Type 2 diabetes means a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Overtime, unchecked blood sugar levels can hike a person’s risk of developing life-threatening complications such as heart disease. Fortunately, making simple dietary tweaks can help to keep blood sugar levels in check. Evidence suggests eating okra provides its health benefits.
Okra is a tall growing vegetable that has been touted for its myriad health benefits. As Diabetes.co.uk explained, growing evidence suggests okra contains blood sugar-lowering properties.
In one study, published 2011 in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences, researchers in India found that diabetic mice fed dried and ground okra peels and seeds experienced a reduction in their blood glucose levels, while others showed a gradual decrease in blood glucose following regular feeding of okra extract for about ten days.
Anecdotally, reports Diabetes.co.uk, many people with diabetes have reported decreasing blood sugar levels after soaking cut-up okra pieces in water overnight and then drinking the juice in the morning, while in Turkey roasted okra seeds have been used as a traditional diabetes medicine for generations.
Evidence suggests the insoluble fibre found in okra helps stabilise blood glucose by slowing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
Because okra is a rich source of dietary fibre, important vitamins and minerals, and powerful antioxidants, the vegetable is known to pack other health benefits too.
- 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
As a general rule, a low-carb diet offers a robust defence against rising blood sugar levels, according to research.
One study found that patients with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to regulate blood sugar levels if they eat food with a reduced carbohydrate content and an increased share of protein and fat.
In addition, the findings also found that this dietary approach reduces liver fat content and also has a beneficial effect on fat metabolism in type 2 diabetics.
Commenting on the findings, senior Consultant, DMSc Thure Krarup, MD, from the Department of Endocrinology at Bispebjerg Hospital said: “The study shows that by reducing the share of carbohydrates in the diet and increasing the share of protein and fat, you can both treat high blood sugar and reduce liver fat content.”
Adding: “Further intensive research is needed in order to optimise our dietary recommendations for patients with type 2 diabetes.”
Other ways to regulate blood sugar levels
Keeping active will also help a person to lower their blood sugar levels.
As the NHS explained, exercise also helps people to control their weight, which is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and a dangerous precursor to more serious complications.
The NHS recommends people do at least 2.5 hours of physical activity every week.
“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” noted the health body.
This could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
Symptoms may include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision