Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas organ in the body can no longer produce enough insulin, where the insulin acts as blood sugar-regulating hormone. Lack of insulin production causes the blood sugar continues to rise only in the blood and cannot be distributed into the body’s cells. If this condition continues, diabetes will cause various complications in the organ damage and leads to morbidity and mortality.
Mostly, diabetes is managed using pharmacologic agents which are prescribed by the doctor. However, many kinds of research have been held recently to find the alternative medicines to treat diabetes using traditional medicinal plants. One of the medicinal plants that have been proven can treat diabetes is okra. Okra is a green seed pod plant which is known as lady’s finger in English. The benefits of Okra for diabetes have been researched several times. This plant proves can stabilize blood sugar in a normal level through several mechanisms:
1. Okra inhibits the carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes.
If the metabolizing enzyme of carbohydrate is inhibited, the calories produced can decrease and it’s lowering the blood glucose level.
2. Okra enhances the insulin sensitivity.
One of the benefits of the okra for diabetes is enhancing the insulin sensitivity. The normal level of insulin sensitivity can detect the increasing of blood sugar levels effectively so that the mechanism of action for lowering the blood glucose can be done immediately.
3. Okra helps the regeneration of damaged pancreatic islet β-cells.
Pancreatic islet β-cells are the cells that responsible for producing insulin. If the β-cells of the pancreas in damaged condition, the pancreas can no longer produce the insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels.
4. Okra enhances the insulin secretion and release.
The secretion of insulin is very important to control the blood glucose level. If the glucose level is too high, the insulin will bring it down immediately by distributing these sugars into body cells to be used as an energy source.
5. Okra has the high dietary fiber which is good for absorbing the food.
Eight medium-sized of okra are estimated containing 3 grams of fiber. The high fiber inside is important to help the glucose absorption from the intestine and then distributes to cells organs all over the body. This mechanism becomes the benefits of okra for diabetes to prevent the accumulation of glucose in the blood so the blood glucose can stay in the normal level.
In addition to the above mechanisms for lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics, the benefits of okra for diabetes come from its nutrient contents. Per 100 grams okra contain nutritional value as follow:
|Energy||138 kJ (33 kcal)|
|Dietary Fiber||3.1 g|
|Vitamin A||36 μg (5%)|
|Thiamine (B1)||0.2 mg (17%)|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.06 mg (5%)|
|Niacin (B3)||1 mg (7%)|
|Vitamin C||23 mg (28%)|
|Vitamin E||0.27 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin K||31.3 μg (30%)|
|Calcium||82 mg (8%)|
|Iron||0.61 mg (5%)|
|Magnesium||57 mg (16%)|
|Potassium||299 mg (6%)|
|Zinc||0.58 mg (6%)|
|Source: USDA Nutrient Database|
Based on that nutritional content, okra can help to prevent the diabetes complications to the other organs. Here are the other uses of okra for diabetes complication:
- Okra contains antioxidants from its vitamin C contained which can prevent many organ complications such as heart disease, hepatitis, and many other infections.
- Okra is rich in vitamin B which can prevent neuropathy complication in diabetes. Neuropathy becomes one of nervous system complication from diabetes where the diabetic persons experience in numbness or tingling in their hands or feet.
- Okra contains vitamin E to maintain the healthy skin. Most diabetic patient has dry and itchy skin if their blood glucose level in high level. Vitamin E contained in the okra can help to minimize the symptom that may appear on the skin. This is one of the great effect of okra for diabetes.
You can get the benefits of okra for diabetes through consuming it whether in raw or cooked. There are several ways to consume the okra:
- Okra water
Drinking the okra water is the most often method to get the benefits of okra for diabetes recently. Here are the steps to make the okra water:
- Wash 4 medium size of okra pods.
- Cut off both ends of the pods.
- Split the okra in half.
- Place the okra into a glass and fill them with clean water (room temperature).
- Soak the okra overnight.
- Squeeze the okra pods gently before removing from the water.
- Remove the okra and drink the water.
- Okra Peel.
Okra peel is the traditional way to use okra for treating diabetes. You have only used 1 okra to get the benefits of okra for treatment of diabetes. Here are the steps to make okra peel:
- Wash 1 medium size of okra pod.
- Dry the okra at room temperature until there is no water left on the pod.
- Peel the pod using a handheld kitchen grater.
- Collect the okra peel in one dry place.
- Eat ½ – 1 teaspoon of okra peel once a day.
3. Powdered okra seeds.
Powdered okra seeds have been widely sold in health food stores. You can also get them from the online shop. However, if you want to make them by yourself, follow these following steps:
- Wash the okra in normal temperature water.
- Dry out the okra pods in the sun.
- Ground down the dried okra using a grinder.
- Place them in the sealed dry place.
- Eat them about ½ – 1 teaspoon once in a day.
4. Okra as a dish.
Besides all of those raw okras, you can also cook the okra into various dishes such as sautéed okra or okra soup and stew to get the benefits of okra for diabetes. Okra has a bitterness taste. Make sure to combine them with a sweet or sour taste.
The benefits of okra for diabetes and how to consume it have been explained above. Be careful if you consume the diabetic drug, especially metformin. They have an interaction that may raise your blood glucose level. Consult with your doctor to get the best solution.
Always remember that all of the therapy in the world can’t be done in one or two days. You need a discipline and consistency to get an optimal cure and prevention for diabetes.