Is watermelon good for diabetes? Diebetes diet tips
Watermelon is everybody’s favorite snack.
I remember how i crave watermelon especially during summer season.
But when i got diagnosed with diabetes i was forced to change my eating habits. I had to be skeptical about every food i eat and had to find out its effect on my blood sugar.
We all know that watermelon is healthy fruit, but “is watermelon good for diabetes?” is the question diabetic patient should ask.
Diabetes is a disease in which the patient find it difficult to metabolize sugar in the body. When we eat our food the carbohydrate get metabolized in the body cells with the help of a hormone named Insulin.
People suffering from diabetes are not producing enough insulin to metabolize the carbohydrates, which result in rise in blood sugar.
High Blood sugar has its own range of complications which can be deadly and irreversible in nature. Constant high sugar can damage patient’s eyes, brain, teeth, kidneys, sexual organs etc.
Due to these complications, diabetic patient have to careful about their dietary habit. They have to keep note on the amount of carbohydrate they take and the amount of insulin required to metabolize the carbs taken.
In order to understand Is watermelon good for diabetes? we first need to find the carbohydrate content in watermelon. The nutrient content of one cup watermelon is given as:
- 43 calories
- 0 g fat
- 2 mg sodium
- 11 g carbs
- 9 g sugar
- 1 g fiber
From the above data one can observe that watermelon contain good amount of natural sugars which is enough to spike your blood sugar high.
So diabetics should be careful eating this fruit in large amount. They have to make sure that they are taking small potion and are compensating it with proper insulin dose.
Glycemic Index (GI) Calculation of Watermelon
Another criteria to look while evaluating food for diabetes is Glycemic Index (GI)
GI tells how fast the sugar in the food enter the blood stream. Each food has GI value between 1-100, which means higher the value of GI faster the blood sugar spike after eating that food.
Usually a GI below 50 is considered as low and ideal for diabetic patient. Eating the Low GI food do not spike the blood sugar above normal level which means effective blood sugar control for the patient.
Watermelons have high Glycemic Index of 70, Hence eating too much of watermelon will spike blood sugar and disturbs the patient blood sugar control.
Glycemic Load (GL) Value of Watermelon
While GI value gives an indication of blood sugar spike, it’s not the only indicator used by nutritionist. The other important indicator is known as Glycemic Load (GL).
GL is the combination of GI and actual carbohydrate content present in the food. This indicator is considered more important (and realistic) than the GI value alone.
A Low GL value food is considered ideal for diabetic patient as it do not spike the blood sugar value.
Watermelon has high GI value but low GL value, which means that it can spike your blood sugar for only a small period of time and will not provide extra calories to make you fat.
If you compare watermelon with potato, both the food have high GI value but potato is also high in GI value, which means that eating potato will not only spike your blood sugar but will also put extra calories in your fat cells.
From the above two topics we can conclude that Watermelon can spike your blood sugar but it will not make you fat. So if a diabetic patient plans to eat watermelon, make sure to inject required dose of insulin to prevent blood sugar spike.
Nutrient Content of Watermelon
Watermelon is packed with nutrients, some of the important nutrients are listed below:
1. Vitamin A (8%)
a. Watermelon is packed with Vitamin A nutrient. One servings of 300 grams provides 30% of daily dose
b. Vitamin A is helpful for keeping our eyes, heart, kidneys healthy
c. It also boosts immunity by increasing the efficiency of White Blood Cells
2. Vitamin B6 (6%)
a. Helps in breaking down protein. The more protein you eat, the more you need Vitamin B6 for protein metabolism.
b. Needed for brain development of the child
c. Maintain normal nerve function
3. Vitamin C (25%)
a. Watermelon is packed with Vitamin C
b. Vitamin C boost our immunity and protect us from disease
c. Improves heart health and protect from cancer
4. Potassium (8%)
a. Help reduce blood pressure
b. Regulates nerve impulses and control heart beat and muscle contraction
c. Important for bone health
d. Potassium is found inside every cells. Low Potassium levels can cause muscle cramps.
