Luscious and delicious, yes… but are mangoes diabetes-safe?￼
Sweet and juicy, creamy and luscious, it’s hard to pass up on the deliciousness of a mango. But for those with diabetes, there’s always a doubt about whether you can have mangoes or not, and if you can, just how much.
So, is mango good for diabetes? Let’s take a deeper look at whether those with diabetes can indulge in a mango or two.
First, a quick understanding of what diabetes is doing to your body
When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or is unable to use it optimally, resulting in too much blood sugar remaining in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause chronic health issues such as heart and kidney disease.
Some of the telltale signs of diabetes include hunger, fatigue, excessive thirst and urination, dry mouth and itchy skin, blurred vision, and sometimes yeast infections.
So, why is healthy eating important for those with diabetes?
Healthy eating is one of the most important tools in managing diabetes because what you eat directly affects your blood sugar levels. Now, not all food causes an equal increase in blood sugar levels. This is where an understanding of glycemic index (GI) is important.
GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates and indicates how fast a type of food affects glucose levels.
Processed, fatty, and sugary foods are high GI and can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Whole grains, lean meat, beans, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables are low or medium GI and help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
That brings us to the question, is mango good for diabetes?
The glycemic index of mango is 56, which makes it a low GI food. Any food that ranks under 55 is considered low GI and therefore makes for a better food choice for those living with diabetes. But, mango needs to be eaten in moderation because despite being a low GI food, over 90% of the calories come from sugar, which is why it can lead to increased blood sugar in people with diabetes if consumed in large quantities.
Mangoes come with their own share of health benefits too
· Mangoes are rich in beta-carotene (the pigment that gives it its yellow-orange colour), an antioxidant, and therefore helps fight free radicals, which can cause damage to cells and sometimes lead to cancer.
· Mangoes are rich in magnesium and potassium, which help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
· Mangoes are a good source of dietary fibre and are therefore effective in relieving constipation. Not just that, because of their high fibre content, they make you feel fuller, which helps in weight loss. This can also help to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
· Mangoes are rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, leading to better immunity.
Is mango good for diabetes? Yes, if you include mango in your diet the smart way!
Here are some ways to include the goodness of mangoes in your diet even if you are living with diabetes:
Moderation: Avoid overeating mango so you can enjoy the fruit while minimizing its effects on your blood sugar. Eat the mango in three parts rather than at one time. The rule of thumb is that a single serving of carbs from any food should ideally be at 15 grams, just a little more than ½ a cup of sliced mango. So, if you have diabetes, you don’t have to exclude mango from your diet. Just eat ½ a cup at a time and see how your body responds.
Add in some protein: Protein helps control glucose spikes, so if you eat a little protein like a boiled egg or nuts alongside the mango, you can maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Here’s a recipe you might enjoy: Mix avocado, cherry tomatoes, some sliced onions, chopped mango, walnuts, and cucumber. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and lime, and enjoy this low GI, a nutritious salad that will also satiate your mango cravings.
With its low GI of 51, mango can be a healthy food choice for those living with diabetes if eaten in moderation. Mango is rich in fibre and antioxidants and therefore is a good addition to your diet; if eaten in the right proportion, it may help to keep normal blood sugar levels. Also, remember that there is no cure for diabetes as yet. Taking your medication as prescribed, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring an active life with regular exercise will help you manage diabetes.