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Is Okra (Ladyfinger) Good For People With Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic and fast-growing disease, also known for many permanent complications on different body systems. Diet plays a vital role in maintaining glucose levels and keeping away all the related complications in diabetics.

Okra or lady finger is one of the best foods with an antidiabetic and hypoglycemic effect that may help lower glucose levels in the body. This veggie is also known to possess antihyperlipidemic properties to inhibit cholesterol absorption and thus, decrease fat and lipid in the blood. [1]

In this article, we will discuss the association between okra and diabetes. Take a look.

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Okra And Diabetes

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the major risk factors for diabetes. High consumption of sugar-rich foods and fats can lead to obesity and insulin resistance and thus, diabetes. This is the reason why people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are often found to be obese.

Obesity or hyperlipidemia causes increased glucose levels, which then contribute to loss of beta-cell function and impairment in the secretion of insulin, thus leading to diabetes.

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It is also to consider that in some people, beta-cell dysfunction can be due to their genetic background or family history of diabetes. [2]

Okra contains phytochemicals such as polysaccharides, polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids, triterpenes and sterols along with dietary fibres.

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These compounds contribute to the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects, thus lowering the lipid levels and managing diabetes.

Okra may also help improve pancreatic cell functions and lower the incidence of beta-cell dysfunction due to genetic factors.

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How Okra May Help Manage Diabetes

1. Low glycemic index

Foods that are low in glycemic index are recommended by experts to include in a diabetes diet. Okra has a glycemic index of 20, which means, the consumption of this veggie tends to raise the glucose levels very slowly as they take longer to break down in the intestines. Diabetics can easily snack on okra recipes to fill their stomach and also control their blood sugar levels.

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2. Fights kidney disease

Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease. High sugar levels can damage the nerves of the kidneys and cause complications. Okra helps maintain glucose levels and prevent any kind of damage to the kidneys.

3. Contains soluble fibre

Soluble dietary fibres are considered good for diabetics as they play an important part in carbohydrate digestion. Okra, which is rich in soluble fibres, slows down the digestive process and reduces the impact of carbs on blood sugar levels. It also helps keep a person fuller for longer and prevent unhealthy binging.

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How To Use Okra For Diabetes Control?

  • Take two okra or ladyfingers.
  • Chop off both ends.
  • A sticky white liquid will start coming out of the okra.
  • Do not wash.
  • Instead, drop okra into a glass of water before going to sleep at night.
  • Cover the glass.
  • In the morning, remove okra from the water and drink it.

Note: Repeating the steps on a daily basis can help control the blood sugar to a maximum. Another important factor is that raw okra helps treat diabetes faster than cooked ones, as in the prior nutrition remains intact. So, though you can add okra to soups and curries, the best natural remedy to manage diabetes is to consume raw okra soaked in water.

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Common FAQs

1. Is okra good for diabetes?

Yes, okra or ladyfinger or bhindi is considered good for the management of diabetes. It is rich in various flavonoids, antioxidants, polysaccharides and tannins that may help lower glucose levels.

2. How does okra reduce blood sugar?

Okra is rich in dietary fibre and phytochemicals. The fibre helps provide satiety and prevent excess intake of calories while phytochemicals help manage sugar levels and promote the functioning of beta cells of the pancreas.

3. Does okra interfere with metformin?

Metformin is a primary drug for the treatment of diabetes. If a diabetic who is on metformin, consumes okra for a longer period, the anti-diabetic effect of the veggie may lower the effect of the drug.

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4. What are the side effects of eating okra?

High consumption of okra may cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea and bloat in some people. Okra is also rich in oxalates, so it may increase the risk of kidney stones.

5. Does okra help sexually?

Some studies say that okra is an aphrodisiac that may help relax the muscles, improve blood flow and maintain the functioning of sex organs.

Story first published: Thursday, March 18, 2021, 8:30 [IST]