a. The red colour of watermelon is due to lycopene mineral
b. It reduce heart disease and protect the body from cancer
c. Also protect the skin from harmful UV rays
d. Watermelon is the lycopene leader among all fruits and vegetables
6. Magnesium (6%)
a. Important for bone formation
b. Helps improve insulin sensitivity (which means you need less insulin per carbohydrates)
c. Lower the risk of high blood pressure
d. Relieves anxiety
7. Thiamine (6%)
a. Lower the risk of developing cataract
b. Important for carbohydrate metabolism
8. Phosphorous (4%)
a. Important for bone and teeth health
b. Grows and repairs body cells
You can observe that watermelon is full of essential nutrients. It is even packed with important element called Lycopene which is not easily found in any other fruits and vegetables.
With such great amount of nutrient, watermelon offers great benefit for people suffering with diabetes. In the below section, i have tried to cover important benefits of eating watermelon.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
1. Get Hydrated with Watermelon
92% of this fruit is made up of water. Since this fruit is low in calories, it is an excellent source to get yourself hydrated after workout.
Diabetic patients can satisfy their sweettooth with watermelon as they now don’t have to rely on high carbohydrate juice after hitting the gym
2. Reduce your weight with Watermelon
Most of the people suffering from diabetes have weight problems. The patients face difficulty controlling their hunger and indulge in overeating.
Watermelon can be useful in this regard as they are high in fiber which means that they make you feel full and control your hunger.
Infact, in a study it was concluded that taking watermelon daily decreases body weight and BMI Index, which is also an important factor in managing the blood sugar.
Once you take control of your weight, half of the battle of managing blood sugar is won, It’s the weight which is the root of all problems.
Apart from controlling hunger, watermelon is also helpful to keep the digestive tract healthy. Most of the people with diabetes face some kind of digestive problems, hence incorporating small portion of watermelon in the diet will definitely help.
3. Heart Health
Patient with diabetes have two time the risk of developing heart failure. Constant high blood sugar disturbs the flow of blood in the arteries which results in heart related problems like high blood pressure, Heart attack etc.
The benefit of eating watermelon is that it is low in saturated fat and cholesterol which means eating this fruit do not cause any further damage to heart health.
Also, watermelon is packed with essential nutrients citrulline and lycopene which play great role in improving the heart health. Citrulline helps in synthesis of nitric oxide which reduce blood pressure and maintain normal blood pressure. It also has cholesterol lowering properties which prevent the deposition of plaque in the arteries.
The Vitamin C present in Watermelon prevent the hardening of arteries which reduce the heart problem in large extent.
From the above information one can conclude that diabetic people should definitely take some form of watermelon in order to prevent heart related problem in the future.
4. Get your Vision Safe
People suffering from diabetes are in the high risk of getting eye related problems. Eye problem especially retinopathy and cataract is the most common among diabetic patients and severely impact the quality of life.
Watermelon contain nutrients like Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene and Vitamin A that are helpful in keeping the eyes healthy and safe. These vitamin prevent age related macular degeneration and cataract.
5. Prevent Kidney related Issues
a. Watermelon high water content promotes urination which helps to flush out toxin from the body
b. Reduce the risk of kidney stone formation
c. Lowers uric acid levels which cause kidney damage
6. Great for Hypertension and Neuropathy patients
Citrulline enzyme helps relieving the blood vessels and improves the flow of blood in the body.
People suffering from high blood pressure and neuropathy can derive great relief from this enzyme.
Patients suffering from neuropathy feels painful burning sensation in different parts of the body especially the legs. It is caused to due improper blood flow in their body organs.
Citrulline can provide some relief by improving the blood flow in the body organs.
7. Relieves Post Workout Muscle Pain
In a study it is found that taking watermelon juice can help to reduce post workout muscle sores in the body. The enzyme “citrulline” starts removing the lactic acid from the muscle and reduce the inflamation caused due to heavy workout.
