12 Benefits of Drinking Okra Water You Need to Know About

The okra plant or Abelmoschus esculentus is a flower-producing plant also commonly referred to as ‘lady’s fingers.’ In the Deep South of the USA, it is… Simi - May 24, 2018

The okra plant or Abelmoschus esculentus is a flower-producing plant also commonly referred to as ‘lady’s fingers.’ In the Deep South of the USA, it is a vital ingredient in gumbo. It is called ‘Bhindi’ in Hindi and ‘Vendakkai’ in Tamil. It is widely used in cooking across various cultures. Okra is seldom eaten on its own but more often included in the recipes for gumbos, soups, etc., as it adds a unique flavor to the meal.

Okra’s exact origins are unknown, and although it is today widely grown in gardens around the world, it is best suited to cultivation in warm and temperate climates. The okra plant has many medicinal properties, and the most common way in which you can consume it is by drinking okra water. Okra water can be prepared by cutting off the ends of 4 okra pods. Next, place the two pods in the equivalent of 3-4 glasses of water and cover it with a plate.

A sticky liquid will ooze out of the pods as soon as they are slit. It is best to leave the pods to soak in the water overnight. After doing this, remove the pods from the water. Drink the okra water.

Make okra water daily in this way. Okra and by default okra water are an acquired taste. Okra contains a significant number of vitamins and minerals, most notably Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6 and folic acid. It also includes calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, and dietary fiber. Okra is rich in anti-oxidants.

1. Okra water can assist the digestive process

One of the essential components of a healthy digestive system is sufficient fiber. Fiber is also referred to as roughage. It is the part of a plant that one cannot digest. However, it gets processed through the digestive system. As it moves through the system is provides several benefits.

The two types of dietary fiber you get are soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves on contact with water. It forms a gelatinous substance which slowly moves through the digestive system. Because it runs so slowly, it gives the digestive system time to absorb all the necessary nutrients from the food that you can consume. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in contact with water but passes through the digestive system, aiding in the flow of the food and adding bulk to the stool. It increases the regularity of the bowel movement. Both types of fiber are essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Many people who report minor problems with their digestive systems say great success with including more soluble and insoluble fiber in their diets. In the event of serious digestive system conditions, the use of fiber in the diet will be used in conjunction with medication prescribed by a medical healthcare professional.

Okra contains high levels of fiber which are essential for healthy digestion. Some of this fiber is passed to the water when the okra pod is cut open. So, you are improving your fiber intake by drinking okra water. One of the most significant shortcomings of the modern diet is a lack of fiber. A lack of fiber in the gut can cause conditions such as diverticulitis and hemorrhoids. To avoid this, you can get into the habit of drinking okra water daily.

 2. Okra water prevents constipation and diarrhea

Constipation is a painful condition that affects many people. When a person is constipated, their bowel movements are irregular, and sometimes the bowel doesn’t move for several days. It is caused when the stool remains in the bowel for too long. Because it isn’t moving, the water from the stool is absorbed by the colon, leaving the stool dehydrated and hard. In most instances, constipation isn’t caused directly by a particular condition or illness. In fact, its causes can sometimes be challenging to identify.

One of the most essential, natural ways to treat constipation is to increase the amount of fiber in the diet. Both soluble and insoluble fiber is necessary at this stage as both are needed to help get the bowel moving again. The soluble fiber introduces more water into the stool that immediately softens it. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and speeds up its passage through the bowel. A regular intake of okra water will help to maintain proper fiber levels in the bowel and prevent constipation.

Diarrhea can have a sudden onset. There are multiple reasons that a person may contract diarrhea. It can have its roots in viral infection (such as rotavirus), bacterial infection (such as salmonella or food poisoning), parasitic infestation (such as tapeworm), intestinal disorders (such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome), medications (such as antibiotics), and food intolerance or allergies. When a person has diarrhea, the stool is loose because there is too much water in the colon.

Diarrhea can be treated using soluble fiber. Increasing the intake of soluble fiber helps with the absorption of the excess water in the bowel that firms up a loose stool. Drinking okra water on a daily basis will ensure reasonable levels of soluble fiber in the bowel.In most cases, of mild constipation or diarrhea, additional fiber intake can remedy the situation quite quickly. However, if symptoms persist, you can consult a medical healthcare professional for treatment.

