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Okra Could Help Treat Diabetes and Cardiovascular Problems

OkraThat green mushy veggie that’s popular in the South? It’s okra, and you’ve probably eaten some iteration of it (say, fried or pickled). And chances are good that you hated it.

Well, you may want to reconsider your love of okra.

A new study shows that two of the flavonoids in okra can help regulate sugar and fat metabolism, which could be helpful in reducing the risk of diabetes.

Of course, the study was performed on mice, so it’s unclear if this will hold true in humans.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Chinese researchers gave obese mice water that contained a concentrated extract of minced okra for two weeks. Meanwhile, a separate group received water without okra.

They found that okra-drinking mice had lower glucose and insulin levels, lower levels of triglycerides (“bad” cholesterol) and they were able to prevent the development of fatty liver disease.

In another experiment, the two flavonoids in okra were mixed with high-fat food and fed to the obese mice. They found that these obese mice had lower glucose and triglyceride levels and improved liver function, compared to the mice that received flavonoid-free food. And when young, lean mice given high-fat food with flavonoids for six weeks, the researchers found that the mice gained less weight and had lower triglycerides and cholesterol than the non-flavonoid-eating mice.

But it turns out you’d have to eat a lot of okra before it could help prevent diabetes. The amount of okra given to the mice was massive. It’s the equivalent of a person eating 3 pounds of okra a day!

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