Is okra good for weight loss?

Okra, also known as ladies’ fingers or bhindi, is a green flowering plant that is cultivated for its edible green seed pods. Okra is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It has recently gained popularity as a food that may help promote weight loss. But is okra actually good for weight loss? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

Nutrition Facts of Okra

Okra is low in calories and rich in nutrients. A 100 gram serving of raw okra contains (1):

  • Calories: 33
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3.2 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 23% of the RDI
  • Folate: 22% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 15% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 13% of the RDI

As you can see, okra is very low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Its low calorie and high nutrient profile make it a great food option if you’re watching your weight.

Okra is High in Dietary Fiber

One of the main reasons okra may aid weight loss is due to its high fiber content.

A 100 gram serving contains 3.2 grams of fiber, which is over 10% of the daily value (2). Dietary fiber has many health benefits, including promoting feelings of fullness and reducing calorie intake (3).

Studies show that increasing your intake of fiber can help facilitate weight loss. According to one review, eating an extra 14 grams of fiber per day was linked to a 10% decrease in calorie intake and weight loss of around 4.5 pounds (2 kg) over a four-month period (4).

Okra’s high fiber content helps slow digestion and control blood sugar spikes after meals. By promoting fullness and controlling hunger and cravings, the fiber in okra may automatically reduce calorie intake and encourage weight loss (5).

Okra Contains Very Few Calories

Okra is one of the lowest calorie vegetables, providing only 33 calories in a 100 gram serving (1).

For its low calorie content, okra is high in nutrients like vitamin C, folate, magnesium and vitamin A.

Eating low calorie, highly nutritious foods like okra is an effective way to lose weight while still feeling satisfied and meeting your micronutrient needs.

Studies consistently link eating more low calorie fruits and vegetables to weight loss. One study in over 133,000 people found that eating more fruits and veggies was associated with a 24% decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese over a four-year period (6).

Okra May Help Lower Blood Sugar

Keeping blood sugar levels stable is key to appetite control and weight management. Okra has antidiabetic effects and may help lower blood sugar levels.

In one study, subjects were given okra water extract before a glucose solution. Okra extract was able to reduce their blood sugar spike by over 35% compared to the control group (7).

Another study showed that consuming 500 mg per day of dried okra peel powder for 28 days decreased fasting blood sugar levels by over 13% in participants with diabetes (8).

The fiber in okra helps slow sugar absorption, while other compounds may improve insulin sensitivity. By stabilizing blood sugar, okra helps prevent hunger and cravings associated with blood sugar fluctuations.

Okra Contains Fat-Fighting Compounds

Some of the compounds found in okra may help fight fat.

One study fed mice a high-fat diet supplemented with okra extract for eight weeks. The okra extract prevented weight gain and lipid accumulation in the mice (9).

Researchers believe okra’s anti-obesity effects may be due to its antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and isoquercitrin, which inhibit the absorption of lipids and fat.

Further studies are needed, but the results suggest that compounds in okra may help fight obesity at the molecular level.

Okra Helps Promote Healthy Digestion

Okra contains insoluble fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy by providing bulk (10).

Regularly eating insoluble fiber helps maintain regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Easing constipation can help promote weight loss and reduce bloating.

Okra also contains gut-healthy probiotics, which provide good bacteria that promote regularity and healthy digestion (11).

Healthy digestion minimizes bloating and gas, optimizes nutrient absorption, and regulates appetite-controlling hormones like ghrelin and leptin.

Okra Contains Antioxidants

Okra contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and may help protect against chronic disease when eaten as part of a healthy diet.

Studies show that eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables promotes weight loss.

One review of over 1,800 people found that intakes of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids and flavonoids were associated with more weight loss (12).

Okra is high in antioxidants, including flavonoids like quercetin and antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein (13).

Eating antioxidant-rich foods like okra may have a preventative effect against obesity.

Okra Water May Enhance Weight Loss

Drinking okra water, made by soaking okra pods in water, is a popular home remedy for weight loss.

Some research indicates okra water may help reduce fat absorption and decrease calorie intake when consumed before meals.

In one study, rats fed okra water before meals ate less food and gained less weight and fat than the control group (14).

Another study found that okra water decreased fat absorption in rats fed a high-fat diet, compared to rats given plain water (15).

Though human research is lacking, some experts believe the mucilage in okra water binds to cholesterol and fat, preventing absorption and aiding weight loss.

Okra Recipes for Weight Loss

Below are some healthy and delicious recipes incorporating okra:

Roasted Okra


  • 1 lb fresh okra, washed and dried
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Trim ends off okra and slice into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Place okra on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and sea salt.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes until browned, stirring halfway.

Okra Stew


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lb okra, sliced
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Cook onion for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  4. Add broth, tomatoes, okra, chickpeas, paprika, cumin and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until okra is tender.
  6. Serve warm.

Lemon Okra Salad


  • 1 lb okra, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine okra, cucumber, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic and parsley in large bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Potential Downsides of Okra for Weight Loss

While okra is linked to several weight loss benefits, there are a few downsides to consider:

  • May cause bloating and gas: Okra contains FODMAPs, a type of carbohydrate that some people don’t digest well, leading to gas and bloating.
  • Goitrogens: Okra contains goitrogens, compounds that may interfere with thyroid function by inhibiting iodine uptake.
  • Pesticide residue: Okra tends to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, so it’s best to buy organic.
  • Oxalates: Okra contains oxalate compounds that may contribute to kidney stones in some.

People with thyroid issues, gut sensitivities, or kidney problems may want to avoid eating large amounts of okra.


Okra is a nutritious, low-calorie food that provides dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and potent plant compounds.

Research suggests okra may promote feelings of fullness, improve blood sugar control, decrease fat absorption, and contain antioxidants that protect against chronic disease.

Including okra as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet may help facilitate weight loss. Try roasting okra, adding it to stews, or making okra water.

However, more human studies are needed to determine okra’s direct effects on weight. Overall, okra can be a tasty addition to a vegetable-rich, low-calorie diet to support your weight loss goals.

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