3. Okra water can help reduce cholesterol

Increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your diet can help to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is the ‘bad cholesterol’ that causes clogging of the arteries and heart disease. Our bodies need cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an excess of cholesterol can be dangerous. High levels of cholesterol can be an inherited condition, but it is more often than not caused by a poor diet. This includes a diet that contains too many saturated fats and trans-fats.

When a person has high cholesterol, the fatty deposits that it causes in the arteries and veins reduces their width and prevents blood from flowing through the heart and to the brain and the rest of the body. Decreased blood flow can cause the blood to become less oxygen-rich, which can render the heart unable to function optimally which may result in a heart attack. A decreased supply of blood to the brain can result in a stroke.

People with dangerously high levels of cholesterol are prescribed a cholesterol-lowering medication by a healthcare professional. However, we recommend that must make lifestyle changes such as engaging in more exercise and following a healthier diet. One of the ways they can do so is to drink okra water on a daily basis. This is because okra water is rich in soluble fiber.

The reason that soluble fiber helps with cholesterol is that it reduces the rate of the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream, thereby preventing it from accumulating in the blood vessels. Lower levels of cholesterol reduce the chances of suffering from the coronary or cardiovascular disease.

4. Okra water can improve your vision

Okra water contains good levels of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene which are beneficial to the health of the eye and vision in general. Vitamin A is good for the eyes and the immune system. It is a fat-soluble vitamin. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that helps give vegetables their attractive colors. It is good for one’s vision and general growth and development. Vitamin A is present in a variety of foods, but Beta-carotene is only present in vegetables.

The reason Vitamin A is good for the health of the eye is that it helps to prevent macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a condition that causes the deterioration of the macula. The macula is the small center of the retina that controls the levels of vision the eye has. When the macula deteriorates, it results in vision loss. This is one of the leading causes of vision loss across the more, with more cases of macular degeneration than glaucoma and cataracts.

Not only does Vitamin A help to combat macular degeneration, but it also acts against inflammation of the eye and protects it from developing infections. Beta-carotene converts into Vitamin A when it enters the body, so it performs many of the same functions as Vitamin A. Also, as a carotenoid, Beta-Carotene eliminates some of the stress that our eyes suffer as a result of exposure to blue light from both the sun and the screens of various electronic devices.

With making a glass of okra water part of your daily routine, you are giving your body (and especially your eyes) a boost of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene which is much needed to keep your eyes sharp and healthy.

5. Okra water is an essential component of skin care and scar healing

The most beneficial vitamins for skin health are Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Okra does not contain much Vitamin D, although Vitamin D is usually supplied to the skin using exposure to sunlight. Vitamin C is an ingredient in most anti-aging products. That is because it is found in the epidermis (outer layer) of the skin as well as the dermis (inner layer) of the skin.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which means that it can help to fight cancer. It also plays a role in the production of collagen which is the skin’s connective tissue. Collagen is vital as it helps to heal wounds on the skin and can prevent wrinkles as well. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant just like Vitamin C. It protects the skin when it gets exposed to harsh sunlight. This minimizes the damage done by harmful UV rays which can cause skin discoloration and wrinkles. Vitamin E is also known to help scars to heal and fade. It also keeps the skin moisturized.

Vitamin K is necessary to help the blood to clot when the body is wounded, bruised or burnt. Vitamin K can also help with skin conditions such as scars, discoloration, dark circles under the eyes, and stretch marks.

The antioxidant properties of Vitamin A are also useful in terms of skin care as they destroy free radicals which cause harm to the skin. Any antioxidants detoxify the blood which can reduce acne and other skin diseases. All these critical skin care and scar healing vitamins are available in okra which is why including a daily glass of okra water to your diet can be beneficial to your skin.

6. Okra water can give your immune system a boost

Vitamin C is well known for its immune-boosting properties. During the winter months, people frequently up their Vitamin C intake to prevent nasty colds and bouts of flu. The immune system works by continually sending out its soldiers to fight the war against various viruses and bacteria. The non-specific immune system which kicks into gear the minute some threat is detected is mainly made up of white blood cells. In fact, a white blood cell count is often used as a yardstick to determine the health of a person’s immune system.

