What is okra water | How to drink | When to drink | Benefits | Risks | Nutritional facts | Tips | FAQs
Okra, okro, gumbo and lady’s finger are all names for the same humble and nutritious vegetable.
Okra is a flowering plant that is native to Africa but is now grown in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The small, green pods of okra are often used in soups and stews, and side dishes.
This infamously slimy vegetable is now part of a new health trend: okra water. Let’s explore the benefits and risks of consuming okra water.
What is okra water?
Okra water is simply water that has been soaked in okra overnight. Okra is packed with nutrients. The peel and the seeds National Library of Medicine: Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats of raw okra are said to have anti-diabetic properties.
Its mucilage content is also said to be extremely soothing and beneficial for gut health. It has also been suggested that okra water may support weight loss.
Additionally, okra is a good source of fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, and manganese.
Soaking okra in water overnight allows the nutrients from the okra to infuse the water. This makes okra water a nutrient-rich beverage with many health benefits.
No wonder then, that okra water is a good source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can help to improve your overall health.
How to drink okra water?
Okra water is an easy and convenient way to get all the benefits of okra without having to eat the vegetable itself. As mentioned above, it is made by simply soaking okra pods in water overnight and then drinking that water the next day on an empty stomach.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare okra water:
- Choose fresh okra pods that are bright green in color and free from blemishes.
- Wash the okra pods thoroughly and slice them into thin pieces.
- Alternatively, you can pierce the ends of the okra pods with a fork.
- Place the okra slices in a jar or container and fill it with water.
- Cover the jar and let it sit overnight so that the nutrients from the okra can infuse into the water.
- The next morning, strain the water and drink it on an empty stomach.
If you’re not a fan of the taste of okra water, there are other ways to drink it. Some people also like to add a squeezed lemon for extra flavor.
You can add it to soups or stews, or mix it with other juices or smoothies. You can also freeze okra water into ice cubes and add them to your favorite beverage.
When to drink okra water?
Okra should be soaked overnight in water. The water should be consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Soaking overnight allows the okra time to release all of its nutrients into the water and drinking it on an empty stomach ensures that those nutrients are absorbed by the body more effectively.
This does not imply that okra water will not be beneficial at other times of the day. There is no wrong time to drink okra water, as long as you are doing it regularly.
Benefits of drinking okra water
There are many potential health benefits of drinking water infused with okra. Here are some of the most well-known ones:
1. May improve heart health
Okra is rich in fiber and antioxidants, both of which are important for cardiovascular health.
Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood, while antioxidants help to prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Okra water also has a diuretic effect, which may help to reduce high blood pressure.
In addition, the okra seeds contain a compound called pectin, which has been shown to help improve circulation and heart function.
Okra water has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
2. Good source of antioxidants
Okra water is a good source of antioxidants like vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, which are substances that protect the body against damage from free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that can cause cell damage, and they have been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer.
Antioxidants help to neutralize these free radicals, preventing them from causing damage. As a result, okra water can help to reduce the risk of disease and promote overall health.
3. May help in diabetes management
Okra water is rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which may help increase insulin sensitivity and aid blood sugar management.
Studies National Library of Medicine: Polysaccharide from Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) Improves Antioxidant Capacity via PI3K/AKT Pathways and Nrf2 Translocation in a Type 2 Diabetes Model on diabetic rats have shown that okra water can help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This suggests that okra water may be beneficial for people with diabetes, though more research is needed.
4. May boost immunity
Okra water might help to boost immunity, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants. These substances help to fight off infections and prevent free radical damage. Okra water is also a good source of vitamins C and A, both of which are essential for a healthy immune system. In addition, okra water contains compounds that can help to reduce inflammation.
5. Improves digestion
Okra is rich in insoluble fiber, which helps to add bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements.
Additionally, okra is a good source of mucilage, a type of soluble fiber that forms a gel-like substance when mixed with water and gives the okra water its characteristic slimy texture. This gel-like substance can help to soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation.
The antioxidants in okra can prevent gut inflammation. Okra is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients are all essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
6. May promote better mental health
Okra water is rich in certain nutrients that are inextricably connected to brain health. Primary among them is folate or folic acid. Folate has been linked to brain cell development.
The antioxidants in okra water can help to protect brain cells from damage. These nutrients may help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related mental decline.
