Watermelon & Diabetes: How Safe is it for Diabetics to Eat Watermelon?
Water Melon & Diabetes
People associate watermelon with summer and weight loss. It is because watermelon is a wonderful summer fruit, and has a very high rate of water content in it. It keeps the body hydrated, and also helps the person in losing weight. However, only recently, people have started to wonder the goodness of this fruit. So, whether this amazing fruit, watermelon, is safe for diabetics or not, is a question that everyone has in mind. For people, who are suffering from diabetes, it is really important that they watch out their diet and monitor their blood sugar levels.
How Safe is it for Diabetics to Eat Watermelon?
There is no clear evidence that suggests any connection between watermelon and diabetes. However, there is evidence which proves that watermelon consumption can actually reduce the risk of complications that are related to diabetes. People with diabetes should actually include more of fruits and vegetables in their diet, so that they get healthy nutrition, without increasing their blood sugar levels.
Watermelon has some natural ingredients, which are proved to be helpful to diabetics. It improves the blood pressure, which is something that bothers 2 out of 3 diabetic patients. As per studies, the extract from watermelon can bring down the blood pressure of people suffering from hypertension. Some of the experiments were conducted on mice, which displayed that the watermelon extract could bring down the blood sugar level. Also, as per studies published in July 2008, a lycopene based treatment could bring down cognitive decline that is related to diabetes. So, these studies prove that the plant chemicals present in watermelon might help with diabetes management in a big way.
High Glycemic Index in Watermelon
Glycemic index gives an indication of how fast the sugar from food enters the blood. So, it measures the response of blood sugar to various foods, with relation to glucose. Foods, which have a low glycemic index can raise the blood sugar levels, and vice versa. GI of 55 is considered low, anything between 55 and 70 is considered medium, and anything above it is high. The glycemic index of watermelon is quite high, and it is around 72 per 100 g, making it safe for diabetics.
Lower Glycemic Load in Watermelon Makes it Safe for Diabetics
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying glycemic index with total carbohydrates in the food, and this product is to be divided by 100. The glycemic load in Watermelon is 5, as it has a low amount of carbs. So, even though, watermelon has a high glycemic index, the glycemic load is low, which makes it good for the system. So, one can complement watermelon consumption with other foods that are low in glycemic index, so that the blood sugar spikes are kept to minimal.
Watermelon Has Low Carbohydrate Count Low Which Makes it Safe for Diabetics
Watermelon contains low amount of carbs. One cup of watermelon has about 12 grams of carbs. So, one need not worry about adding too much of carbohydrates in their diet, as carbs can lead to high blood sugar. Watermelon can easily be consumed for giving the necessary carbohydrates for the balanced nutrition.
Watermelon Being Rich in Nutrients is Safe for Diabetics
Some of the nutrients present in watermelon include Vitamin A, B6 and C, Potassium, Fiber, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium. Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, and also helps in keeping the heart, lungs and kidneys healthy. A cup of watermelon a day can provide almost 37% of the daily required dose of Vitamin C, which is required for improving the health of the heart, and in giving protection from cancer and cold. Moreover, the fiber content is essential for flushing out the toxins from the body, and for promoting good digestion.
Watermelon Contains Lycopene which is Safe for Diabetics
Watermelon contains lycopene, a pigment that is responsible for giving colour to the fruit. Lycopene is a plant chemical, and is also a powerful antioxidant. It can help in reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Almost 68 % of people, suffering from diabetes, aged 65 and above, die due to heart diseases and 16 % of them die due to strokes. So, watermelon consumption actually helps the diabetic patients, in keeping their heart problems in check.
How to Include Watermelon in the Diet?
As watermelon has a high Glycemic index and a low glycemic load, it is better to have the fruit in moderation. Moreover, watermelon has a high amount of natural sugar. So, it may impact the blood sugar in your body, if your diet is not balanced. It would be a good idea to check with the doctor, before including it in the diet. The doctor or a dietician would be able to review the diet, and check the overall health of the person, before recommending the portion sizes, and other complementary food items to be included. After visiting the doctor and the dietician, one should create a chart to note down the responses to watermelon. In case of unusual spikes in the sugar levels, the doctor should be informed immediately.
Moderation is the Key
Though, watermelon is considered to be a healthy fruit, it has a high amount of carbohydrates, which are directly linked with blood sugar. Hence, with proper meal planning, and moderate carbs consumption during the day, people can find health benefits out of watermelon consumption. A cup of watermelon consists of 60 gm of carbs, which is almost the same as any other fresh fruits, like berries or bananas.
The key to fitness and health is not to go overboard with anything. When things are consumed in moderation, everything will have its benefits. So, in spite of a high glycemic index, a low glycemic load, and presence of carbohydrates, one cannot ignore the various health benefits that watermelon presents.
Go ahead and start including watermelon in your daily diet plan. It will not only help you with your diabetic problems, but will also manage the blood pressure. However, just be careful about not having it in large measure, as it might shoot up the blood sugar level drastically. Visit a dietician, and review your meal plan, before you include any of the food items in your diet. A high blood sugar level might lead to various other complications. So, be aware of the sugar content in each food item, and make a balance diet chart for the everyday meals. Being aware is half the battle won against diabetes.