Avocados are a great option for people with diabetes, both type I and type II.
Your physical activity levels and the foods you consume help regulate your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing diabetes-related complications, such as nerve damage, heart diseases, chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, frequent infections, and stroke.
Avocados can be included in a diabetes diet plan regardless of the type of diabetes (type I, type II, or gestational diabetes). Including these versatile fruits in your daily calorie consumption can help you manage your blood sugar levels and maintain overall health.
11 reasons why people with diabetes should have avocados in their diet
- Low glycemic index: Glycemic index or GI refers to the extent to which a particular food can raise your blood sugar. Avocados have a low GI, which means that eating them would not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This helps maintain steady blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
- Improve insulin sensitivity: Studies suggest that avocados improve insulin sensitivity. Low insulin sensitivity is typically seen in type II diabetes. This means that although insulin is present in the body, it does not work properly. Consuming avocados may help improve insulin action in the body, thereby aiding diabetes management.
- Lower inflammation: Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, are characterized by low-grade chronic inflammation. This can contribute to several diabetes-related complications. Avocados contain anti-inflammatory compounds that lower inflammation. They are rich in antioxidants that protect against the damaging effect of harmful chemical species called free radicals, thereby protecting various tissues and organs in the body.
- Source of heart-healthy fats: Avocados are a good source of heart-healthy fats, also called good fats. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends including foods with heart-healthy fats in the diet. The fats in avocados include mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, both of which are good for the heart. One avocado fruit (about 150 grams) provides 14.7 grams of monounsaturated fats and 2.73 grams of polyunsaturated fats. These fats are good for you because they help keep the heart and blood vessels healthy and lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
- Promote satiety: Avocados score high in providing satiety or a sense of fullness due to high fat and high fiber content. This helps get over frequent food cravings and overeating that may cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The high healthy fats and fiber content of avocados are primarily responsible for satiety for longer periods.
- A source of essential micronutrients: Avocados contain various essential minerals and vitamins (collectively called micronutrients) that help promote health in people with diabetes. Minerals in avocado include iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, while the vitamins include vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamins K and E. These nutrients help strengthen immunity, maintain health and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
- Help manage blood pressure: Studies suggest that avocados promote blood vessel and heart health, regulate blood cholesterol levels and help manage blood pressure. They contain minerals (such as potassium) and various antioxidants that help regulate blood pressure. Raised blood pressure can lead to added health risks in people with diabetes.
- Promote gut health: Gut health plays an important role in managing blood sugar levels and strengthening immunity. One avocado provides about 10 grams of fiber that promotes healthy bowel movement and the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Avocados may help relieve constipation that is commonly seen in people with diabetes.
- Help manage weight: Avocados help manage weight. A higher body mass index or BMI increases the risk of insulin resistance and thus diabetes. Achieving healthy weight loss helps in blood sugar control. Avocados can help you manage your weight in various ways, particularly by lowering hunger pangs and increasing your metabolic rate. You must, however, be cautious about portions while eating avocados as well. One fruit (about 150 grams) provides about 240 calories. Thus, do count your calories while snacking on avocado slices or using them as spreads.
- Maintain healthy nerves: Nerve damage is a common complication in people with diabetes. Avocados contain various substances (such as vitamin B6 and antioxidants) that prevent nerve damage and help promote nerve health.
- Protect against diabetic eye disease: Various eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataract, and glaucoma, can affect people with diabetes. These are collectively called diabetic eye diseases. Avocados may help promote eye health because they contain antioxidants, such as lutein, that protect the eyes. Avocados help regulate blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels that are important to prevent diabetic eye disease.
What are other diabetes management techniques?
Diabetes is a disease that causes raised blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels. These raised blood sugar levels can be due to a lack of the glucose regulating hormone insulin (insulin deficiency) or the inability of the body to utilize the insulin (insulin resistance) or both.
To manage diabetes effectively, lifestyle management plays a great role along with medications.
No single food or beverage is going to be the miracle food for any person with diabetes. Healthy food and other lifestyle choices, however, are pivotal in keeping your blood sugar levels under check.
Avocados, when included in a balanced diet, can help you achieve your blood sugar goals and prevent diabetes-related complications. You must include sufficient protein and vegetables in your diet, have plenty of water, perform regular physical activity, take enough sleep, and manage stress.
Routine visits to your doctor greatly help manage diabetes and prevent its complications.
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FoodData Central. Avocado, raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102652/nutrients
National Institutes of Health. Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity
Cedars-Sinai. In Case You Need a Reason to Eat More Avocado. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/healthy-and-delicious-avocado.html
American Diabetes Association. Fats. https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/eating-well/fats
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