Nutrition

Is Pomegranate Good for Diabetes?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Diabetic patients have high blood sugar, and pomegranate is enriched in natural sugar. The sugar present in pomegranate is fructose, which has a low glycemic index and hence requires less insulin to reduce the blood sugar level after consuming it. The fruit is rich in antioxidants like polyphenol, which gives the red colour. With a low glycemic index of 54 in pomegranate, it is recommended. Due to the presence of antioxidants, it helps in reducing chronic inflammations in patients who have Type 2 diabetes.

Advantages of Pomegranate for Diabetes

Consuming pomegranate or its juice is beneficial for diabetic patients. It is rich in immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K, strengthening the immune system. Pomegranate is rich in dietary fibre, folate, and potassium which is highly effective in regulating blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has a low glycemic index; it is an excellent fruit choice for people with diabetes as it reduces insulin resistance.

Here are the advantages of diabetic patients consuming pomegranate. 

  • Reduces blood sugar level – Pomegranate is rich in natural sugar fructose and attached antioxidants, which helps scavenge blood glucose level. The antioxidants in pomegranate minimise cell damage, regular blood glucose level and improve blood circulation. According to research, it is found that consuming 1.5 ml of pomegranate juice per kg of body weight helps in reducing the fasting glucose level in type-2 diabetic patients. This is due to neutralising the reactive oxygen species by antioxidants in pomegranate like punicalagin, ellagic, oleanolic, ursolic etc. Hence, antioxidants help fight against oxidative stress and reduce cell damage and inflammation. 
  • Reduces insulin resistance –Research shows that it is effective for diabetes as it reduces insulin resistance due to the pomegranate juice ability to increase the function of beta cells in the pancreas and trigger insulin production. The production of insulin hormone helps reduce blood sugar and hence helps with reducing diabetes-induced obesity. Tannins and many antioxidants are effective in controlling type 2 diabetes. 

Ways to Consume Pomegranate

Pomegranate is not only healthy but delicious, fresh and rich in fibre. It is easy to include pomegranate as part of your daily diet. Although it is common to consume pomegranates as fruit or juice, here are some interesting ways to add pomegranate to your diet.

  • Pomegranate can be generously added to a salad to give your green salad or fruit salad a sweet taste and flavour.
  • One of the yummiest ways to add pomegranate is in smoothies. Make a smoothie with your favourite fruit, nuts, seeds and garnish it with pomegranate arils.
  • Add pomegranate to your sandwich to enjoy a delicious treat. It is super easy to make a sandwich with pomegranate sprinkles between it.
  • Give your favourite yoghurt or shakes a twist by adding a few pomegranate arils.

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Best Time to Consume Pomegranate

Yes, it is safe when consumed in a safe amount and consumed at the right time. The best time to consume pomegranate is early morning on an empty stomach so that it acts as a powerful antioxidant and detoxifies the body. If you are a morning person, eat on an empty stomach, making it highly effective against diabetes. Or else, it can be consumed pre or post-workout. However, avoid consuming pomegranate late or before going to sleep. 

Risks of Over Consumption of Pomegranate

As it is low in calories and rich in antioxidants, the recommended amount is either two cups of pomegranate arils or two glasses of pomegranate juice. However, no reports indicate the harmful effect of overconsumption of pomegranate. Excess consumption can sometimes lead to acidity. It can also lead to intestinal blockage and constipation. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the high amount of potassium in pomegranate might cause trouble for people with chronic kidney disease. 

Other Health Benefits of Pomegranate

  • Reduce cardiovascular disease - Pomegranate is known to prevent cardiovascular disease, reduce hypertension, and improve blood flow. Heart diseases like arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries due to plaque deposit) and stroke are associated with type 2 diabetes. The oxidation of low-density lipoproteins causes arteriosclerosis, and this can be prevented by pomegranate as it helps reduce bad cholesterol.
  • Help fight infections – Pomegranate juice is known to have antimicrobial properties. According to research in October 2017, it was found that juice extract of pomegranate has antibacterial properties against some bacterial strains causing dental cavities. It is known to even fight against fungal and viral infection. 
  • Protects against cancer – One of cancer's primary causes is oxidative stress and free radicals. Pomegranate juice consists of a powerful antioxidant called punicalagin and polyphenol, which have anti-inflammatory properties. This helps fight against cancer formation of the prostate, lungs, colon and skin. 
  • Fight arthritis and joint pain – Free radicals cause arthritis and joint pain. Hence, pomegranate juice free radical scavenging activity reduces arthritis and joint pain. 
  • Fights Alzheimer's disease – Some researchers believe that the antioxidants in pomegranate reduce inflammation in microglia brain cells and prevent worsening symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia. 

Bottomline

Pomegranates are a healthy and powerful fruit highly recommended for diabetic patients. Due to its low glycemic index and natural sugar attached to antioxidants prevent oxidative stress by eliminating the free radicals. Regular consumption of pomegranate helps control the blood sugar level and prevent insulin restriction. It is beneficial for type-1 and type-2 diabetes, but it is known to protect against chronic complications associated with diabetes. A lot of research indicates its benefit in maintaining good heart health, strengthening the immune system, and controlling sugar levels in the body. Here is a list of fruits for diabetics.

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