Diet plays a very crucial role in managing and treating high blood sugar. Therefore, you should watch what you eat when your blood sugar levels are high. High-fibre foods, fruits and vegetables are beneficial for diabetes, but not all of them are good for diabetic patients. Only foods that are low in glycemic index are good for people having diabetes. When it comes to fruits, apple is a nutritious one and has many health benefits. There is the famous saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away! In reality, though apples might not keep the doctor away, they are healthy and a storehouse of several nutrients and antioxidants.
Glycemic Index of Apples
So is apple good for diabetes? The answer will be yes. Apples minimally affect blood sugar levels and do not cause sudden spikes in blood sugar. The main reason for apple being a good choice for diabetes is the fact that it is low in glycemic index. Now, what is the glycemic index? The glycemic index is the rating given to every food according to its power to raise blood sugar. Food high in glycemic index or GI is not suitable for diabetic people as it can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Foods low in GI are good for people with diabetes. Apple has a glycemic index of 40 which is low.
Nutrition Content of Apple
An apple is a storehouse of antioxidants, nutrients and fibre. Therefore, it is a very healthy fruit for people with high blood sugar. The nutritional content of a medium-sized apple (100 grams) is:
Protein: 0.3G grams
Sugar: 10.4 grams
Fibre: 2.4 grams
Carbs: 13.8 grams
Vitamin C: 7 %
Benefits of Apples for Diabetes
The following are the health benefits of apples for people with diabetes:
- Apple contains very little sugar, that too in the form of fructose. When fructose is consumed as whole fruit, it has minimal effect on high blood sugar. Therefore, apples can be eaten even if your blood glucose level is high.
- Apples are rich in fibre; therefore, they slow down the process of digestion and, consequently, the absorption of sugar in the blood. As a result, sugar is absorbed slowly in the blood and does not cause a spike in sugar levels.
- Apples are also rich in polyphenols, which slow down digestion and the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
- The glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of apples are low. Therefore, diabetic patients can add apples to their diet.
- Eating an apple every day can reduce insulin resistance in our body, lowering blood sugar levels. Apples stimulate the pancreas to release insulin, which helps the cells to absorb sugar.
- Several studies claim that consuming apples can potentially decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants present in apples prevent many harmful chemical reactions in our bodies. Apples are rich in antioxidants like quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and phlorizin. Quercetin may help control blood sugar, prevent heart disease and kill cancer cells. On the other hand, chlorogenic acid helps the body efficiently use sugar. Phlorizin slows down sugar absorption and therefore reduces blood sugar levels.
Other Health Benefits of Apples
Some more health benefits of apples are listed below:
- Apples are fibre-rich fruits, and therefore they are linked to the betterment of cardiovascular diseases. Apples also help manage cholesterol levels because of their soluble fibre. Certain polyphenols in apples, such as flavonoid epicatechin, have blood pressure-lowering capabilities. Consumption of flavonoids is said to lower the risk of strokes. Flavonoids also help in preventing plaque buildup in our arteries.
- Apples promote gut health because they contain a kind of fibre called pectin, which acts like a prebiotic. Pectin feeds the good bacteria in your gut and thereby promotes overall health. It reaches the colon and helps grow good bacteria – Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes.
- Apples are also rich in antioxidants. Therefore, they may help fight against certain cancers. Experts say that the presence of pectin helps prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- The antioxidants in apples help protect the lungs. They also prevent oxidative damage. Apple skin helps strengthen the immune system and reduce asthma and inflammation.
Overall, apples are nutritious and associated with reduced heart disease, cancer, asthma and type 2 diabetes risk. According to studies, apples also have certain chemicals that could shield the brain from the damage that triggers neurodegenerative diseases. Also, as they are rich in fibre and full of nutrients and antioxidants, apples are a “perfect” choice for diabetes. Therefore, if asked whether is apple good for diabetes, the answer will be that this fruit is good for the overall health of diabetic and non-diabetic people.