Is Papaya Good for Diabetes?

Diet
Coach Shivani
December 06,2023

5-point Summary

In this article we will answer your question of whether Papaya is good for those who are worried about Diabetes.

  • Papaya is a popular and economical fruit that is widely available. In terms of nutrition, it is low-calorie and contains many beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber and digestive enzymes. Overall, papayas are a nutritious fruit that can provide a range of health benefits due to their unique nutritional profile.
  • Papayas have a Glycemic Index (GI) of around 60, which is considered medium. GI is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 1 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Foods can be classified as low-GI (GI value of 0-55), medium GI (56-69) and high-GI (70+). The GI of papaya is medium. There are a number of fruits with a low-GI value that can be preferred. This does not mean that you should not have Papaya, but can include it among the many other lower GI options. Aim to eat a variety of these fruits.
  • Fruits with a GI lower than papaya include melons, oranges, grapes, grapefruit, kiwifruit, berries and apples. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2013 found that the consumption of whole fruits, apples, blueberries, and grapes is linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Portion size should also be considered. When choosing fruits, it is important to keep portions in mind, as even low sugar fruits can still raise blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities. We would recommend 2 medium-sized fruits on a daily basis. An apple is an example of what counts as medium-sized.
  • Papaya is considered a good fruit for diabetics as it has a medium GI score and a low glycemic load, meaning that it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. However, there are other fruits that have a lower GI and GL, making them a better option for diabetics to consume. This does not mean that you should not have Papaya, but can include it among the many other lower GI options. Aim to eat a variety of these fruits.

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Papaya’s and their nutritional profile

Papayas are a tropical fruit native to Central America and are known for their sweet, juicy flesh and yellow-orange color. They have become a popular fruit worldwide and are now grown in many countries, including India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Papayas are not only delicious but also provide numerous health benefits due to their unique nutritional profile.

The nutritional profile of papayas includes the following:

  • Calories: per 100 grams, papayas contain only 32 calories, 0.6 grams of protein, 7.2 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.6 grams of fiber.
  • Vitamins: Papayas are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, which are important for maintaining good health. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system, while vitamin A is important for eye health and vision. In addition, Vit E is an antioxidant known for defending cellular damage.
  • Minerals: Papayas are also a good source of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Potassium is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure, while magnesium is essential for energy production and bone health. Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth.
  • Fiber: Papayas are a good source of dietary fiber, which helps regulate digestion and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Enzymes: Papayas contain papain and chymopapain, two digestive enzymes that help break down proteins and improve digestion.

Overall, papayas are a nutritious fruit that can provide a range of health benefits due to their unique nutritional profile. Whether enjoyed fresh, in smoothies, or as a dessert, papayas can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet.

The question, however, becomes, whether or not it’s a suitable fruit to include for a diabetic seeking to balance blood sugar levels.

Also Read: Low-carb Indian Food to include in your diet

Is Papaya good for diabetes?

Papayas can be a nutritious option for people with diabetes, as they have a low glycemic index (GI) value and can help regulate blood sugar levels. The GI measures the impact of a food on blood sugar levels and is rated on a scale of 0 to 100.

Foods with a high GI value are quickly digested and absorbed, causing spikes in blood sugar levels, whereas foods with a low GI value are slowly digested and absorbed, resulting in balanced blood sugar levels.

Papayas have a GI value of around 60, which is considered low to medium.

In addition, papayas are a good source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Additionally, papayas contain digestive enzymes that can help improve digestion and reduce the burden on the digestive system.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that while papayas can be a nutritious option for people with diabetes, they should still be consumed in moderation and in combination with other healthy foods. People with diabetes should monitor their portion sizes and work with their healthcare provider or nutritionist to determine the right amount of fruit to include in their diet.

If you’re someone with diabetes and you’re looking for fruits that can be safely consumed without concern about glycemic index or glycemic load, there may be better alternatives to papaya.

Also Read:  A Guide to Junk Food And Diabetes

Healthy alternatives to Papaya

If you’re a diabetic, it’s important to be mindful of the foods you eat and choose options that help regulate blood sugar levels. We have listed below some healthy alternatives to papaya that provide a range of health benefits and are also available in Indian supermarkets:

  • Melons: Melons such as watermelon and cantaloupe (muskmelon) are low-GI fruits (GI Score of 60-72) that are high in vitamins and minerals. They are also hydrating and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Oranges: Oranges are a low-GI fruit (GI Score of 40-50) that is high in vitamin C and fiber. They can help regulate digestion and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Pears: Pears are a low-GI fruit (GI Score of 38-54) that is high in fiber and vitamins. They can help regulate digestion and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Apples: Apples are another low-GI fruit (GI Score of 40-50) that can help regulate blood sugar levels. They are also high in fiber and provide a range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Grapefruit: Grapefruit is a low glycemic index fruit that is high in fiber and antioxidants. Grapefruit consumption has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, thus regulating overall blood sugar levels.
  • Berries: Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them a great option for people with diabetes. Berries are also high in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage. GI scores for berries range from 30-55.
  • Kiwifruit: Kiwifruit is another low-GI fruit (GI Score of 42-58) that can help regulate blood sugar levels. It’s high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and has a unique, sweet-tart flavor that makes it a tasty alternative to papaya.

If we had to add another fruit, it would be grapes. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2013 found that the consumption of whole fruits, apples, blueberries, and grapes is linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Also Read:  Are Fiber Rich Foods Good For Weight Loss?

Portion sizes matter

When choosing fruits, it is important to keep portions in mind, as even low sugar fruits can still raise blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities. We would recommend 2 medium-sized fruits on a daily basis. An apple is an example of what counts as medium-sized.

Aim to eat a variety of these fruits as part of a balanced and nutritious diet.

Glycemic Load

It’s important to note that the GI score is not all that matters when measuring whether or not such a fruit or food is suitable for a diabetes diet. Instead, it’s also important to consider the glycemic load which takes into account both the glycemic index and the portion size (quantity) of the fruit being consumed.

Bottom line

Papaya is considered a good fruit for diabetics as it has a low glycemic index (GI) score and a low glycemic load (GL), meaning that it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

However, there are other fruits that have a lower GI and GL, making them a better option for diabetics to consume. For example, oranges, melons and berries such as strawberries have a low GI score and GL, making them an excellent choice for those with diabetes. This does not mean that you should not have Papaya, but can include it among the many other lower GI options. Aim to eat a variety of these fruits.

When researching foods to consume, it’s important to consider both the glycemic index and load to determine their impact on blood sugar levels, as well as other factors such as nutrient content and portion size. By taking these factors into account, diabetics can make informed choices to help manage their blood sugar levels and maintain their overall health. Use the examples in this article to improve your diet and better manage your blood sugar and overall health.

About the Author

Coach Shivani
Shivani is a Precision Nutrition-Certified Nutrition Coach with experience of coaching thousands of women. As a mom of two, Shivani knows what it takes for women to achieve weight loss & a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise & sleep habits. She dislikes one-size-fits-all type advice.

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