Are Okra Water's Benefits Legit? RDs Weigh In on TikTok's Claims

Okra water is the latest concoction to make waves on social media. While okra, also known as lady's-finger, may be more frequently found on a dinner plate, drinking water infused with this veggie has people raving about the health benefits.

Okra water is simply the result of soaking those fuzzy green pods, known for their starring roles in dishes like gumbo, in water overnight. So why are some folks whispering about the wonders of this slimy, veggie-infused refreshment? Here's what RDs have to say (myself included) about the potential health benefits of okra water.

Okra Water's Benefits

Okra water, aka water that has had okra pods soaking in it, may sound like yet another wellness trend that was created to get views. But surprisingly, this trend may be worth exploring.

"While research on the specific benefits of okra water for humans is very limited, okra itself provides three grams of fiber, 14 percent of the daily value of magnesium, and 26 percent of the daily value of vitamins C and K per one-cup serving," Mascha Davis, MPH, RD, an author and registered dietitian, tells POPSUGAR. However, she cautioned that "it is unclear how much of these nutrients one would consume from okra water alone."

Soaking okra in water creates a more viscous liquid, so clearly some compounds are being infused into the water. But there isn't enough research to confirm which ones and how much of each — making it hard to confirm all the benefits..

That said, given the health perks of okra itself, here are some potential benefits you may reap if you choose to incorporate okra water into your wellness routine.

You May Experience Digestive Benefits

One touted benefit of guzzling down this slimy infusion is its potential to improve digestion. Okra is a fibrous vegetable, and when its soluble fiber marries the water, it creates a gel-like drink that may help ensure smoother digestive operations. Soluble fiber may help support digestive health in many ways, including supporting a healthy gut microbiota. Note: you can find soluble fiber in many foods, not just okra water; oats, beans, apples, and citrus are all sources of soluble fiber.

You May Have a Better Hydration Status

Drinking okra water may help those struggling to meet their daily hydration needs. While the slimy texture may be a hurdle for some, the benefits of proper hydration cannot be overstated. Adequate hydration is vital for various bodily functions, including nutrient transport, temperature regulation, and joint lubrication.

By adding okra water to your routine, you could potentially make the process of hydrating more deliberate and beneficial, as each sip comes packed with the added nutrients seeped from the okra itself. Yet, while drinking okra water may help support hydration goals, there is no evidence suggesting it is more hydrating than regular water.

You May Experience Increased Vaginal Lubrication

So this one has zero research to back up the claim. But TikTokers claim that drinking this viscous beverage is a must before intercourse, and others suggest pregnant people drink it to help make a vaginal delivery happen more "smoothly."

We didn't come across any data supporting these claims and could not find a healthcare provider to corroborate them. In other words, the vaginal lubrication claims are largely anecdotal.

My hunch as to why some okra drinkers may experience an increase in vaginal lubrication: because people who drink okra water are also taking other steps to support their health, like maintaining proper hydration and eating more vegetables. Since both of these factors help promote healthy blood flow, which is an important factor when promoting the secretion of vaginal lubrication, okra water drinkers may be more prone to experiencing less vaginal dryness than those who don't drink okra water. But of course, quality data is needed to prove this.

You May Have Healthier-Looking Skin

Drinking okra water is believed by some to benefit the skin, thanks to okra's high content of vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants that may help reduce skin inflammation and promote healthier skin, says Ariel Rasabi Cohn, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian and the owner of Whole Health Nutrition. Additionally, the dietary fiber found in okra may aid in gut health, as the fiber may help support a healthy gut microbiota, which indirectly can be beneficial for skin health. However, it's important to note that scientific studies to conclusively link okra water to skin health improvements are limited, and consuming a balanced diet and maintaining proper skin-care routines are critical for optimal skin health.

You May Have Better Blood Sugar Control

One animal study showed that pregnant rats who had gestational diabetes and consumed okra extract experienced better blood glucose control than those who did not consume the extract. The okra extract group also experienced better heart health outcomes.

Other data showed that whole okra consumption was linked to improved blood sugar control in patients with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. It is unclear which factors contributed to this effect and if okra water will show the same outcomes.

The soluble fiber found in okra water may contribute to these positive blood sugar effects, as data shows that increased fiber intake is linked to improvements in blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes. Bonus? Consuming soluble fiber is also linked to heart health benefits, which is something many people with diabetes focus on as well.

Unfortunately, it is unclear how much soluble fiber is in okra water.

Risks of Drinking Okra Water

Despite the potential health benefits associated with drinking okra water, there are risks to consider. Consuming okra water might not be suitable for everyone, especially for those with a history of kidney stones, since okra is a source of oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of these stones.

Davis adds, "Okra contains high levels of fructans, a type of carbohydrate that may lead to digestive discomfort for certain individuals when consumed in excessive quantities, especially those prone to diarrhea and stomach gas. Additionally, individuals allergic to okra should also avoid this drink."

As with any natural remedy or supplement, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before integrating okra water into one's diet.

How to Make Okra Water

To whip up a batch of okra water, begin by gathering up a few fresh okra pods. These furry little garden-dwellers should be washed thoroughly to remove any lingering dirt or other unwelcome additions. Slice them into rounds, then drop them into a clear pitcher of cool, crisp water. Let these slices steep overnight. Come morning, you'll have a glass of IG-worthy okra water that's ready to sip and savor.

Should You Drink Okra Water?

Drinking okra water can be a safe and healthy addition to a diet, especially if it replaces sugary drinks like soda. "While it's unlikely to cause any harm, if someone chooses to try okra water as a silver-bullet solution to weight and blood sugar or other concerns, they may be disappointed, as there is no solid research backing up those claims," Davis explains. "Just like celery water, which had lots of unsubstantiated hype, it might be another overpriced fad."

But if you like the taste of it and it makes you feel good drinking it, go ahead and pour yourself a glass. While it may not be the secret to glowing skin or better sex, it can help fuel your body with extra hydration and some key nutrients. And if you don't enjoy drinking this slippery bevvy, you can reap the potential health benefits by eating whole okra pods sans water.