Okra is fast becoming a superfood these days. It has many beneficial qualities that can help improve your health. That’s why eating okra is good for diabetes as it helps in lowering your blood sugar levels and also gives other diabetes-related benefits by adding it to your healthy eating plans.
What is okra?
Okra is a flowering plant that is also known as lady’s finger. It is named because of the edible seedpods of the plant.
Okra’s most unusual feature is the gummy, gelatinous substance releasing from its pods. It is extremely rich in potassium, vitamins, fiber, and folic acid. Nutrients in it, antioxidants and anti-fungal elements contribute to improving the overall health and immune protection of a body.
Uses of okra
1.. Low glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how quickly carbohydrates in foods turn to sugar in your blood. Regularly consuming low GI foods can help you in controlling high blood sugar levels and diabetes. Okra has a GI below 20, which is considered a low GI food and it is ideal to include in your healthy diabetes diet.
2.. High dietary fiber
Okra is high in fiber. It helps digestion, cuts hunger cravings, staves off binge eating and keeps you fuller for longer. Foods that are high in fiber content are an important part of dietary treatment options for diabetes.
This high dietary fiber content of okra is one of the most significant health benefits in my opinion because it helps to promote a healthy digestive system. The high fiber rate in okra helps in controlling the absorption of sugar with a positive effect on the release of insulin.
3.. Source of vitamins and minerals
Okra is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. It is extremely rich in potassium, which is vital to maintaining proper fluid balance in your body. It has a relaxant effect on blood vessels and arteries, which helps in reducing blood pressure. Potassium also helps to transmit nerve impulses, and it is needed for proper muscle functions and metabolism.
In addition to potassium, okra is also an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as folate. These are some of the most important vitamins to get into your daily diet.
4.. Lowers cholesterol
Okra is a good source to control cholesterol levels. As it contains no cholesterol and minimal fat, this makes it an excellent food to replace high cholesterol fatty foods.
You know that 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 must have healthy cholesterol levels and I recommend okra to include in a diabetes diet meal plan.
5.. Anti-stress and anti-fatigue effects
The edible seedpods of okra have an antioxidant and anti-stress effect when they are consumed in your diet. Long-term, high-stress levels and fatigue can cause blood sugar levels to spike. These seedpods of okra help to minimize and improve high stress and fatigue levels if you include okra in your diabetic diet plan.
6.. Helps in reducing weight
This is one of my favorite health benefits of okra and also one of my secrets to enjoying my sedentary lifestyle with minimal exercise.
Okra is very low in calories. A one and a half cup serving of okra contain just 18 calories. As mentioned, it is also an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as folate. All of these factors, combined with high fiber content, make it a good vegetable for reducing your weight.
The high content of fiber in okra staves off your binge eating habit. It means you will feel full when you eat okra, yet you won’t have consumed as many calories as you think.
Okra’s ability to reabsorb water allows it to trap cholesterol, bile, and toxins that are in your body and enhances its ability to lose your body fat.
Calories in Okra
The calories in okra differ slightly based on its methods of preparation as well as the amount of quantity used. 100 grams of okra has 365 calories, 1 ounce of okra contains 104 calories, and half a cup of cooked okra in light oil contains 35 calories.
Getting the most from okra
Despite its obvious health benefits, okra remains one of the least consumed vegetables because of its gummy consistency. If you feel that way about okra, try steaming or blanching the pods until just tender. This will minimize its gumminess and will make it more palatable for you.
If you don’t have any issue with its gumminess, then you must try okra water. Drinking okra water is a popular new method of using okra. Many diabetologists suggest that drinking its water helps lessen diabetes symptoms. The drink is made by putting okra pods in water and soaking them overnight. Some of the valuable nutrients in the skin and seed pods will be absorbed into the water making it more viscous and gummy. If you’re not concern about the taste of okra, then drinking this okra water solution is a quick and simple way to derive the whole benefits of okra without eating it.
You can also cut the okra into thin slices instead of soaking the whole pods in water. But if you are going to prepare okra water this way, be prepared for a drink that is slightly bitter. I tried drinking it like this once but couldn’t, because of its bitterness.
Other methods of using okra
- Prepare okra along with an acidic vegetable, such as tomatoes, to reduce its gelatinous consistency. This is the tastiest way of eating okra. I love it. But remember, don’t cook it on high heat because the more you cook it, the more of its nutrients you are likely to lose.
- You can also eat raw okra with dips in some pickles and sauces as part of a salad.
- Cut the okra into small pieces and then fry it in little olive oil. You will also like this way of eating okra.
- If you like soups, then okra is a fantastic addition to any soup recipe. It is high in starch, pectin and soluble fiber, which helps to thicken soups and stews when it is cooked.
So, this is all about okra and its benefits especially if you want to include it in your diabetic diet plan. I have given you one of my secrets of enjoying my sedentary lifestyle. I recommend it to include in your diet just once or twice a week. It’s more than enough to reap its full benefits.
Remember, small changes can always have a significant impact measured over time. You don’t need to make drastic changes to add okra to your diet. Just make little ones and build on them.
If you have any questions or comments about the additional benefits of okra you’d like to add to the list, please do let me know in the comments below!