Okra is believed to help stabilize blood sugar levels, reports Healthline. Animal studies in 2011 demonstrated that okra reduced the absorption of glucose, reducing blood sugar levels in rats as a result. Okra is also high in fiber, which prevents spikes in blood sugar.
While okra can be consumed directly, the purported diabetic benefits come from soaking the vegetable overnight in water and then drinking the water in the morning, according to Healthline. The 2011 study sliced and soaked okra pods in water, then fed rats the solution. Another study fed diabetic rats with powdered okra seed and peel extract, then concluded that high doses of okra were safe and significantly lowered blood sugar levels. As of 2015, research has not been done on humans.
One concern that researchers noted was that okra seemed to cancel out the effects of metformin, a medication used to manage blood sugar, warns Healthline. It is possible that consuming too much okra can cause patients taking metformin to see their blood sugar levels rise instead of fall.
While okra water may be beneficial for diabetic patients, it does not cure diabetes, states Healthline. Patients should still watch their diets, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight. Okra has other health benefits as well, having a low glycemic index and being filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.