Are Mangos Okay for Diabetics?
As summer continues, many people find themselves craving sweet juicy mangoes. Some just can’t resist buying this King of Fruits in the nearest grocery store. Some Mango lovers even order them online or sign up for a regular supply of mango gift baskets. But many of us must be cautious when it comes to diet. For those who may be diabetic this can be a serious concern leading to the question of whether or not mangos are okay to eat.
Diabetes is a lifetime health condition wherein a person’s blood sugar level becomes too high. There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes – where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
- Type 2 Diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. Type 2 Diabetes is far more common.
Often people with diabetes wonder whether mangoes with their natural sugar content, are good for them. And if so, which mangoes are the best to buy. There has been a continuous debate on mangoes and its effect on people with diabetes over the years. While there is no arguing that mangoes are nutritious and provide plenty of health benefits, whether they are good for diabetics is still questionable.
The key to maintaining diabetes is to strictly focus on low carbohydrate intake because every 5 grams of carbohydrates increases 100 units of blood sugar in the body. For a diabetic, the total carbohydrate intake should only be 100 grams per day. This means that if you wish to add mango to your diet, consider avoiding other sources of carbohydrates like rice, pasta, and wheat.
Health Benefits of Mangoes
Passing up on mangoes and other fruits all together because of diabetes may cause you to lose the opportunity to gain health benefits. These benefits may be beneficial to your health condition and help you maintain your sugar level over time.
What Vitamins do Mangoes Have?
So what vitamins do mangoes have? Fresh mangoes are rich in Vitamin C. A cup can provide 100% of the recommended dietary intake for this nutrient. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides many health benefits including healthy teeth and gums and fast wound healing. Mangoes are also rich in Vitamin A and can provide 36% of the daily recommended intake. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision, reproduction, and immune function. Not to mention that mangoes also provide folate (helps red blood cell development), vitamin K, copper, and potassium.
You can minimize a mango’s impact in your blood sugar level and at the same time enjoy the many health benefits of mangoes by moderating your intake. Avoid eating too much at one time. Most of the calories in a mango come from sugar which can cause a spike in your sugar level. Mangoes can be a healthy choice for people with diabetes if taken in moderation.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a tool used to monitor the effect of a certain food on the blood sugar level in your body. Any food that ranks under 55 is considered low on this scale and may be a good choice for people with diabetes. A mango’s GI is 51, which is classified as a low GI food.
Which mangoes to buy?
There are countless varieties of mangoes available. Whether you buy mangoes from your local grocery store or online, choosing the right variety can help prevent a rise in your sugar level. Varieties that are on the tangier side are likely to have lower GI like the Badami or Karnataka Alphonso. And always remember as the mangoes become ripe and soft, the GI of the mango also increases.
Fresh mangoes are always the safest. Processed mangoes like dried or canned mangoes have a higher sugar concentration level and are not as rich as fresh mangoes in vitamins and minerals.
Add Protein To The Diet
Like fiber, protein can help minimize an increase in blood sugar when consumed together with carbohydrate-rich foods like mango. Adding a protein-source like a boiled egg or a piece of cheese to your diet may result in a slower rise in blood sugar than if you were to eat a mango by itself.
Most experts would agree that mangoes should be taken based on the intensity of the problem. If you always experience a high level of blood sugar content then you should definitely avoid eating mangoes, although it may be okay to eat a portion of it once in a while in borderline cases. For a diabetic, adding mangoes to your diet can become quite problematic, as proper diet is an important part of controlling a diabetic’s blood sugar level. If you love these great tasting, juicy “king of fruits”, consult with your doctor or nutritionist to help you adjust your daily diet and fit in this delicious fruit to your life.