Okra, that staple of Southern cooking, may be a useful dietary treatment for Type 2 diabetes and obesity-related heart conditions, new research shows.
According to a laboratory study reported in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
, Okra is packed with disease-fighting compounds called flavonoids that may help to regulate glucose and fat metabolism through proteins in the liver, the Wall Street Journal
Researchers in China minced okra to produce an extract that was fed to obese mice for two weeks. A second group of obese mice were fed okra-free diets, as a comparison.
The results showed glucose and insulin levels in the okra-fed mice were significantly lower than in those of untreated mice, though okra had no effect on weight or food intake. Triglycerides, a type of fat linked to heart disease, were also reduced in okra-treated mice. And the okra appeared to prevent the development of fatty liver disease.
While the findings are promising, researchers noted the dosage of okra given to the mice was equivalent to a person eating more than three pounds of okra a day.
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