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Coconut for Diabetics : Is it Safe?

When you hear the word Diabetes – a lot of people take it to be a death sentence. This was true in the days before insulin, but it’s still not a condition to take lightly.

A healthy lifestyle is extremely important to living well with diabetes, and managing your diet plays a significant part in this process.

Once you know how foods, especially carbohydrates affect your blood sugar, you can evaluate foods such as fresh coconuts and make educated estimates with your educator or doctor about whether and when you can eat them.

Read below to know a bit more in detail about this plant food called Coconut.

Coconut is a plant food and rich in nutrients. When thinking of a healthy diet, the milk, oil and cream of coconut all are beneficial.In fact, the oil, which is solid at room temperature, is excellent for cooking. ( This you must know is common in many South Indian households)

On the other hand, sweetened coconut products, such as the flakes used in baking are not recommended for people with diabetes.

Nutritional benefits:

Coconuts are high in naturally occurring saturated fat such as lauric acid.

Lauric acid is converted in the body into monolaurin a beneficial compound that destroys a variety of organisms that cause disease.

It is used to fight common colds and viral infections, such as flu.

Coconuts also contain the following nutrients that can have benefits for the body:

  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium

Find the fibre:

Coconut is an exceptional source of dietary fiber. So much so that coconut fiber is packaged in capsule forms and sold as health supplement for people who don’t get enough in their food.A small snack-sized portion of fresh coconut contains 4 grams of dietary fiber, a full 16 percent of your recommended dietary intake.

A food that gives you this much fiber in exchange for just 2 percent of your day’s carbohydrates is definitely a smart choice for diabetics.

A few considerations:

Just like all things there are few considerations to bear in mind when it comes to coconuts.

  1. Coconut is high in fats, especially saturated fats: so if you’re struggling with your weight, it’s something to eat in moderation. On the other hand, those fats can be a positive. In combination with the slow-digesting fiber, they’ll help keep you full longer. This means you are less likely to snack, and this helps with both weight loss and sugar management.
  2. Fresh coconut eaten in moderation is a good dietary option for diabetics. In case you don’t have a fresh coconut, then roughly 28-30 grams of dried coconut is equivalent to a 2-inch square of fresh coconut.
  3. Avoid the variety you get from your supermarket’s baking section, which is stiff with added sugar.

Smart monitoring:

The recommended intake of fiber for people with and without diabetes is 25 to 38 grams per day. And all the above considerations are to be kept in mind as well. But it can be difficult to get the exact intake each time and keep yourself away from other forms of food. Therefore it is advised to keep a check on your blood sugar levels using a smart glucometer. This will help you understand the effect of your food intake and lifestyle on your blood sugar levels.

Also it is advisable to talk to your healthcare provider or educators about including any new food item in your diabetes diet list.

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