Watermelon is everyone's summertime favorite. Eating the cool, sweet, water-rich fruit in hot summers is a joy. However, not everyone can enjoy watermelon wholeheartedly. People with diabetes need to be mindful of their watermelon consumption. Watermelon is a fruit containing high natural sugar. Eating it can impact blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. They must monitor their portion size and the foods they consume alongside watermelon.
If you're worried about how much watermelon can a diabetic eat, here is a complete guide on watermelon and its effect on people with diabetes.
Table of Contents
Native to Africa, watermelon is scientifically known as Citrullus lanatus, and is a highly nutritious fruit that's enjoyed throughout the globe to beat the summer heat.
Every 100g of watermelon contains -
|28 μg||Vitamin A|
|8.1 mg||Vitamin C|
|0.045 mg||Vitamin B6|
Vitamins and minerals present in watermelon have numerous benefits. Vitamin A is essential for eye health, vitamin C maintains immunity and fights the common cold, and vitamin B6 ensures proper cell function. Minerals like potassium help manage blood pressure, magnesium is crucial for energy production, iron provides enough oxygen supply to cells, and calcium takes care of bone health.
Apart from vitamins and minerals, watermelon contains a pigment called lycopene. This pigment gives watermelon its signature color. Early studies show that lycopene may reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues and certain types of cancer. It is also good for bone health.
Watermelon contains 90% water that prevents dehydration and makes you feel full. The water and fiber content of watermelon improves metabolism, thereby aiding in weight loss.
Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, damage cells, and cause cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants present in watermelon help in removing these free radicals from the body.
Citrulline is an amino acid present in watermelon that helps circulate blood in the body and lowers blood pressure. Watermelon also contains potassium which helps manage blood pressure. Lycopene in watermelon is also known for reducing cardiovascular issues.
Watermelon satisfies the sweet tooth with its natural sugar content. It is also known to reduce muscle soreness, soothe the skin, and protect the joints from inflammation.
Diabetes generally happens when the beta cells found in the pancreas are damaged. These beta cells manage the secretion of the hormone called insulin, which is helpful to control the blood sugar levels in the body. That’s why for a person with diabetes, it becomes necessary to check on his diet patterns and keep a track of the blood glucose levels in the body. They are generally suggested to avoid food rich in sugar content.
Now, the question arises, is watermelon good for diabetes? Of course, it is. One might wonder, if there is natural sugar in watermelon, how can it be good for people with diabetes? Let us find out the effect of watermelon on diabetes -
Watermelons have high carbohydrates and natural sugars, but the way your body breaks them down determines whether they cause glucose spikes or not. Glycemic index and glycemic load are essential to understand these.
Watermelon has a Glycemic index of 72 and a glycemic load of 2 per 100g serving. What does this mean? Let us understand glycemic index and glycemic load.
The Glycemic index depicts how quickly our body absorbs sugar from food. Based on how fast our stomach digests the food and releases it into the bloodstream, GI is calculated. It ranges from a scale of 0 to 100. Foods on the scale 0 to 55 are low GI, 55 to 70 are medium GI, and above 70 are high GI.
Dieticians argue glycemic load is a better indicator. It is a combination of GI with actual carbohydrate content in a food serving. 0-10 is low GL, 10-19 is medium GL, and anything value above 19 is high.
Watermelon has a low glycemic load of 2 per 100g serving. Though the GI of watermelon is high, its low GL indicates watermelon can be consumed in moderation by people with diabetes.
Adding watermelon to a diabetes diet is not harmful. Though watermelon has a high GI, it is 90% water, and its seeds contain fiber. If incorporated with portion control, people with diabetes can consume 150-200 gm watermelon at one time.
