Local vegetables with amazing medicinal properties – Benefits of Okra in diabetes

Benefits of Okra in Diabetes

What do you think has more medicinal properties? Abelmoschus esculentus, an amazing plant that’s cultivated from ancient Egyptian times or our humble bhindi which has been serving humanity with the likes of bhindi masala, bhindi curry, and bharwan bhindi. See below for answer and what your choice means!

While you marinate that thought, let us see why we tend to look for exotic foods as a solution for health issues.

More often than not, we tend to choose Peruvian bitter-wood, Thai herbal tea, or the Brazilian tea made with Bauhinia forficate for their antidiabetic properties instead of local herbs.

This is because of an ambitious hope that they would work wonders, out of sheer fascination, and an opinion that they are better than local ones. Plus, whenever we tend to get health conscious, we end up buying something or the other!

While the world is batting for India’s turmeric due its high curcumin content, we have chosen to treat our vegetables and herbs with disdain. Many households consume meat once a week, and chomp off veggies the rest of the week. Despite that, research suggests that Indians consume far lesser vegetables and fruits than the recommended levels!

Let alone herbs that heal, vegetables and fruits are colorful, flavorsome, tasty, low-calorie, and do a lot of good because of a mélange of micronutrients they contain. Reducing consumption of fruits and vegetables is directly linked to:

  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Oral and respiratory tract cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Arthritis  

Now, let’s come to the question we initially asked.

If you had chosen Abelmoschus esculentus for having more medicinal properties, it means that you want the best for your health and you do not wish to compromise.

If you had chosen bhindi for having more medicinal properties, it means that you are down to earth and choose available sources for nutrition and health.

Having said that, both these choices are awesome as both are one and the same! Abelmoschus esculentus is the biological name of this wonder vegetable known as bhindi!

We call bhindi or okra a wonder vegetable because of its proven health benefits.    

Another question – What do you think is the ideal amount of vegetables and fruits a person needs to consume in a day? Look below for answer! But before that, let’s see why you need to include okra in your diabetic diet if you want to stay on top of diabetes.

Health benefits of Okra

  • Reduces risk of heart diseases
  • Reduces risk of cancer
  • Prevents kidney diseases
  • Treats conditions of the digestive tract
  • Makes skin and blood healthy
  • Good for pregnant women
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • Has anti-stress effects
  • Good for people with depression
  • Helps in treating migraine
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Good for bones
  • Improves eyesight

Unless one has been living under a rock, there is no need to introduce okra or bhindi. We use this vegetable to make delicious bhindi masala, bhindi kadi, and many other recipes. However, many of us are unaware of the numerous health benefits this sticky, fibrous vegetable has.

The benefits of okra start with its fiber content, and it comprises mostly of cellulose, lignin, and hemicelluloses. Now, this might ring a bell only for a few, but okra is full of:

  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid
  • Plant protein in seeds with amino acids like tryptophan, and lysine
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

Consuming 100 gm of okra per day jazzes you up immensely as it easily digestible, and tastes great whether you cook it, fry it, or even have it raw (tender okra).

Many of you may not prefer to eat okra raw like maybe a carrot or beet, which has some natural sugars, but you might want to try it out considering the nutritional benefits.

Nutritional value in 100 gm raw okra

Energy 33 Kcal
Carbohydrates 7.45 gm
Sugars 1.48 gm
Dietary fiber 3.2 gm
Fat 0.19 gm
Protein 2 gm
Iron 0.62 mg
Calcium 82 mg
Magnesium 57 mg
Potassium 299 mg
Zinc 0.57 mg
Vitamin A 36 μg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.06 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1 mg
Vitamin C 23 mg
Vitamin E 0.27 mg
Vitamin K 31.3 μg
Water 90.19 gm

One of the greatest benefits of okra is its broad nutritional profile which is full of vitamins and minerals. It has very little amounts of sugar, and fat. Now, this might not be enough to sell you eating raw okra, but ancient people knew the medicinal benefits of okra and had used it as part of their ethnomedicine.

Medicinal properties and benefits of okra

Okra has been in use in ancient Indian medicine for its vast medicinal properties. Medicinal benefits of okra include:

  • Anti-fatigue: Reduces fatigue by lowering levels of blood lactic acid
  • Antioxidant: Okra pods contain active antioxidants
  • Antispasmodic: Relieves spasms in involuntary muscles
  • Anti-stress: Flavonoids in okra are known to reduce stress
  • Demulcent: Relieves irritation and inflammation
  • Diaphoretic: Induces sweating
  • Diuretic: Produces urination
  • Emollient: Softens the skin
  • Vulnerary: Heals wounds

Ancient Indian medicine used various parts to exploit the medicinal benefits of okra. The root was used to treat syphilis, and the sticky substance in okra was used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, kidney infections, and gastric problems.

Decoction of the roots was used to treat conditions like ulcers, and diabetes mellitus. Some people even used roasted seeds of okra to improve their diabetes.

Antidiabetic benefits of Okra 

Okra was used to treat diabetes from ancient times. The decoction of the leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, and the okra pod itself was used in medicinal preparations. Recent research also suggests that consumption of okra in the form of supplementation reduced the levels of fasting blood glucose levels, total cholesterol levels, and even reduced damage to pancreatic tissues.

How to use okra to reduce sugar levels?

  • Consume okra as a vegetable
  • Eat tender okra raw
  • Eat roasted seeds of okra
  • Okra powder with water
  • Drink okra water (soak cut okra in water for 24 hours. Squeeze the pod and drink the water)
  • Take supplements that has okra extract 

Remember, okra is not a cure for diabetes. It only helps you reduce blood sugar levels.

Anti-stress effects of okra

It is said the high content of magnesium, and amino acids like tryptophan helps people get over anxiety, depression, and stress disorder. The Flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins are mainly responsible for the anti-stress effects of okra.

Anti-fatigue benefits of okra

Fatigue is a common complaint among people these days. Be it stress from work, commute, family, or due to any illness, many people are suffering from chronic fatigue. Among the many mechanisms to cope up with stress and fatigue, consumption of okra pods is known to have many positive effects.

Because okra is full of antioxidants, polysaccharides, Flavonoids, and polyphenols, it is prescribed for its anti-fatigue benefits. These active compounds found in the skin, seeds, and pods of okra are known to relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue.     

Answer to the question of how much vegetables and fruits you need to consume – An adult should be consuming 200 gm of vegetables, and 100 gm fruit daily!

Now that you know about the benefits of okra, and the amount of vegetables and fruits you need to consume, head straight to the market and get your daily dose of good health.