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Sexual health: Okra water not just for women, works great in men too

“Why is this thing – okra water – trending? I once tried it and I swear never again,” said one Kenyan netizen.

“I’ve just drunk okra water. After how many hours will it start working? Asking for 999 others,” another one quipped.

“There is a reason men like women from the coastal region. This is something we have been taking for years now,” another female netizen added.

For days now, women drinking okra water has been trending once again; and conversations have mainly revolved around its advantages regarding bedroom intimacy.

Okra is a flowering plant valued for its edible green seed pods. It is commonly used in cooking and is known for its slimy texture which helps thicken soups and stews.

Okra water is made by soaking sliced okra pods in water overnight and then removing the pods and drinking it over some time consistently. Users report that the final liquid product is slimy and has a sour aftertaste.

Regardless, there continues to be loud, viral conversations about drinking okra water due to some benefits such as the water increasing lubrication in the female reproductive organ, it serving as an aphrodisiac between lovers, it helping in weight loss, fertility and pregnancy labor as well as strengthening one’s joint and clearing one’s voice among those who are gifted with singing voices.

These benefits have been cause for debate online – some positive, many more negative and mocking.

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Some men, like MC Jessy, branded women consuming okra water as red flags for sexually “failing in her responsibilities” while others said they would actively source the now expensive vegetable for their women to try and help improve their ‘bedminton’.

Additionally, some women mocked their fellow women drinking okra water for ‘working hard’ to obtain lubrication that others are naturally blessed with in abundance while others turned on men for being failures as lovers in preparing their partners for intimacy- forcing women to seek alternatives for lubrication prior to consummation.

But what is the truth behind this okra water? Does it really make sex better? Does it aid in weight loss and labor issues? Is all this scientifically backed?

To find out the truth of the matter, Nairobi News spoke to Ms Lillian Mutanu, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Mumina Wellness Solutions and the national treasurer at the Kenya National Union of Nutritionists and Dieticians on the nutritional properties of okra and whether it enhances sexual health.

“Okra has a good amount of magnesium that supports the biochemical reaction in the body that actually aids in muscle relaxation. This is one of the reasons that okra supports sexual health because the relaxation and contraction of the vagina,” Ms Mutanu said.

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Another component, she said, is the Vitamin C that improves collagen synthesis, iron absorption- and all these aid in blood flow, energy, immunity and for men, it also helps them relax more- and it actually improves erection in males.

As for the females, it is all about blood formation, enough blood flow to the vagina as well as the folates (folic acid that is crucial in pregnancies).

“Another thing that okra has is fiber that improves digestion – which in turn improves energy utilization and uptake which makes someone more vibrant and have more energy and vigor for sex.

“Okra also has a good amount of water, and combined with the water it is infused in, it aids in hydration and reducing dryness. We say when you are properly hydrated, your vagina will also be properly moisturized and this will reduce dryness- and that is a fact,” ,” Ms Mutanu said

Currently, however, there is no scientific evidence to back up these benefits of okra and okra water when it comes to intimacy but according to Ms Mutanu, if one looks at the nutritional composition of okra and its benefits on the body, okra consumption can be linked to improved sexual health in women.

“Its not just about the okra. It has to be part of the whole healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, proper sleep to ensure you are not stressed, proper water intake and exercises,” she said.

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But hold on for one second! Despite the viral use of okra for improved sexual satisfaction, how else is okra and okra water great for women?

“Okra is great for pregnancy because it has a good amount of folate and in Kenya, we have anemia as an endemic condition- and it is also in the red zone when it comes to pregnancy anemia so consuming foods that are rich in folates, iron, Vitamin C and K is a good thing for pregnancy. Okra thus helps in reducing the occurrences of anemia that can be detrimental to fetal development in the first trimester,” explained Ms Mutanu.

“In the third trimester, there is a lot of constipation and heamorroids- and some mothers can experience this up to four months after the baby is born. So taking foods that are rich in fiber, such as okra, it is actually advisable. Okra also comes with carbohydrates, essential minerals and vitamins that are great for metabolic functions such as digestion that would help reduce instances of constipation or heamorroids,”she said.

She further said okra intake should be accompanied by relevant healthy diet, exercises related to pregnancy and living a healthy lifestyle- this would then ensure a manageable labor and childbirth period.

“Just like any other vegetable, okra has the healing potential, the antioxidants and things that improve immune functions,” she went on.

Ms Mutanu went on to explain that the downside to pregnant women overconsuming okra, in addition to dealing with the slimy nature of it, would be that it reduces the food capacity intake as the baby compresses the stomach in the last trimester.

As it is fiber rich and satisfies the stomach for long, this can interfere with nutrient uptake for the mother-to-be in preparation for her stores ahead of childbirth and breastfeeding.