Diabetes is a serious health condition in which the body cannot make sufficient insulin or does not use insulin the way it should. The insulin hormone helps sugar or glucose enter the body’s cells. Sugar accumulates in our blood when the body cannot make or use insulin efficiently. But the good news is that we can control our blood sugar with medicines, a healthy diet and exercise.
Although fruits are one of the crucial parts of a healthy diabetes diet, certain fruits are high in their natural sugar content and having them in excess may cause blood sugar spikes. So, is papaya good for diabetes? Let us find out!
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Papaya Nutritional Profile
A fresh papaya of about 150 grams contains:
- Approximately 67 calories
- 2.67 grams of dietary fibre
- 95.6 mg of vitamin C
- 286 milligrams of potassium
- 31 mg of calcium and 33 mg of magnesium
Also, papaya contains just 11 grams of sugar, making it safe for diabetes, but when consumed in moderation. And the best part is that the fruit is available throughout the year.
Papaya and Its Health Advantages for Diabetes
Here are a few reasons which make papaya good for diabetes:
- Low Glycemic Index
The sweetness of ripe papayas is due to a sugar called fructose that will not harm us unless we consume too much of the fruit. Also, papaya has a low glycemic index of 60, meaning it does not cause instant blood sugar spikes.
- Papaya Is Healthy
How is papaya good for diabetes? It has nutrients like vitamins A, B and E, folic acid, potassium, copper, beta-carotene and magnesium. Therefore, it makes for the shortfall in nutrition that most individuals with diabetes tend to suffer from.
Vitamin C in papaya helps boost immunity, and vitamin A is beneficial for vision. These vitamins also show antioxidant properties that fight cell damage by free radicals and other chronic health conditions, like cardiovascular diseases and also cancer.
The magnesium content in papaya makes it a diabetes super food as it controls blood glucose levels and relaxes the nerves and muscles.
Diabetes can increase the risk of different cardiac problems, which we can manage by having papaya regularly. The antioxidants in papaya do not allow plaque to accumulate in the arteries. Plaque can harden and narrow the arteries, thus disrupting blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack.
Papaya can also help with cell regeneration, which is specifically beneficial because diabetes can often cause cell damage. The kidney is also a vital organ affected by the disease. Experts say papaya helps improve kidney function by stabilising uric acid levels.
- Papaya Keeps Us Full for a Long
Papaya is quite filling, which makes papaya good for diabetes. Our body takes a good time, specifically 4-5 hours, to digest the fruit, which curbs hunger pangs and prevents us from unhealthy snacking.
- Insulin Boost
People with diabetes might require insulin shots, irrespective of type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Consuming a small bowl of papaya can increase insulin production in the body and stop the progress of both forms of diabetes.
- Papaya Is Rich in Fibre Content
Papaya contains soluble and insoluble fibres, which make papaya good for diabetes. While the insoluble fibres aid digestion, the soluble ones help slow down sugar absorption. They do not allow blood glucose levels to rise as our body cannot break down the fibres. Hence, we can have it in moderation without worrying about blood sugar fluctuations.
- Papaya Helps in Digestion
Higher glucose levels in the blood can lead to gastroparesis, which affects our ability to digest foods properly. But we can prevent this condition by consuming papaya. It contains papain, a digestive enzyme, which breaks down complex proteins into tiny particles, making them easier to digest. Besides that, papain protects the digestive tract from any inflammation effects. Thus, our bodies can remain protected from irritable bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
The Right Time to Take Papaya for Diabetes
Experts suggest eating the fruit as an evening or mid-day snack as ripe fruit. It is a good option to make papaya juice or a smoothie to obtain all of its nutrients. We can also make a fruit salad with papaya, mango and pineapple cubes.
So, is papaya good for diabetes? Hopefully, we have succeeded in answering. Papaya can be an essential part of our healthy diabetes diet because its nutrient content will help our bodies function normally. But we should remember that moderation is the key. Overeating papaya or any fruit can harm people with diabetes. Thus, it is best to consult a healthcare provider before consuming papaya, as they are the best people to tell us how much we should eat and when.