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Kiwi for Diabetes – Its Impact on Blood Sugar Levels

Often referred to as Chinese gooseberry or simply kiwi, the kiwifruit is a small, sweet fruit with a fuzzy brown exterior and bright green or golden flesh. Its origins can be traced to China, but presently it is produced in many countries, worldwide. 

Rich in vitamins C, K, and potassium, kiwi also contains a particular enzyme, actinidain. Actinidain can help tenderise meats. Furthermore, one can eat raw kiwi or use it in various dishes like fruit salads, smoothies, and baked goods. People commonly use it in Asian cuisine to make sauces and marinades.

Contrary to popular belief, that it is too sweet for diabetic people, it can still be enjoyed as part of their healthy eating plan. Although fruits contain natural sugars, they also contain essential nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

For this reason, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes include a variety of fruits in their diet. 

Low-sugar fruits such as berries, citrus fruits, and kiwifruit can be especially beneficial for people with diabetes.

Read on to find out how kiwi can help those with diabetes.

Nutritional Value of Kiwi Fruit

As per the USDA, one hundred grams of kiwi fruit contains the following nutrients.

Energy: 64kCalProtein: 1.06gCarbohydrates: 14gFibre: 3gSugars: 8.99mgCalcium: 35mgVitamin C: 74.7mgBeta Carotene: 52µgLutein + Zeaxanthin: 122µg

Kiwifruit is an excellent addition to any healthy diet, as it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Research shows that one kiwifruit provides over 100% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake and significant amounts of vitamin K and potassium. It also contains small amounts of vitamins E, A, and folate. 

Kiwi contains flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage and may even have anti-inflammatory properties. All in all, kiwifruit is a delicious and nutritious food you can feel good about eating.

Glycemic Index of Kiwi Fruit

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels in the body. Foods that are high on the glycemic index are absorbed rapidly and cause a rapid increase in blood sugar. Foods that are low on the glycemic index are absorbed more slowly and cause a slower, more gradual increase in blood sugar.

As per data, kiwi has a moderate GI value of 50. That means it is absorbed more slowly than high-GI foods but more quickly than low-GI foods.

The glycemic load (GL) measures the impact of food on blood sugar levels. It considers both the GI and the portion size of the food. The GL of kiwifruit is relatively low, ranging about 7.3. That means kiwi is unlikely to cause a rapid or dramatic increase in blood sugar levels.

Can People with Diabetes Eat Kiwi Fruit?

Managing blood sugar levels is essential for people with diabetes, and one way to do this is by selecting foods that are lower on the glycemic index (GI). Kiwifruit has a moderate GI of approximately 50, which means kiwi is absorbed more slowly than some high-GI foods but faster than some low-GI foods.

Kiwifruit is a nutritious food with numerous benefits. Besides the moderate GI, it is high in vitamin C, K, and potassium. It is also a good source of dietary fibre. Additionally, it is low in calories, with 100 grams containing only 64 calories.

Kiwifruit can be a part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes. However, it is only good when combined with other nutrient-rich foods and balanced with physical activity and medication. Therefore, it is essential that individuals with diabetes work with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist to create a personalized eating plan that caters to their health needs.

If you want to know the impact of kiwi on your blood sugar levels and how you can add it to your diet, you can talk to a registered nutritionist at HealthifyMe. They will assess your health and suggest ways to incorporate this exotic fruit into your diet.

Kiwi Fruit Benefits for Diabetes Patients

Kiwifruit can be a healthy choice for people with diabetes as part of an overall healthy eating plan. Here are a few potential benefits:

Low Glycemic Index 

The glycemic index of kiwi is 50, making it a suitable food for those with diabetes if consumed in moderation.

However, accompany it with a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Furthermore, kiwi releases glucose slowly into the bloodstream. Moreover, it is a good choice if you have gestational diabetes.

High Fibre Content

Kiwis are abundant in soluble and insoluble fibre, which boosts digestion. They also possess a high capacity for water retention, which aids in the absorption and digestion of sugars found in various foods. 

Research also shows that fibre helps stabilise the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

Good Source of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for developing tissues that support the immune system. It can also help lower the risk of inflammation caused by unmonitored blood sugar levels.

Additionally, Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, which helps protect against diabetic dermopathy.

Prevents Blood Clots

Eating kiwis can benefit diabetic people, as these fruits can help reduce the amount of fat in the blood. As a result, it helps prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots.

It is vital for people with diabetes, as their high glucose levels can prevent these clots from dissolving, leading to plaque buildup in the arteries.

The HealthifyMe Note

Kiwi is a fruit with a moderate glycemic index and low calories, making it a safe option for people with diabetes to consume in moderation. Moreover, its nutrient-dense profile can benefit those with diabetes, potentially helping to avoid the long-term issues that can arise. Nevertheless, speaking with a registered nutritionist is best before incorporating kiwi into a diabetes diet.