White blood cells fight off these undetermined attackers and prevent infections. Quite often, the body gets attacked, and the immune system responds, and the person isn’t even aware that there was a threat at all. The non-specific immune system will come into play when the non-specific immune system fails to defeat the invading virus or bacteria. There is a lot of Vitamin C in our white blood cells.

White blood cells in our respiratory tracts protect us against airborne diseases. They are very rich in Vitamin C. A high presence of Vitamin C is needed in the white blood cells for them to fight off any infections that threaten the body efficiently. The human body is unable to synthesize or make its Vitamin C supplies. That is why rely on our daily diets as well as supplements to give our bodies enough Vitamin C.

On an average, an adult can have an intake of about 80mg of Vitamin C a day. With a proper diet of foods rich in Vitamin C, you can achieve this without the need to take supplements on an ongoing basis. As okra contains a high percentage of Vitamin C, okra water is the perfect addition to your daily diet to make sure your body is getting enough Vitamin C for the body’s army to do its job.

7. Okra water can help lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure is known as the ‘silent’ killer and is becoming a prevalent condition across society. Your blood pressure is the measure of the force your blood applies to the blood vessels as it pumps through the heart and around the body. High blood pressure means that excessive pressure is being put on the blood vessels. This makes the heart work harder than necessary which can lead to hardened arteries which cannot function well, a stroke, kidney disease, and eventual heart failure. Very often, people are not aware that they have a problem with blood pressure until it is at a severe level.

High blood pressure is called hypertension. Several factors can cause it. In some instances, it is hereditary, while in others, it begins with poor lifestyle choices (such as excessive drinking and smoking as well as obesity), bad diet and a lack of exercise. Another well-known cause of hypertension is too much salt in the diet.

When there is too much salt in the diet, it disrupts the balance between potassium and sodium in the body, which hurts the kidneys. Overeating salt raises the sodium level in the body. When the sodium level and potassium level are not compatible, it makes the job of the kidneys to filter excess fluid from the blood and send it to the bladder. This can lead to excessive fluid in the kidneys which raise the blood pressure.

While patients with hypertension should decrease their salt intake, and it is also advisable that they increase their potassium intake to achieve the necessary balance between the two in the body. There is a good deal of potassium in okra, which is why okra water is a helpful addition to the daily diet.

8. Okra water can help with bone strength

The relevant component of okra that is related to improving bone strength is a B Vitamin called folate. Folate is more commonly known as folic acid. Studies have shown a correlation between decreased folic acid levels and weakened bone strength. When someone has a lack of folic acid in their body, elevated homocysteine increases the risk of fractures and breaks.

Homocysteine is an amino acid which means that it is a building block of proteins. And proteins are well-known to be essential to bone integrity. When proteins break down into their original components, there will be increased homocysteine levels in the blood. This is associated with a folic acid deficiency. As a B Vitamin, folic acid is vital for providing energy to the body. Continuous bone building and maintenance requires energy.  Bone density is the amount of bone mineral in the bone.

It is tested to determine if a patient has osteoporosis, as lowered bone density causes this condition. Bone density is at its highest during adolescent years but tends to decline steadily after that, with post-menopausal women most at risk. That is why it is important to include foods rich in folic acid in the diet.

Where a person has elevated homocysteine levels, dietary changes can affect these levels. Including more folic acid in the diet will improve homocysteine levels and reduce the risk of fractures. Taking folic acid during pregnancy is also important is it is critical to the development of the fetus’s bones. Okra contains good levels of folate, which means that drinking okra water daily will help to maintain bone density and health.

9. Okra water can reduce the risk of asthma attacks

The antioxidant properties of vitamins get linked to a reduction in the severity of asthma attacks. People living with Asthma tend to have lower antioxidant levels than non-sufferers. The rate of asthma diagnosis is rising. Researchers suggest that the modern Western diet does not contain enough antioxidants due to fewer fresh fruits and vegetables forming part of it linking it to increased incidences of asthma.

During a comparison between consumers of the Western diet and those that followed a Mediterranean diet which contains more antioxidants, fewer incidences of asthma were observed in Mediterranean diet followers. Therefore, small studies show a link between increased antioxidants in the body and improved asthma control and lung function in asthma sufferers.

