Is avocado good for diabetes? Diabetes diet tips
Avocados are full of fat so many people believe that it is not a healthy snack for diabetes patients.
But nothing is far from truth.
In this article we will try to address one of the common questions among diabetic patient ” Is avocado good for diabetes?”
Avocados are, infact, one of the healthiest fruit available for diabetic patients.
It is low in carbohydrates and good in fat which means that the fruit will not spike your blood sugar.
Diabetes is a problem of metabolizing glucose from the food. People suffering from diabetes do not produce enough insulin which leads to rise in blood sugar. Constant high blood sugar for long period of time can cause various deadly complications like kidney disease, retinopathy, neuropathy etc
Glycemic Index (GI) of Avocados
Every diabetic patient should know the Glycemic Index (GI) value of food they eat. GI basically tells how fast the food gets digested and enter the blood stream in the form of blood sugar.
Food with GI value 50 or above spike the blood sugar and is harmful for diabetic patient.
Avocados are high in fats and protein and are found to have GI value of 15. This means that even large amount of avocados do not spike the blood sugar, hence it is a great choice for diabetic patient.
Carbohydrate Content of Avocados
After Glycemic Index (GI) value, one should check the carbohydrate content of any food.
For Type 1 diabetic, one should try to cap carbohydrate to 30 gram per meal.
Avocado is a great food for diabetic patient as its carbohydrate content is very less, only 2 grams of carb per 100 grams of avocado. Such a low value means that even eating large amount of this fruit will not raise your blood sugar and the insulin dose will also be less.
Nutritional Content of Avocados
The fruit is great source of essential nutrient which not only helps in good sugar control but also offers other important health benefits.
Below is the nutritional table along with the percentage (%) nutrient content:
After analyzing the above figures one can easily conclude to the question “is avocado good for diabetes?” that yes it is very helpful for diabetic patient.
Apart from the low carbohydrate content, avocado offers variety of health benefit to the diabetic patient. Some of the benefit is listed below:
Benefits of avocado for diabetic patient
1. Won’t raise blood sugar
There are only few foods available in the world which are tasty and can be eaten by diabetic in large amounts. Avocado’s low carbohydrate content and GI value makes it possible for diabetic patient to eat it in heavy amounts.
The only problem with this fruit is that it is not easily available in India. In the locality i live this fruit is not easily available.
2. Helps in Weight Loss
People suffering from Type 2 diabetes usually suffers from weight related issues.
One of the ways a diabetic can manage their blood sugar is by reducing their weight. It has been found that the insulin sensitivity of body increases with the reduction in body weight, this helps in controlling blood sugar along with the avoidance of other health issues like heart and stroke issues.
Avocados are high in fiber and healthy fats which make your stomach feel full after eating. Eating this fruit will make you less hungry, that means you are less likely to overeat unhealthy foods which ultimately result in weight loss.
3. Great for heart
People suffering with diabetes are twice likely to get heart related ailments in their lifetime. One of the major reason for rise in heart ailments among diabetic patient is their uncontrolled blood sugar and poor diet choices.
Avocados are great for heart health as they are full with healthy fats.
People have misconception that all types of fat are bad and cause some form of body ailments.
This is incomplete knowledge as there are both types of fats which are both good and bad for the body.
Saturated fats are the ones which are bad for our body.
It is found in the most common commodity used in Indian Kitchen named as Cooking Oil (Vegetable Oil). Vegetable oil is widely used in Indian households to cook food and are consumed in large amounts. That is why cases of heart and strokes cases are on the rise.
Saturated fats increase bad cholesterol level (LDL) in the arteries, disrupting the flow of blood causing heart attack.
The other type of fat which is good for our health is Unsaturated Fat.
This fat reduce the bad cholesterol and improves the blood flow, hence these are good for heart health.
Avocados are full of healthy fat. Eating this fruit on regular interval will improve your heart health and prevent the diabetic patient from the risk of heart ailment in the future.
Other sources for good fats are
-> Dry Nuts (almond, cashew)
-> Flax seeds, sesame seeds
The only problem i can observe with these food sources is that they are expensive and is not easily affordable by the average middle class family.
Its very strange that eating food which is healthy and organic is expensive and difficult to afford, this is what corporations have done to our society.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Avocados contain more potassium than banana.
While banana is great potassium source but it is not a good choice for a diabetic patient as it is full of carbohydrates.
Replacing avocados with banana is great alternative for potassium source.
A 100 gram of avocado fulfills 15% of your daily potassium requirement as compared to 10% by banana.
Potassium is useful for diabetic patients as they reduce blood pressure which is major cause of heart failure and kidney disease. Potassium has other important benefits like improving brain function, improves muscle and bone strength, which we will not discuss in some later article.
5. Great Source of Fiber
People usually take fiber supplements in order to reduce their fasting blood sugar.
One can avoid taking these supplements if they start taking fruits which are high in fiber content.
One piece of small avocado contains around 10 grams of fiber which is approximately 40% of the regular fiber requirement.
Fiber is important for diabetic patient as it helps reducing fasting blood sugar and also improves digestive functioning of the gut.
Even though avocados are low in carbohydrates, it has fair amount of calories in it. One small avocado contains approx 300 calories of energy.
This means that you may gain weight if you eat too much of this fruit. So be careful with overeating and try to practice portion control.
