Diabetes is a complicated condition. It can best be managed with a well-disciplined lifestyle, regular physical exercise, and a well-balanced, healthy diet. Hence, a diabetic is always concerned about what he or she should eat and what he or she should not eat. In this article, we shall analyze whether eating pumpkin is good or bad for a person who is suffering from diabetes. So, come and join in for the article “Is Pumpkin Good Or Bad For Diabetics?
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Facts About Pumpkin
To begin with, let us look into some of the facts about pumpkin before analyzing the risks and rewards of including pumpkin in the diet of a person who happens to suffer from diabetes.
- One cup of pumpkin is known to contain around 3 grams of fiber and 7.5 grams of carbohydrates. However, the vegetable is less starchy as compared to some of the other vegetables.
- Pumpkin has a low-calorie content. The number of calories in the vegetable is just around 30 units
- Beta-carotene is responsible for the orange color of the vegetable
- The vegetable is known to be a rich source of several nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, as well as vitamin C.
- Although the glycemic index is high at 75, it has a low glycemic load of 3 which means that it does not lead to an increase in the levels of blood glucose to a considerable extent when compared to other vegetables.
The following paragraphs explain the advantages and disadvantages of eating pumpkin by a patient who is suffering from diabetes:
Benefits of Including Pumpkin in a Diabetic Diet
The following are the advantages of including this humble vegetable in your diet, particularly if you are someone who is suffering from a chronic illness like diabetes:
- Pumpkin is known to comprise vitamin C in abundance. This vitamin plays a great role in helping the body to stimulate insulin. Diabetes, as we know, is mainly caused either due to the lack of adequate insulin or when the hormone does not function efficiently. By stimulating the hormone, the vegetable offers several health benefits.
- The various nutrients and vitamins present in pumpkin also help in reviving the damage which is caused to the cells in the pancreas thereby making it possible to treat diabetes and its related complications in an effective manner.
- Diabetes is mainly a disease which adversely affects the metabolic system of your body and that is why there is an oxidative stress that is caused in the diabetes patients. The high antioxidants present in the vegetable goes a long way in helping the diabetic patient to deal with this disease.
- Pumpkin is also known to have a low glycemic index load. Glycemic index is the index which enables experts to calculate the effect of taking in a food on the blood glucose levels of the body.The low glycemic load of pumpkin implies that you can safely eat pumpkin without worrying about the increase in the blood glucose levels.
- The oil which is extracted from the seeds of the pumpkin can go a long way in helping to treat the irritation that is caused in the digestive tract due to the complications that are associated with diabetes.
- Good amounts of potassium present in pumpkin helps to lower blood pressure levels which are very beneficial in effective diabetes management.
- It is a great vegetable if you want to lose weight. The high fiber content helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
- Due to the damage and dysfunction of the endothelial cells, the production of nitrous oxide is deeply hindered in diabetes. This causes damage to the various blood vessels that are responsible for carrying blood in different body parts. Pumpkin is also a rich source of folic acid that can stimulate the release of nitric oxide thereby helping in the management of diabetes.
- Finally, the vegetable is a rich source of iron and unsaturated fats which also play a great role in the efficient management of a chronic illness like diabetes.
Thus, looking at the above-mentioned benefits, eating pumpkin is very good and has several health benefits for the diabetes patients. However, there are a few risks too which you should be mindful of.
Risks of Including Pumpkin in Your Diet if You Are a Diabetic
Be mindful of the following risks that eating pumpkin might have on your health, particularly if you are a person who suffers from diabetes:
- You need to be careful if you are giving pumpkin to your child. In several cases, the vegetable is known to cause various allergies and other reactions.
- The seeds of this vegetable are known to contain a lot of fatty oils. Hence, you need to be extremely careful about the same.
- Pumpkin can have hypoglycemic (very low levels of blood glucose) effects on your body. Hence, if you are someone who already suffers from low levels of blood glucose, you might as well avoid eating pumpkins.
- Like the above point, if you have low blood pressure problem at all times, avoid eating the same as the vegetable will reduce your blood pressure levels even further.
Thus, the above are the few possible risks that the humble vegetable might have. However, if you take moderate amounts of the food and take adequate supervision from your doctor, you should be good to go!
How to Include Pumpkin in Your Diet?
There are various ways in which you can include pumpkin in your diet. Following are some of the easy ways:
- You can cook it out in the form of a vegetable and also include the vegetable in many preparations
- You can add pumpkins in your different types of soups
- You can even roast or bake the vegetable
- The pumpkin can be used as a replacement for potatoes in various preparations
- It can make a great addition to your pasta as well as risotto
- A few people tend to mash the vegetable and include in their diet
- A few others make pies and purees out of this vegetable
These are just some of the ways in which you can include pumpkin in your regular diet. However, this is not an exhaustive list and you could come up with your own innovative ways and take advantage of the various health benefits that pumpkin has to offer.
Guidelines for Including Pumpkin in Your Diet if You Suffer from Diabetes
Keep a note of the following guidelines when you are a diabetic patient and looking forward to including pumpkin in your daily diet:
- While preparing pumpkin, avoid mixing the vegetable with red chili because that tends to take away the nutrients from the vegetable and hence the important health benefits.
- Have it in the recommended quantity. As seen above, there are so many advantages which eating pumpkin offers to the patients with diabetes. However, the phrase “too much of everything is bad” applies in the case of pumpkins too.
- You need to be careful while you are choosing a pumpkin with the maximum health benefits. Choose a pumpkin that has a slightly larger stem, somewhere around a couple of inches. Also, do not settle for the ones that might have a few bruises.
- You can store a pumpkin for many months if you care to take adequate measures. Store them in such a way that the vegetable is able to hold back its moisture. This will not destroy the pumpkin.
- If you plan to keep it in a freezer, you can do so by placing the same in a freezer bag or in a container that is essentially airtight.
- If you make a puree out of the pumpkin and you want to store it, you can do so in an airtight container. This will help the puree to stay fresh for a few days’ time.
Follow the above easy and simple steps and make the most out of the humble vegetable.
We hope that the above article has been helpful in educating you about the relationship between diabetes and the humble vegetable called pumpkin. As is noted from the above points, it is a good vegetable option for all types of diabetes. However, as is true in case of the other food products, you cannot afford to go overboard with the vegetable and should include the same in your regular diet only under an expert supervision!!