If you are diabetic try to avoid taking watermelon in the form of juice because you may drink too much of carbohydrates which may cause blood sugar spike later. Try to cut it in pieces and eat in the raw form only.
8. Improves sexual health among diabetic patient
Erectile dysfunction is one the the common problem affecting diabetic patients. Prolong high blood sugar damages the blood flow in the sexual organ severely affecting the sexual potential of the male.
Citrulline present in watermelon helps in relieving the blood vessels, improving the blood flow in different parts of the body, thus improving the sexual prospect of the diabetic individual, but don’t expect too much of improvement.
From the above we understand that watermelon provide great benefits to diabetic patient if eaten in small portion. This answer the question “is watermelon good for diabetes?” with conviction, however there are certain precaution which diabetic patient need to take.
Precaution for diabetic patients
1. High Glycemic Index (GI) of watermelon cause blood sugar spike in diabetic patients.
People suffering from diabetes need to ensure that they are eating it in small portion and delivering proper dose of insulin in their body.
2. Frequent Urination
Watermelon high water melon can make you urinate more.
So be prepare of frequent trips to the toilet
3. Beware Alcohol Drinkers
People consuming alcohol should try to avoid eating watermelon as the enzyme “Lycopene” reacts with alcohol causing liver inflammation
Watermelon for Type 1 Diabetic Child
There are millions of children across the world suffering from Type 1 diabetes. It become increasingly difficult for the parents to handle their child nutrition and diabetes.
Children have their own food interest and it gets difficult for them to adopt to the new dietary habits.
As far as food is concerned, parents of type 1 diabetic need to be innovative to keep their child food fun and nutritious. It is very important to experiment with different foods and come up with new recipes.
Watermelon is the type of fruit which is both nutritious and diabetic friendly.
One can blend watermelon in smoothies, sandwiches, or in salad so that their child can devour it.
Here are some of the ideas which can be used for your child diet
A. Watermelon and Tomato salad with Olive Oil
|1.5 Cups||Watermelon Chunks|
|1/4 Cup||Chopped Onions|
|2 tbsp||Olive Oil|
|Add Salt, black pepper|
|chilli powder for taste|
1. Mix tomatoes, watermelon chunks, onion and basil in large bowl.
2. Sprinkle olive oil and vinegar, then mix it by adding salt, black pepper and chili powder
3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins
B. Watermelon Smoothie
|3 Cups||Watermelon chunks|
|1 Cup||Almond Milk|
|3 tsp||maple syrup|
Using Almond milk because it is diabetes friendly and do not raise blood sugar. If you replace it with the regular cow milk it will spike your blood sugar and damage your organ so be careful.
1. Freeze the watermelon chunks for atleast an hour before preparation
2. Blend the watermelons in the mixer then top with almond milk, yogurt and maple syrup. Then blend again
3. Serve the watermelon immediately with garnish of fresh mint
C. Watermelon with Lime and Pistachios
|Salt Flakes & Lime|
1. Hit the raw watermelon with tangy lime and salt flakes.
2. Add Pistachios on the plate for protein boost
3. One can also add cinnamon for taste, it will also help in reducing blood sugar in diabetic patients.
D. Watermelon Salad with Cucumber and Cheese
|4 cups||Dices Watermelon|
|5 Ounces||Sliced feta cheese|
1. Mix Watermelon, cheese, cucumber and vinegar in large bowl and refrigerate for 30 Min
2. Spray Salt, Black pepper, olive oil in the mixture
3. you can also put honey but be careful as it will spike the blood sugar in diabetic patients
Research material about Watermelon
1. Therapeutic role of lycopene against oxidative stress, cancer, CVD, diabetes
2. Watermelon and Blood pressure
3.four weeks of watermelon consumption reduced body weight and blood pressure while improving blood lipid profile and antioxidant status
Finally to answer the question is watermelon good for diabetes?, i can say sure you can, but be very careful with the quantities you are eating.
Taking too much of the watermelon can spike your blood sugar and damage your organ. So make sure you are taking it in less amount and then compensating it with the required insulin dose.