Being diabetic limits your food choices.
That’s why it is very important to experiment with your food and come up with novel ideas for your every meal. In this section i have tried to cover some of the avocado recipe for diabetic patient
A. Egg Toast with Avocado
Note: Bread Slice is high in carbohydrates, make sure you take suitable amount of insulin
1. Poach the eggs
Fill the bowl with water and boil it.
Crack the egg in the boiling water for a minute and then remove when the white is set
2. Toast the bread and spread it with the mashed avocado
3. Top the bread with poached egg and greek yogurt
4. Enjoy the meal with tea/coffee
B. Avocado-Chicken Salad
|Chicken Breast||1 cup|
|Boiled Egg||1 pc|
|Chopped Avocado||1 pc|
|Tomato (chopped)||1 pc|
1. Spread lettuce in the plate
2. Mix Chicken, egg, tomato, avocado, tomato pieces in the bowl and sprinkle over the lettuce
2. Add salt, black pepper and onion as per taste
Other Important Benefits of Avocados
1. Keeps your vision safe with age
You can protect yourself from vision related issues by eating avocados on regular basis.
Age related macular degeneration is common and one of the leading cause of vision loss among elderly. One can prevent this disease by following nutritious diet plan in the young age itself.
Certain nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin helps protect the eyes from oxidation stress and reduce the risk of eyes related disorders.
2. Bone Health and Osteoporosis
As i have said earlier, avocados are rich source of Vitamin K.
Vitamin K is perhaps the most misunderstood nutrient whose contribution is not recognized by the people.
Like Vitamin D, this vitamin is also essential for your healthy bones.
It helps to maintain bone flexibility and absorption of calcium by the body.
People suffering from diabetes are in the high risk of getting bone related disorders. Taking this nutrient will definitely insure your bone health for the future.
3. Brain Health and Alzheimer Prevention
Another important vitamin which is not well appreciated in Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is very important for brain health. It protects the neurons from the oxidative stress and prevent neurological disorders in human body.
Our body contain large number of neurons which transfers signals from brains to different parts of the body. These neurons are made up of unsaturated fats which are susceptible to oxidative stress by the environment.
Imagine you are keeping a piece of butter in open.
What will happen in few hours?
You will start getting bad smell and the butter can no longer be used. This all happen due to oxidation by the environment.
Similarly our neurons slowly gets damaged due to external factors and we, as a human, loose our cognitive sharpness which leads to Alzheimer like condition in old age.
Avocados are rich in Vitamin E which protects the neurons from oxidation and reduce the risk the cognitive function in old age.
4. Fights depression and boost the mood
Diabetic patients are likely to suffer from depression and mood swings. In fact one research concludes that Type 1 diabetic patient are three times more likely to suffer from depression related disorder.
Constant stress of blood sugar numbers, diet control took a heavy toll on the psyche of sugar patient which effect their work efficiency and daily family time.
High folate content in avocado is useful in fighting depression related disorder. One cup of folate fulfills about one third of our daily folate requirements.
In my opinion, avocado is one of the best fruit option available for diabetic patients. It not only helps in blood sugar control but offers benefits which protects us from diabetes related complication
5. Fights cancer cells
The anti-oxidants and enzyme present in avocados helps fight cancer cell and prevent the growth of this deadly disease.
According to Ohio State University Research ” the phytochemicals present in avocados stops the growth of pre-cancerous cell without affecting the normal ones”. The research was solely focused on oral cancer but the scientist believe that the conclusion can be extrapolated for all different types of human cancer.
6. Skin and Hair Health
Avocados are also used as an anti-ageing tool throughout the world.
It is packed with anti-oxidants, unsaturated fats and Vitamin E which is known to keep your skin healthy and wrinkle free. Apart from eating, people generally use avocados as face mask to avail its healthy nutrients.
Dry Skin-> The fruit is not only helpful for its anti-ageing property, avocados oil have been widely used to treat dry and flaky skin caused by eczema and psoriasis.
Dandruff->One can also use avocados for dry scalp and dandruff. In India, one can easily find hair-oil products which contain some mixture of avocados as a constituent.
Fun Facts about Avocados
1. Mexico is the major cultivator of Avocados
While they are also cultivated in Florida and California, but mexico is the leading producer of this fruit
2. There are around 1050 varieties of avocado cultivated in the world.
3. Used as a substitute for butter
Specially for the baked items, avocados are used as a butter substitute in order to add some moistness in the item.
4. Ripening Hack
You can early ripen the avocado by placing it with banana in paper wrap.
The banana release ethylene gas which helps in early ripening of fruit.
5. Protect avocado from oxidation
Avocado usually lasts for 3-5 days in refrigerator. You can protect it from oxidation by coating it with olive oil and then keeping it in the refrigerator until it gets used.
I hope the article helped you understand the question “is avocado good for diabetes?”
Yes, it certainly is
Infact it is one of the best food available for diabetic patients.
Its nutrient rich property with low carbohydrate content makes it an ideal food for us.
So, How many avocado can you eat per day?
I think 2-3 avocados are enough for your daily needs. Keep in mind that the fruit is packed with calories, so eating too much can cause weight gain.
Also, Eating the same fruit everyday can be very boring. Try to find innovative ways to add avocados in different foods, you can start with the above mentioned recipe and then move on with other ideas.