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Diabetes and Watermelon: Is It Safe to Eat?

With summers coming in, one fruit that should be thoroughly enjoyed is watermelon. Although, there’s a myth surrounding fruits that it is not harmful to eat plenty, it’s always important to check the nutritional information first.

As we all know, diabetes is a condition which makes you monitor your sugar readings after every meal. Moreover, with watermelon containing high sugars it is important to know how it is going to affect the sugar levels.

Research on link between diabetes and watermelon

There is no research that proves a direct connection of watermelon with diabetes management. However, there are some evidences suggesting the intake of watermelon can reduce diabetes-related complications.

Watermelon contains moderate amounts of lycopene which is considered to be a powerful antioxidant. Although research is required, lycopene is may help reduce heart diseases.

Benefits of watermelon

Also known as Citrullus lanatus, watermelon has amazing benefits ranging from nourishing your eyes to reviving your immune system. The other benefits of watermelon has been discussed below,

  • Reduces Body Fat

Citrulline, present in watermelon has been known to decrease collection of fat. It is an amino acid that turns into arginine with the help of the kidneys. Citrulline, when retained can cease the movement of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific antacid phosphatase) which makes our fat cells to make less fat, and in this manner counteracts over-accumulation of fat.

  • Bone and cardiovascular health

Watermelon is known to contain lycopene that gives red colour to fruits and vegetables. Lycopene is important for our cardiovascular health and also known to improve bone health. It also helps to reduce the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts which results in improvement of bone health. As watermelon is also rich in potassium, it helps to retain calcium in the body which also contributes to the health of bones.

  • Eye Health

Another wonderful source in watermelon is beta-carotene (the rich red hue in watermelon) which is converted into Vitamin A. beat- carotene helps in preventing night blindness and age-related macular degeneration. Also, it helps in producing pigments in the retina of the eyes.

  • Kidney and Diuretic support

Watermelon helps to ease out the liver process ammonia which eases the kidney to release excess fluids. Moreover, watermelon is a natural diuretic which increases the flow of urine but does not strain the kidneys.

  • Nerve and muscle support

Watermelon is a natural electrolyte in the action of nerves and muscles. Also, potassium present in the watermelon determines the frequency and degree with which our muscles contract and controls the movement of our body.

  • Wound Healing & Prevention of cell damage

The role of Vitamin C helps in healing wounds and is proven in many studies because it is important for formation of new connective tissues. The enzymes required in forming collagen (the fundamental segment of wound healing) can’t work without vitamin C. In fact, if you are experiencing any slow-healing wounds, increase your intake of vitamin C products.

Moreover, watermelon is a source to various other vitamins and minerals, such as:

  • Vitamin B-6
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Watermelon and Glycaemic Index

The debate of watermelon and diabetes starts with Glycaemic Index (GI). Glycaemic Index is a measure of blood glucose response by which it can be determined how sooner your glucose levels increase. The values are determined usually by taking a reference food item.  Sugar or white bread is generally taken.

Glycaemic Load (GL) is a measure that combines GI and the actual carbohydrate content in a typical food.

People who manage diabetes on the basis of carbohydrate count consider the GI or GL of food items. Foods that have low GI are less likely to increase the sugar levels.

A  GI of more than 70 is considered to be high whereas anything between 55 and 69 is considered to be medium. A GI of less than 55 is considered to be low. In case of GL, a measure under 10 is low whereas 10 to 19 is medium and above 19 is considered to be high.

Watermelon has always been in debate because of its high Glycaemic Index. Watermelon typically has a GI of 72 per 100 grams.  However, the GL of watermelon is 2 per 100 grams. This is why in spite of low GL, watermelon is always argued to be a diabetes-friendly fruit or not.

Diabetes care

In this summer time, it is almost difficult to say no to watermelons. Despite the fact that the fruit contains 92% water, it should be included only after looking at the diet in whole. Due to its high GI, watermelon should be taken in moderate quantity.

Visit your doctor and discuss about the desire to add this fruit in your diet. After looking at the health profile and current diet plan might provide you with the apt solution or else may suggest you a dietician/diabetes educator. A dietician/diabetes educator would be able to respond to all the questions and recommend portion size. What you can do is to keep track of your sugar levels and check for any unusual spikes in the sugar readings. Consult your diabetes educator in case of any abnormal fluctuations.

With that note, here are few interesting facts about watermelon:

  • Watermelon is a mind booster as a result of its richness in Vitamin B6 which has got high impact for proper working of brain. Also, consistency of water content in watermelon makes it best nourishment for brain that itself comprises of 85% water.
  • Watermelon helps in flushing out kidney stones and also prevents stone formation as well.
  • Did you know this water-rich fruit grows in water-scarce land i.e. desert?
  • Eating watermelon can relieve sore muscles and hence is a great post strenuous workout fruit.

This summer, do not hesitate in eating this fruit rich in vitamins and minerals. As someone said,

“Do not let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon.”

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