As noted above the fiber and mucilage in okra benefits your gut function. This in turn can ensure the efficient functioning of the gut-brain axis National Library of Medicine: The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems, which is essential for healthy brain function.
7. May promote weight loss
Studies conducted on mice PubMed: Okra polysaccharide improves metabolic disorders in high-fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice with artificially induced obesity found that okra extracts led to significant weight loss over a period of 8 weeks. While more research is needed in this area (okra for weight loss), the initial findings suggest that okra water may be a helpful tool for weight loss. So if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, okra water may be worth a try.
Possible risks of consuming okra water
There are some possible risks associated with consuming okra water.
One of the main concerns is that okra water is high in fructans, which can cause digestive problems in people who are intolerant to this type of carbohydrate. Consuming too much okra water can lead to nausea and vomiting.
Some people may be allergic to okra, and drinking okra water can trigger an allergic reaction in such people.
While okra water offers many potential health benefits, it is important to be aware of these possible risks before consuming it.
Nutritional facts of okra
Raw okra is no slouch in the nutrition department. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Okra, raw National Nutrient Database, one cup (100 grams) of raw okra contains:
- Calories – 33 calories
- Protein – 1.93 grams
- Carbs – 7.45 grams
- Sugar – 1.5 grams
- Fiber – 3.2 grams
- Fat – 0.19 grams
The minerals and vitamins in okra include:
- Vitamin A – 36 mcg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.215 mg
- Vitamin B 11 (folate) – 60 mcg
- Vitamin C – 23 mg
- Vitamin K – 31 mg
- Sodium – 7 mg
- Potassium – 299 mg
- Calcium – 82 mg
- Thiamin – 0.2 mg
- Iron – 0.62 mg
- Copper – 0.109 mg
- Magnesium – 57 mg
- Phosphorus – 61 mg
- Zinc – 0.58 mg
Tips to Drink Okra Water
If you need more ideas on how to make okra water, or if you need creative ways to add this healthy beverage to your diet, here are some bonus tips:
- Add okra water to berries when making jelly or whisk it into a decadently rich and gooey mousse or fudge for extra thickness and nutrition.
- Strain the okra water to even out it’s consistency and add citrus juices like lemon or orange(and a dash of honey), to make a refreshing drink.
- Toss the okra water, frozen berries, yogurty and honey for a delicious smoothie. The potential combinations are endless when it comes to okra water smoothies.
- Use okra water as a natural thickener in sauces or soups. Cook the okra water down into a stew or soup for a thick, flavorful and healthy broth.
- Get creative with your recipes and add okra water while cooking your favorite dishes.
- Try drinking okra water green tea by infusing water with both okra pods and green tea overnight. This can be a healthy drink for diabetics.
- Alternatively, you can soak okra in coconut water. This will eliminate some of that raw okra flavor that may seem difficult to consume for some.
Okra water is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy this nutritious but infamously snotty vegetable.
It is important to be aware of the possible risks associated with consuming okra water, but when consumed in moderation, it can be a great addition to your diet. Be sure to try some of the tips above to make okra water healthier and tastier.
We have answered a few frequently asked questions about okra water below:
Is okra water a detox drink?
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that okra water is an effective detox drink. While okra water is nutritious and aids gut health, and prevents inflammation, it may not effectively detoxify the body all by itself.
Who should not drink okra water?
Individuals who are allergic to okra or have a known sensitivity to okra should avoid drinking okra water. Additionally, individuals with a history of oxalate kidney stones may need to limit their intake of okra due to its oxalate content.
Does okra clean out your system?
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that okra cleans out the system. While okra is a nutritious vegetable, it does not have specific properties that cleanse or detoxify the body.
How many days can I take okra water?
The recommended duration for consuming okra water or any other dietary supplement should be discussed with a healthcare professional. As with any dietary change, it is important to consider individual health conditions, potential interactions with medications, and overall diet and lifestyle.
|National Library of Medicine: Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats
|National Library of Medicine: Polysaccharide from Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) Improves Antioxidant Capacity via PI3K/AKT Pathways and Nrf2 Translocation in a Type 2 Diabetes Model
|National Library of Medicine: The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems
|PubMed: Okra polysaccharide improves metabolic disorders in high-fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice
|U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Okra, raw