People with type 2 diabetes are advised to take a well-balanced meal of watermelon either with some low glycemic index food or as it is. Depending on their present blood glucose levels, they can even take it in the form of juice but in restricted proportions. As watermelon has natural sugar, it is always preferable to take it along with some fat and protein-rich food so that the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream is slowed down preventing the spike in sugar levels. As much as possible avoid taking watermelon in processed form. The best way to add it to your diet is to take it in the form of fruit salad along with a wholesome meal so that you don’t end up eating too much of it. The following are some of the ways that you can include watermelon in your diet plan: –
The seeds of watermelon can be consumed by crushing them into powder and then can be gulped along with juice or water. No matter, however, one consumes the watermelon, one should be mindful of the proportions of the servings they are consuming.
Watermelon comprises mainly water and carbs where water is about 92 per cent and carbs are 7.5 per cent. Carbs are the main macronutrient present in watermelon. It has a very small amount of protein in it which is only 0.6 grams of protein in 100 grams of watermelon. It provides almost no fat, no trans fat or cholesterol, and only a low amount of saturated fats. Every 100 grams of watermelon provides only 30 calories.
Watermelon seeds contain a higher amount of proteins and fats which are 8 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. The seeds are also rich in fibre which is about 40 per cent and some calories.
The rind of the watermelon is very rich in citrulline which is an essential amino acid.
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin A helps the body to defend against illness and infection, boosting the immune system and taking care of vision health and skin health. Vitamin C protects the cells, keeps the skin healthy and maintains the blood vessels and bones.
Watermelon contains the B vitamins like B complex, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 in moderate quantities which help in proper digestion and improves muscle, brain and nerve function. It contains a very low amount of Vitamin K and C. However, the seeds of watermelon are rich in vitamins C and E. The rind of the watermelon is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C.
The pulp of watermelon is a very good source of minerals like calcium, magnesium potassium, phosphorus and manganese. These minerals are good for keeping the bone healthy and help in improving the metabolic activity in the body. They are also essential for the growth, sustenance and repair of cells and tissues in the body. It also contains other minerals such as iron, copper, zinc and selenium which help in fighting free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress. It contains very little sodium.
The seed of watermelon also contains some minerals which include calcium, zinc, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and potassium.
Watermelon and diabetes do not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone's body has a different response to different foods. If you have diabetes, you can include a small portion of watermelon in your diet. Track your glucose levels after consuming watermelon and see how your body responds. People with diabetes should consult a doctor/dietician before making any significant changes in their diet. They will recommend portion sizes based on an individual's weight goals and how their body may react to them.
Fruits with a low Glycemic Index are the best fruits for diabetes. They do not raise blood sugar levels and manage the sweet tooth healthily. Here are a few diabetes-friendly fruits
Diet plays a very important role in either increasing or decreasing the blood sugar levels in the body. Therefore, it is essential to take a well-balanced diet that will provide the essential nutrients to the body.
The following type of diet is great for people with diabetes helping them manage their blood sugar levels -
As much as it is important to check what to eat for diabetes, it is also essential to check how much to eat. Foods taken in moderation will not spike blood sugar levels rather they will help in regulating glucose levels.
Yes, watermelon is good for diabetes as long as you watch your diet and keep a tab on your blood sugar levels. When taken in small servings, it can be beneficial for people with diabetes as it contains so many minerals and vitamins that help in boosting immunity and prevent other complications related to diabetes.
Yes, watermelon is a very good detoxifier. It contains more than 90 percent water, natural sugar, power-packed nutrients, fibre and antioxidants like lycopene. All these together help in detoxifying the body making it an immune stimulant. Watermelon is known to hydrate the body due to the presence of water in it and helps in removing all the toxins from the body.
Watermelon should never be consumed with fruits like honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and muskmelon. It should never be taken with acidic or sub-acidic fruits like strawberries, apples, pomegranates and peaches. One should also never eat watermelon with sweet fruits like raisins and bananas.
Yes, watermelon juice is high in sugar compared to fresh whole watermelon. As the juice is processed, the glycemic index is quite high and can lead to a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is important to take it in moderation and along with low glycemic index food that will regulate the glucose levels in the body.
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