Ways to Enjoy Kiwi Fruit Diabetes Patients

People of all ages enjoy kiwifruit. Health professionals recommend that adults consume at least one serving of kiwifruit per day, as it is a healthy habit to include fibre- and vitamin C-rich fruits in the diet.

Kiwifruit can help support bowel function, regulate blood pressure, and manage blood sugar levels. There are many ways to incorporate kiwifruit into the diet.

Here are some different ways to include kiwifruit in the diet, each with its unique health benefits:

Apple Kiwi Smoothie: This vegan-friendly smoothie is not only delicious, but it also has many health benefits.Kiwi Chia Pudding: Chia seeds and kiwifruit make a healthy breakfast packed with nutrients.Kiwi Muffins: These tasty muffins make a healthy breakfast option, and one can use them as a topping on greek yoghurt.Kiwi Cucumber Salad: Adding kiwifruit to a cucumber salad base makes it more nutritious and adds a tasty and tangy flavour.Dry Kiwi: Having dry kiwi fruit as an evening snack can help you feel full for longer.Kiwi Chutney: Grind together kiwifruit, ginger, garlic, green chillies, and cilantro to make a spicy chutney that one can serve with grilled chicken or fish.Kiwi Raita: Mix diced kiwifruit, yoghurt, and chopped mint to make a refreshing raita. Serve it as a side dish with Indian meals.Kiwi Smoothie: One can make this smoothie by blending kiwifruit, low-fat milk, and a scoop of protein powder. It makes a nutritious breakfast or snack.Kiwi Lassi: Blend kiwifruit, yoghurt to make a refreshing drink. Enjoy as a drink or dessert.Kiwi Salad: Make this simple and refreshing salad by mixing diced kiwifruit, cucumber, and chopped mint.

Conclusion

Kiwifruit is an excellent choice for people with diabetes because of its low glycemic index (GI). In addition to its benefits for blood sugar control, kiwifruit is a nutritional powerhouse that can help prevent various ailments and diseases.

For people with diabetes, it is vital to manage blood sugar levels and follow a healthy eating plan to reduce the risks of complications such as blindness, strokes, lower limb amputation, and heart attack. 

For guidance on creating a healthy eating plan, people with diabetes may want to consult a HealthifyMe nutritionist. Kiwifruit is available in various types, each with its unique nutrient profile.

It is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds that can support hormone balance, improve sleep quality, and enhance hair and skin health. It can also be a valuable part of a weight loss plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Does Kiwi raise blood sugar?

A. Kiwifruit may affect blood sugar levels, but the extent of this effect can vary. The glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) can help predict how a food will affect blood sugar. Kiwifruit has a moderate GI and a low GL. These values indicate that kiwifruit is absorbed relatively slowly and has a relatively small impact on blood sugar. However, other factors, such as the type and ripeness of the kiwifruit and how it is prepared and consumed, can also affect its effect on blood sugar.

Q. Can a diabetic patient eat kiwi fruit?

A. People with diabetes can include kiwifruit in their diet as part of a healthy eating plan. Kiwifruit has a moderate glycemic index. It is also a good source of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and dietary fibre. It is also low in calories. However, individuals need to work with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider. It may involve incorporating kiwifruit into a balanced diet that considers medication and physical activity.

Q. Are Kiwi low glycemic?

A. Yes, Kiwi’s glycemic index measure is 50, which is considered low. Below is the range according to the GI rating system:

Low GI: 1 to 55.

Medium GI: 56 to 69.

High GI: 70 and higher.

Q. How many Kiwi can a person with diabetes eat?

A. People with diabetes may benefit from incorporating kiwifruit into their diet. It is recommended to eat one or two kiwifruits once a day. Kiwifruit is high in fibre and low in calories, making it a healthy choice for snacks and meals. In addition, its tangy flavour makes it an excellent addition to shakes, smoothies, and popsicles. Kiwifruit can be eaten raw, with or without the peel and seeds. However, it is essential to consider how other ingredients used with kiwifruit may impact health and blood sugar management.

1. The American Diabetes Association

https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/eating-well/fruit

2. U S Department of Agriculture

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2344734/nutrients

3. Carr AC, Pullar JM, Moran S, Vissers MC. Bioavailability of vitamin C from kiwifruit in non-smoking males: determination of ‘healthy’ and ‘optimal’ intakes. J Nutr Sci. 2012 Oct 23;1:e14. doi: 10.1017/jns.2012.15. PMID: 25191543; PMCID: PMC4153093.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153093/

4. The Glycemic Index Data

https://glycemic-index.net/kiwi/

5. Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Effects of dietary fibre and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1991 Dec;14(12):1115-25. doi: 10.2337/diacare.14.12.1115. PMID: 1663443.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1663443/

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