Pumpkins are large, round, vibrant orange winter squash that are rich in nutrients and low in calories. The past few years have seen an explosion of pumpkin-flavored foods, especially in Western cuisine.
Spiced pumpkin latte, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin donut, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin ravioli, to name a few. Although this is not part of the desi culture, in India, this Halloween staple has found its way into the recipe of many Ayurvedic medicines due to its diabetic friendly properties. When cooked properly and eaten in normal quantities, pumpkin offers many properties that positively affect blood sugar levels.
This article shares everything you need to know about pumpkin and diabetes.
Pumpkin benefits for diabetes
A case study shows that adding pumpkin to the diet significantly improves blood sugar levels. The results also indicate that protein and oil from pumpkin seeds and sugars from pumpkin pulp provide anti-diabetic properties.
Here are some of the benefits of eating pumpkin if you have diabetes:
The effect of pumpkin on blood sugar
The glycemic load (GL) rating system for a food shows how much sugar from carbohydrates goes into the bloodstream. A food with a GL less than 10 has little effect on your blood sugar.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure that describes how much a food will raise blood sugar levels. A higher number on the GI scale means that the food will cause your blood sugar levels to rise significantly.
Because the glycemic index does not take into account the carbohydrate content of a food, the glycemic load provides a more accurate prediction of how much a portion of a food will affect blood sugar levels.
Despite the high blood sugar level of 75, pumpkin has a low GL of 3. Therefore, eating just one serving of pumpkin will not significantly affect your blood sugar levels. However, care must be taken, as eating a large portion of pumpkin can significantly increase blood sugar levels.
vitamins in pumpkin
Pumpkin contains vitamin A that helps control blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can lead to many health problems, so taking vitamin A is important.
Vitamin A is also essential for eye health and can help prevent conditions such as cataracts, night blindness, and age-related macular degeneration. These health problems are common in long-term diabetes.
The vitamin C in pumpkin can help type 2 diabetics avoid damage to blood vessels due to high glucose levels. In addition, it can slow down the excessive breakdown of insulin.
Collagen cannot exist without vitamin C, which is also needed for the synthesis of the chemical cortisol, which is essential for maintaining blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes often experience a tight stomach and poor digestion. Cooked squash, as in soups and purees, calms the digestive system and aids good digestion.
On top of that, you get 3 grams of dietary fiber from a cup of pumpkin. Pumpkin fiber regulates bowel movements and slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Eating pumpkin in moderation is not likely to cause your blood sugar to spike because it has a low glycemic index. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in fresh, cooked and mashed pumpkin improves digestion and slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream. As a result, it is easier to avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
How to add pumpkin to your diabetes meal plan
Before adding pumpkin to your diet, find the type or source that has the least impact on your blood sugar. For example, canned squash often contains high amounts of added sugars and refined carbohydrates, which is unhealthy for diabetes.
Likewise, drinking a pumpkin spice latte and eating pumpkin-flavored foods do not provide the same benefits as eating a fresh, whole pumpkin. However, you can try making a sweet or savory pumpkin treat at home by reducing the sugar.
Pumpkin contains different amounts of nutrients, calories, and carbohydrates depending on whether it’s fresh or canned. Homemade pumpkin puree usually contains fewer calories, carbohydrates, and additives than canned puree.
Fresh, canned, pre-chopped squash without salt are good options for convenience. However, always check the nutrition label to find any hidden calories and additives. When buying canned pumpkin, check for 100% pumpkin on the label.
Some healthy ways to add pumpkin to your eating plan are:
- pumpkin juice
- roasted pumpkin
- roasted pumpkin seeds In a cereal bowl or with your favorite low-carb condiments
- Puree pumpkin in oatmeal, curry, juice, or yogurt
- Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin can help regulate blood sugar levels for people with and without diabetes. It is low in calories and glycemic index, which makes it a good choice for diabetics.
Including pumpkin in your diet may help you manage your blood sugar, as long as you eat it in its least processed form and moderate your portion size.
Although fresh squash is healthier, most people consume it as sugary drinks, baked goods, and holiday pies. However, eating a healthy version of pumpkin is better for managing blood sugar.
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