Okra, also known as “lady’s fingers,” is a green flowering plant. It belongs to the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. The term “okra” most commonly refers to the edible seedpods of the plant.

Okra has long been a favorite food of the health-conscious. It contains many vitamins, such as vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, and folic acid. It’s also low in calories and has a high dietary fiber content.

Recently, scientists have begun considering a new benefit of including okra in your diet. Some suggest it may help manage blood sugar in cases of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

The jury is still out on whether okra may be effective as a direct diabetes treatment, but the okra plant does have many proven health benefits. Read on to see if okra could be a viable part of your diabetes treatment plan.


  1. Okra belongs to the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. The term okra most commonly refers to the edible seedpods of the plant.
  2. Okra contains magnesium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has a high dietary fiber content.
  3. Popular forms of okra for medicinal purposes include okra water, okra peels, and powdered seeds.
Was this helpful?

Medical research on okra for diabetes management is still in the early stages.

A 2023 systematic review and meta-analysis of eight clinical trials found okra reduced levels of fasting blood sugar among people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes but did not have a significant impact on HbA1c, a longer-term measure of blood sugar management.

Okra is high in fiber. Eight medium-sized pods contain around 3 grams of fiber.

This bulk fiber quality has several benefits. It helps digestion, cuts hunger cravings, and keeps those who eat it feeling fuller for longer.

Foods with a high fiber content are important to dietary treatment options for diabetes. An increased dietary fiber intake can promote better glycemic management and improve insulin sensitivity.

There is evidence that okra seed extracts have an antioxidant and antistress effect in the bloodstream.

In the long term, high stress levels can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Managing stress levels and mental health is an important part of managing diabetes, and using okra and its derivative seeds can help.

Research suggests okra can help lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat known as lipids, which are in your blood.

Experts recommend those with diabetes eat foods with high fiber content and antioxidant qualities because they lower cholesterol. People with diabetes are more likely to have unhealthy cholesterol levels.

The outlook isn’t good for people who have both high cholesterol levels and diabetes. That’s why it’s critical to ensure your diet has healthy cholesterol levels.

Some test tube and animal research indicates that using the okra plant may improve recovery times and fatigue levels.

By including okra in your diet and following a healthy exercise routine, you may be able to work out for longer and recover more quickly from exercise.

Cardiovascular activity is an essential part of preventing and treating diabetes. Consuming the okra plant may contribute to a more active lifestyle.

Okra comes in various forms.

Okra water

Drinking okra water is a popular new method of using okra. Some people even suggest that drinking it helps lessen diabetes symptoms. Research is yet to confirm this.

To make okta water, put okra pods in water and soak them overnight. The water absorbs some valuable nutrients in the skin and seed pods.

If you dislike the taste of okra, drinking okra water solution is a quick and simple way to derive the benefits of okra without eating it.

Some prefer to cut the okra into thin slices instead of soaking the pods whole. If you’re going to prepare okra water this way, be prepared for a slightly bitter drink.

It’s important to remember that okra water has no fiber.

Okra peel and powdered seeds

Okra peel is the most traditional way to use okra medicinally.

In preliminary studies investigating the benefits of using okra, researchers thought using shredded okra peel was the most favorable way to ingest it. You can prepare okra peel yourself by using a handheld kitchen grater or a lemon zester.

People let the seeds dry out before grinding them down to make powdered okra seeds. Research suggests ingesting the powder from the seeds as a supplement is also beneficial.

Making the powder is a bit time-consuming and labor-intensive, but you can easily buy powdered okra seeds from health food stores and online suppliers.

Okra extract in a capsule

You can also buy okra extract in capsule form from many health shops or online. This may benefit those who don’t like the taste or texture of okra.

Okra recipe ideas

The gel inside of okra is a thickening agent, making it a common ingredient in some soups and stews. You can start with a simple gumbo recipe if you’d like to use okra in your diet.

Pickled okra is another popular okra variation that replaces the bitterness of the okra pod with a sour taste. Pickling okra also softens the peel.

If you own a dehydrator, drying out okra pods and seasoning them with sea salt makes a tasty snack that can satisfy a craving for crunch.

If you’re already on a treatment plan for your diabetes, you should let your doctor know if you’re looking into holistic treatments like okra.

One 2011 study found that okra blocked the absorption of metformin, a drug doctors prescribe to help manage blood sugar levels.

If you’re taking metformin, okra is not something you should experiment with.

Here are some frequently asked questions about okra and diabetes.

Does okra reduce blood sugar?

A study from 2015 suggests okra can reduce blood sugar levels in pregnant rats with gestational diabetes. Further research among humans is necessary.

How do you prepare okra for diabetes?

You can prepare okra in many ways, including adding it to soups and stews or drinking okra water.

What are the side effects of eating okra?

Eating too much okra may have some side effects. Okra is high in oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stone formation.

There’s no conclusive medical research that proves okra is a natural cure for diabetes.

It’s important to understand that okra is definitely not an insulin replacement. Still, since it has so many possible benefits for those who have diabetes, okra may be worth trying alongside traditional treatment if your doctor agrees.

Make sure to speak with a doctor before making any changes to your diabetes treatment plan.