Okra is fast emerging as a super food for a healthy diet for diabetes, especially for people with this lifestyle disease. Commonly known as ladyfinger, okra has been proven to have tremendous positive effect on blood sugar control. This tall growing vegetable as part of diet for diabetes traces back its origin from Ethiopia through to Eastern Mediterranean, India, the Americas and the Caribbean.
Parts of the plant, in other words the semi-grown pods, are extensively used in the tropical countries and typically used for making soups, stews or a fried or boiled vegetable. This food for diabetics is part of type 2 diabetes diet and is extremely low in calories, providing just 30 calories per 100g, and with no saturated fats or cholesterol, okra is extremely rich in nutrients and is completely non-toxic.
Okra as Food for a Diabetic Patient
A diabetic patient in India cannot escape two significantly important food for diabetics – karela and okra. As a diabetic food, having a low glycemic index of below 20, it is highly useful to balance high blood sugar, so much so that even the water of okra soaked overnight when taken on empty stomach has tremendous impact on blood sugars. In the diet plan for diabetes, the other health benefits of okra as food to control diabetes include:
- Preventing and improving constipation.
- Lowering cholesterol.
- Reducing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer.
- Improving energy levels and improving symptoms of depression.
- Helping to treat sore throat, irritable bowel, ulcers and lung inflammation.
Preparing Okra – Foods that Controls Diabetes
Eaten raw, cooked, steamed and fried, okra can be prepared as follows:
- Add them to soups and stews. However washing them properly is very essential as they are sprayed with pesticides and insecticides. You can also opt for the organic variety.
- After removing the top pods and bottom tips, you can cut and slice the pods as desired.
- Then chop or slice the pods for frying or stewing under low heat oil. This will soften the mucilaginous content.
- Okra serves as a great vegetable for preserving as pickle.
- The leaves of okra can also be cooked or even eater raw as salads.
- Another interesting way to cook okra is to blanch them for about 3-4 minutes and drain and dry prior to slicing them. Then add the okra to the dish in the end which will lower the moisture content.
- Okra can also be shallow dried, which serves as the most commonly used method to cook.
Health Benefits of Okra
Being a rich source of dietary fibre, vital vitmains and minerals, okra is full of antioxidants and is known as the ultimate health enhancer given the following benefits:
- Preventing and improving constipation
- Reducing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer
- Lowering cholesterol
- Helping to treat sore throat, irritable bowel, ulcers and lung inflammation
- Improving energy levels and improving symptoms of depression
Diabetics should add okra as their foods to eat for diabetes after consulting their healthcare professional or personalized diabetes educator. Also, it is important to keep monitoring your blood sugar levels using a glucometer to keep your blood sugar levels in control. The glucometer readings are synced to a diabetes management app which records all the readings.