Pineapple and Diabetes
Pineapple is a tropical fruit that is packed with healthy nutrients.
If you have diabetes, you may be wondering whether pineapples - or even fruits in general - are a healthy addition to your eating plan.
The short answer is yes, but there are certain considerations to be aware of.
Let’s dive in.
- Protein 0.54 g
- Carbohydrate 12.63 g
- Fat 0.12 g
- Fiber 1.4 g
- Sugar 9.26 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Can Diabetics Eat Fruit?
It is a well-known fact that diabetics should avoid foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, as they not only trigger blood sugar fluctuations but also make it challenging to maintain or lose weight.
Since fruits tend to be high in sugar, some diabetics wrongly assume that they should not be included in their eating plan.
But the truth is that diabetics can consume fruits safely. In fact, fruit consumption is actually recommended for diabetics because they provide a wide range of health benefits and can even lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
But of course, not all fruits are made equal. As a diabetic, you should aim to consume fruits that have a low to medium glycemic index because their effect on blood sugar is less pronounced. It is also important to consider the health benefits of specific fruits in order to choose the ones that are the most beneficial.
Finally, it is important to aim for moderation in order to minimize the negative effects of sugar.
Now that we’ve cleared up a common misconception regarding diabetes and fruits, let’s explore the nutritional facts for pineapple and the benefits of consuming it.
Pineapple Nutrients and Health Benefits
Pineapples are packed with a variety of nutrients that can provide health benefits for diabetics. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
A single cup of pineapple has more than half the amount of Manganese you need per day. Manganese is a nutrient that plays an essential role in improving metabolism, bone health, and brain function.
Interestingly, studies show that diabetics tend to have low levels of manganese. While it is not clear why this is so, incorporating foods high in manganese into your diet can provide a direct benefit for diabetes management by stabilizing blood sugar and aiding in the proper secretion of insulin.
Pineapple is also high in vitamin C, which has been proven to provide numerous health benefits, including enhanced immune system functioning and blood pressure management.
Moreover, when it comes to pineapple and type 2 diabetes, a study has shown that Vitamin C supplementation can drop blood sugar spikes by 36% after meals and lower overall blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
Pineapples are high in antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds.
Since diabetics often have high levels of free radicals, these antioxidants are beneficial because they can reduce oxidative stress and consequently provide benefits such as lowered blood sugar and decreased risk of heart disease.
Moreover, some of the antioxidants found in pineapple are considered bound antioxidants, which means that they can provide long-term benefits.
Pineapple’s Glycemic Index
Glycemic index (GI) is a score that measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar.
As we’ve discussed previously, the best food choices for diabetics are those low in GI, because they prevent blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day.
Pineapple has a GI score of 59, which is considered medium. This means that pineapple is not the best food choice for diabetics, but it can be consumed moderately with certain considerations.
Tips for Incorporating Pineapple Into Your Diet
If you wish to incorporate pineapple into your diet, here are some tips to do so safely:
Only Consume Raw or Frozen Pineapple
The GI score of fruits highly depends on their form.
Pineapple juice, canned pineapple, and dried pineapple have a higher GI score than raw and frozen pineapple, so they are better avoided.
Pair Pineapple With Protein and Healthy Fats
Pairing pineapple with protein and healthy fats slows down digestion, which in turn lowers the glycemic impact of pineapple.
Here are some examples of pineapple recipes that are high in protein and fats:
- Pineapple chicken
- Pineapple shrimp
- Pineapple and greek yogurt smoothie
- Pineapple and avocado salsa
- Pineapple walnut salad
Fiber - particularly the soluble type - lowers the glycemic index of foods that it is consumed with.
Fiber also provides additional health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, improved heart health, and improved digestive health. Additionally, fiber increases satiety, which can be very helpful for diabetics aiming to control or lower their body weight.
Here are some sources of soluble fiber:
- Seeds and nuts
Alternatively, you can pair pineapple with a fiber supplement such as Psyllium Husk.
Aim for Moderation
As we’ve discussed, pineapples can be a healthy addition to your eating plan. Yet even if you follow all the tips we’ve covered, pineapples are still relatively high in sugar. Therefore, moderation is key if you wish to reap the health benefits of pineapple without triggering negative effects such as weight gain and blood sugar spikes.
A great way to ensure moderation is to carefully track your carbohydrate consumption per day and per meal.
Nutritional guidelines for diabetics can vary greatly depending on gender, activity levels, and other variables, but according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a good starting point is to aim to get half of your calories from carbohydrates.
One serving of pineapple includes 13 grams of carbohydrates, so it is easy to incorporate it into your meals. But since its sugar content is high, try to limit your consumption to a few servings per week.
Pineapples are a nutritional powerhouse that can be enjoyed by diabetics, as long as it is consumed moderately, in the right form, and in combination with fats, protein, and fiber to minimize blood sugar fluctuations.
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