Pulmonary and oxidative stress cause asthma, as this causes increased allergic inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract. An insufficient quantity of antioxidants in the body will mean that it cannot fight the oxidants that are causing asthma. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals in oxidants which are present in the lungs of people with asthma. The three main antioxidant vitamins are Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

Increasing the consumption of these vitamins mean that the levels of antioxidants in the blood will rise.Antioxidants are also present in the minerals copper, zinc and selenium. These minerals are also found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Okra contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta-carotene (Vitamin A). It also provides copper and selenium. It is, therefore, a rich source of antioxidants. You can boost your daily intake of antioxidants by including okra water in your diet.

10. Okra water can help with the treatment of diabetes

First and foremost, it must be clear that okra has some anti-diabetic properties which may prevent the onset of diabetes and which can help to lower blood sugar levels, it is NOT a cure for diabetes. In early 2014, a post on social media claiming that okra water could make diabetes go away and eliminate the need for insulin went viral. View such posts with skepticism. Consult a healthcare professional before taking any drastic steps with regards to a program of treatment and medications.

The consistency of the carbohydrates in okra do help to slow the uptake of sugar into the body. It reduces the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream. That means that sugar that the body would have absorbed during digestion gets eliminated from the body as waste. In people living with diabetes, this can help to even out their sugar levels so that they become more even and less erratic.

For those who are pre-diabetic, there is a chance that introducing okra to the diet can balance the sugar levels out before they reach diabetic levels. Some study, research, and development in this area are in their infancy. You can do more before we can say that okra will replace insulin for the treatment of diabetes. Diabetes can be an inherited condition.

Therefore, if there is a family history of diabetes, it would be a good idea to incorporate okra water into the diet as a preventative measure, although this is not a guarantee that you will not develop diabetes. However, anyone can benefit from the anti-diabetic properties of okra which reduce the absorption of sugar into the body.

11. Okra water can help eliminate anemia

Anemia is a deficiency of healthy red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs, muscles, and tissues. When insufficient oxygen gets delivered to the body, the anemia sufferer will experience fatigue and weakness. There are different types of anemia. Each one has its cause. Some are mild, and others are life-threatening.  Some are temporary, and others are permanent.

Most commonly, anemia begins when the body doesn’t make enough red blood cells, when the body destroys its red blood cells, or when the body can’t produce enough red blood cells to replace those lost during an episode of bleeding. The red blood cells produced in the body are called hemoglobin. They contain an iron-rich protein. When there is a deficiency in iron in the body, hemoglobin manufacture reduces which can result in anemia. As well as iron, the body needs folate (folic acid) and Vitamin B12 to produce hemoglobin.

These are the most common causes of anemia, although there are others such as aplastic anemia (when the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells) or hemolytic anemia (when the body cannot produce enough red blood cells to replace those destroyed). If you are suffering from anemia caused by an iron, folate or Vitamin B12 deficiency, you can treat it with supplements.

Okra contains iron and folate and can be used to increase their levels in the blood. Drinking okra water every day may not eliminate the need for supplements to treat mild cases of anemia, but it can reduce supplement requirement. To treat anemia one must consume vitamin and mineral rich diet.

12. Okra water can help with weight loss

One of the first things a nutritionist or dietician will suggest to someone who wants to lose weight is to eat foods with a low GI. These are foods that are low on the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on glucose levels in the blood. When food ranks low on the GI, it means that it gets slowly digested and metabolized and causes a lower, slower rise in blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates are essential to the body, and you cannot cut them out of your diet to lose weight. Carbs are the fuel on which our bodies run. They provide the body with energy so that we can function. But there are ‘good’ carbohydrates and ‘bad’ carbohydrates. ‘Bad’ carbohydrates are high on the GI with a rating of 70 or more.  A medium rating is 56-69. ‘Good’ carbohydrates are low on the GI with a ranking of 55 or less.

Potatoes, short-grained rice, and white bread are high on the GI. Orange juice and honey are in the GI’s medium range. Beans, milk, pasta, and fruit are low on the GI and therefore considered healthier. Low GI foods are suitable for people with diabetes as they cause less of a blood glucose rise than high GI foods.

Low GI foods are rated as the most filling and can act as appetite suppressants which is why they have an association with weight loss. They keep the eater satisfied for longer and can also help to control cravings. Okra is a low GI food, which is why incorporating it into the diet can promote and sustain weight loss in the long-term.