s high dietary fibers and low in calories make this vegetable ideal for conditions like diabetes, helps bowel movement, cardiovascular diseases and few other kidney complications.
It is not just helpful in conditions like type-2 diabetes but also in severe conditions like type-1 diabetic complications too. Few studies proved ‘okra’ can function as insulin or even act as a substitute for insulin, like a synthetic drug ‘acarbose’. It is various parts like peels, seeds and okra waters are used for medicinal purpose. These waters help reduce the absorption of glucose and lowered blood sugar levels.
- Lower Blood Cholesterol:
It is found to lower blood cholesterol levels due to the presence of antioxidants and fibers. Hence it is one of the ideal vegetables in the case of conditions like diabetes in lowering blood sugars besides diabetic medications. People who have high cholesterol are prone to various heart diseases and may turn obese, regular use of this okra can control those excess levels of cholesterols.
- Dietary Fibers:
Any foods which have higher fibers are mostly preferred with the incidence of diabetes. As this vegetable has high fiber presence, it helps to slow the digestion process by which excessive hunger craving due to diabetes is reduced. Increased dietary fiber consumption promotes better glycemic control and improves insulin sensitivity too.
- Kidney Disorders:
Most kidney complications are due to rise in blood sugar levels, so indirectly okra has some collateral benefits in reducing most kidney complications. Though it has a direct effect in balancing the blood glucose levels, it has other side benefits like keeping the kidney in normal functioning.
- Glycemic Index:
It is the measure of how quickly carbohydrates are turned into sugars in the blood. Due to its high fiber content, it can prolong the digestion process considerably. So, okra can lower this glycemic index significantly when compared to any other vegetable, so recipes with okra can keep check your blood sugar levels and also aid in weight control.
- Okra Peel and Powdered Seeds:
These peels and powdered seeds have medicinal use in most traditional medicine systems. Okra waters where mucilage extracted from this vegetable are consumed daily can help stay away from diabetes and restore normal blood sugar levels.Though these claims with okra waters have to be well established, there are few mixed opinions coming to drinking with these waters. Though it may not cure any diabetic condition completely, but this can reduce the sugar levels at normal.
Note: Never to try these okra waters along with drugs like Metformin, as it might react with few components of the drug.