Okra water. Photo.courtesy.

Okra water is the latest health trend to take TikTok by storm and proponents of a concoction claim that it has many health benefits, from helping to reduce weight and improve digestion to skin care.

The top TikTok video about #okrawater posted on the social media platform has millions of views and the health benefits claimed by activists may seem promising, the science behind these claims is unclear. Here’s what registered dietitians have to say about alcohol poisoning.

What is okra water?

Okra water is a homemade concoction that can be made by soaking okra pods (the edible part of the plant) in water for several hours or overnight.

The texture of the resulting juice is often described as viscous, due to its mucilage, a gelatinous substance found in many plants, including okra.

Okra, also known as lady’s finger, is native to Africa and is used in cooking around the world, including the southern United States, where it is baked, fried, or cooked with okra.

Although it is a botanical fruit because of its seeds, it is often used as a vegetable.

Okra contains many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other useful substances. It is also rich in fiber, which has many benefits, including better digestion.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of raw okra contains Protein, Fiber, Calcium, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus and other minerals with high nutrition value.

However, it is not known how many of these micronutrients enter okra juice and in what amounts thus research designed specifically on okra juice is needed to confirm this data. 

What okra water experts say

There is no doubt that okra itself provides many nutrients. Some studies show that vegetables can be linked to health benefits, such as better digestion and blood sugar control. However, the benefits of okra juice are yet to be ascertained.

“Okra juice can be considered a healthy drink if you like the taste and are looking for a low-calorie way to add flavor to your diet,” says Scott Keatley, RD, CDN, Secret Food in New York. “It has vitamins and antioxidants from okra, but you can’t just remove all the nutrients from the water and you’ll get almost no fiber, which is the real health benefit of okra.”

Here’s a closer look at what science has to say about the potential health benefits of okra juice.

Help with weight loss

There is no evidence that okra juice causes small bowel movements, however, evidence shows that okra can promote weight loss by increasing the feeling of satiety and satisfaction due to its high fiber content, and can reduce calorie intake, the dieter says Alyssa Simpson, RDN, owner of Nutrition Resolution in Phoenix, Arizona.

“In one study, a supplement containing okra powder and insulin showed promising results in helping obese people lose weight without becoming unhealthy, suggesting that it may be a healthy and effective option when combined with healthy food and lifestyle,” he says. 

Of course, more rigorous research is needed to determine whether okra alone in its natural form will have a similar effect, and it is not known how much fiber okra water contains, so these results cannot be translated into making the drink.

However, it is known that drinking water affects weight loss, especially if you replace soda and other sweetened beverages with high-calorie drinks. So, okra juice can indirectly affect weight loss.

Keatley says, “If you like it sweet, okra juice is a good low-calorie option, but adding juice to other fruits or vegetables you like can also support weight management. If you’re worried about the sugar content of other fruits, know that you’re still getting sugar from okra, just in the less-sweet form of galactose.”

Does it Okra help control blood sugar?

According to Simpson Alyssa, a small amount of research shows that okra can help control blood sugar levels, possibly because of its fiber content and compounds that reduce sugar absorption and improve insulin sensitivity.

In a study carried out on 120 people with type 2 diabetes, those who took okra capsules had lower blood sugar levels than those who took a placebo, suggesting that okra may be beneficial for controlling glycemia.

The type of okra used in this study is biased and further research is needed to determine whether the effects of eating okra or drinking okra juice will be similar.

Okra is rich in fiber, which is known to prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

It is important to note that okra can irritate people with digestive problems: “The carbohydrates and fiber in okra can cause digestive discomfort, especially in people with conditions like coronary artery disease,” says Simpson. 

So, be careful if you have a history of digestive problems.

Helps with hydration

Perhaps the biggest benefit of okra water is that it will help you stay hydrated.

“Okra juice is good for hydration because it’s mostly water,” Simpson says. “In addition, it provides electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, which help maintain the balance of water in the body.”

The U.S. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends drinking about 13 cups of water per day for men and about 9 cups per day for women.

Benefits for the skin

Okra is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can help nourish and protect the skin, Simpson said. 

“The antioxidants in okra may benefit the skin, but there is no hard evidence that okra juice is a magical elixir for skin health,” says Keatley. “Increased water intake is the most important factor for better skin.”

Okra is a nutritious plant-based food that many adults eat and there are no health risks in drinking okra juice for healthy people, although experts warn against exaggerating the health claims you can find on the Internet.

Still, some people may be cautious when eating okra and okra water: “People with a history of kidney stones should be careful since okra is high in oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones,” says Simpson. 

“In addition, the carbohydrates and fiber in okra can cause digestive upset, especially in people with conditions such as heart disease.”

Okra is packed with nutrients and can be a healthy part of your diet as it is a low-calorie drink that can be consumed regularly.