Melon and Diabetes
Melon is a fantastic diet for maintaining adequate energy levels and managing blood glucose levels.
Namely, it is high in fiber, B vitamins and has a low glycemic load, helping you stay hydrated, active, and alert. However, is the use of melon for diabetes management a thing? Does melon present certain benefits that are helpful for diabetics? We’ll provide answers to this and other related inquiries in this article.
- Protein 0.54 g
- Carbohydrate 9.09 g
- Fat 0.14 g
- Fiber 0.8 g
- Sugar 8.12 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Nutritional Value of Melons
One cup of diced melons (cantaloupe) offers 12.7 g of carbohydrates, 1.31 g of protein, and 1.4 g of dietary fiber, according to the USDA. On the other hand, you get a relatively higher carb content and a slightly lower protein and fiber content from a cup of diced honeydew melon. Moreover, the caloric content of the cantaloupe fruit is extremely low at just 53 cal per cup (61.2 cal per cup of honeydew melons), making it an ideal option for weight loss fanatics.
Additionally, melons are a particularly rich source of beta-carotene, which functions as a key antioxidant in the body, according to researchers. Cantaloupe also contains 12% of your daily potassium needs, crucial for the heart, muscles, and blood pressure.
Finally, although cantaloupe has a medium glycemic index (GI) of 65, its low glycemic load (GL) of 4 and high water content (90%) compensates for this. This means your body will digest it slowly, avoiding unhealthy blood sugar peaks.
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Benefits of Melon Consumption for Diabetes
Controls Blood Pressure
Potassium, one of the key elements contained in cantaloupes, is a vasodilator that aids the relaxation of blood vessels and the subsequent reduction of blood pressure.
Abnormally high blood pressure can induce stress, prompting the release of stress chemicals like cortisol, which is detrimental for a person with diabetes. This is because it might bring our anxiety and mood changes, disabling them from carrying out their routine diabetes management practices. Thankfully, potassium increases blood flow to the brain, inducing a calm sensation.
Low GI and Low-Calorie Content
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a moderate intake of fruits. Since melon has a medium GI and a low GL, it provides excellent benefits when eaten in moderation. Moreover, its high protein and dietary fiber content make you feel fuller quicker, so you'll eat less.
May Help With Weight Loss
Avoiding excessive weight gain is critical in the prevention of diabetes complications like cardiovascular disorders. Cantaloupe is low in calories, meaning it can aid your weight loss goals. In addition, the intake of water by overweight postmenopausal women yielded significant weight reduction in a one-year study. Since cantaloupe offers a whopping 90% water content, then its intake would provide similar benefits.
People with diabetes are susceptible to developing infections, reinforcing the importance of a robust immune system. Vitamin A, found in melon, is a crucial line of defense for a healthy immune system. Notably, it increases the production of white blood cells, which seek out and eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses, and other hazardous chemicals or foreign entities that might have gained access to the bloodstream, according to research.
Slows Down Arthritis
A mouthwatering 47% of all diabetic adults also have arthritis. More specifically, people with this joint disease have a 61% higher risk of developing diabetes.
According to research on the benefits of melon for diabetes, the phytochemicals in cantaloupes have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This means that including this melon in your diet can help reduce inflammation by minimizing oxidative stress in your joints and bones.
Research on Melon and Diabetes
Reports from the USDA suggest cantaloupe has more beta-carotene than other similar fruits like mangoes and oranges. This is especially beneficial as studies show that beta carotene may confer protection to individuals with a prevalent genetic risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Long-term, low-dose beta-carotene treatment was also found to be helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular problems in an animal study. Following consumption, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A or functions as a potent antioxidant to help combat free radicals that assault your body's cells.
Health Risks of Cantaloupe
While cantaloupe presents a host of diabetes-friendly benefits, its rough, net-like rind can serve as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Hence, it’s advised to use a vegetable brush to wash the outside under running water before cutting. Also, rinse your knife after each cut to prevent infection.
Additionally, it’s essential to watch your consumption, especially for people with diabetes. This is because it contains specific nutrients that might be detrimental to diabetic health, as seen below.
If you suffer cramps, diarrhea, or have difficulties digesting food, the fruit's high fiber content might present intestinal issues. As such, it’s advised to minimize your cantaloupe intake if you have cancer, have had intestinal surgery, or have an inflammatory illness.
Although this mineral is beneficial in blood pressure regulation, kidney disease patients with diabetes are advised to consume it with discretion. Namely, hyperkalemia might ensue following the inability of the kidneys to filter out excessive potassium.
How to Include Melon (Cantaloupes) in Your Diet
Here are some exciting ideas to try out the next time you lay your hands on this excellent fruit:
- Toss it in a salad
- Eat it for breakfast
- Fill a half cantaloupe with yogurt and toppings
- Consume the seeds
Melons like cantaloupe and honeydew melon are nutritious, tasty, and adaptable treats for people with diabetes looking to include fruits in their diet. Despite their nutritional profile, they still present certain health risks to specific individuals (e.g., kidney disease patients). Hence, it’s advised you eat them in minimal portions.
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