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Watermelon for diabetics: Good or bad?

Watermelon for diabetics: Good or bad?

It’s hot and sticky, and everyone seems to be talking about cooling down. What better way to do it than eating hydrating fruits this summer? Without a doubt, watermelon tops the list of favourite summer fruits, thanks to its high water content. But is this sweet fruit bad for diabetics? Will eating watermelon shoot up blood sugar levels? These are some of the questions that pop up in minds of those living with diabetes or those who look after diabetics. Let’s find out if watermelon and diabetes make a good pair.

To get answers to questions related to watermelon and diabetes, HealthShots reached out to Dr Aabid Amin Bhat, Consultant Internal Medicine, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Karnal.

Health benefits of watermelon

Watermelon is a highly nutritious fruit that offers several health benefits. It is a great way to stay hydrated as it contains a high amount of water.

Watermelon and diabetes
Watermelon can be added to a diabetic’s diet, but with caution. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

There are some more potential benefits of this summer fruit!

1. Heart health

The lycopene and citrulline in watermelon may help to improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure, says Dr Bhat.

2. Antioxidants

Watermelon is a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin C and lycopene, which may help to protect against cellular damage and prevent chronic diseases.

3. Digestive health

Those with stomach issues should include watermelon in their diet as it is rich in fiber, which can aid in digestion.

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4. Skin health

The high water content and vitamin C in watermelon can help to keep the skin hydrated and improve its overall appearance.

5. Exercise recovery

The amino acid citrulline found in watermelon may help to reduce muscle soreness and even improve muscle recovery after an intense workout.

Is watermelon healthy for diabetics?

People who aren’t watching their sugar intake for high blood sugar levels can reap the health benefits of watermelon. Yes, it is a sweet fruit, but it has a low glycemic load, which is a measure of the number of carbohydrates in a serving of food. So, people with diabetes can safely consume watermelon, but in moderation as part of a balanced diet, says Dr Bhat. It’s important to note that people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels after eating watermelon and be mindful of portion sizes. A typical serving size should be about one cup of diced watermelon. It contains approximately 11 grams of carbohydrates.

watermelon and diabetes
Watermelon is more than a hydrating fruit. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Considering the overall dietary intake of people with diabetes and consulting with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized nutrition plan are also important. So, watermelon is not bad for diabetics, but people with diabetes should consume it in moderation and consider their overall dietary intake to manage their blood sugar levels effectively.

But no need to pout in disappointment as there are several summer fruits that people with diabetes can enjoy as part of a healthy, balanced diet. The expert suggests berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries for diabetics. These are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them a great option for people with diabetes. Plums are also low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also a good source of antioxidants and may even help to improve blood sugar control. The green fruit, Kiwi, is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. It also contains enzymes that may help improve digestion and promote overall health. Melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew are great options as well. They are low in calories and high in water content, making them a great way to stay hydrated this summer.

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