It’s no secret that lemons are a super healthy fruit. They’re packed with nutrients that have multiple benefits for our immune system. Despite the many advantages, people living with diabetes need to be extra careful about what fruits they consume. Fortunately, lemons are completely safe.
This article will explain why lemons are highly beneficial for diabetics and how you can consume them.
Diabetes: A Short Overview
To better understand the superpowers of lemons, we need to dive into the world of diabetes and define several terms.
Firstly, it’s important to differentiate the glycemic index (GI) from the glycemic load (GL). The GI represents a food’s ability to increase blood glucose levels. The GL makes the same predictions but also takes into account the portion size.
Although all fruits have different health benefits, not all are appropriate for people with diabetes. For example, ripe bananas, dates, watermelons, and pineapples have high GI and GL scores. This doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy, but those living with diabetes should monitor the intake of these fruits.
Another essential factor to define is insulin. It’s a hormone that helps regulate carbohydrates, fats, and protein by bringing sugars into your cells. People with diabetes often have problems with insulin response, which can cause numerous health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney damage.
Naturally, fruits with lower GI and GL scores can help you manage your blood sugar, insulin, and overall energy.
Lemon’s Nutritional Profile
What makes lemons so powerful and healthy? Here are the answers.
One raw lemon without a peel has:
- 16.8 kcal
- 51.6 grams of water
- 5.41 grams of carbs
- 1.62 grams of fiber
- 1.45 grams of sugar
Plus, lemons contain an abundance of nutrients:
- Vitamin C – It helps protect cells, maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, and bones.
- Vitamin D – It keeps our bones, muscles, and teeth healthy.
- Beta carotene – It’s an antioxidant that improves skin health and appearance, protects against UV damage, and reduces cognitive decline symptoms.
- Folates – They help with proper cell growth and function and assist the body in making red blood cells.
- Calcium – It helps maintain strong bones.
- Phosphorus – It aids in muscle recovery, keeps the teeth healthy, removes waste from the kidneys, etc.
- Antioxidants – They reduce the risk of numerous diseases, assist in neutralizing harmful radicals in our bodies, etc.
Is Lemon Good for All Diabetics?
There’s no doubt that lemons are beneficial for our health. But the scope of these benefits depends on several factors:
- The type of diabetes.
- How much lemon you consume.
- Your lifestyle and overall health.
Numerous studies have established the positive effects of lemons on diabetes:
- Citrus fruits can help fight obesity.
- Certain flavonoids found in lemons can decrease sugar absorption in the intestines.
- When eaten with other foods, lemons can slow down sugar conversion.
- Fibers found in lemons can lower glucose levels.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes originates in the pancreas. In this case, the body doesn’t produce insulin. Consuming lemons can’t cure this condition, but it can help regulate blood sugar levels.
Additionally, lemons help combat obesity, heart disease, and other conditions that can worsen type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
With type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but it doesn’t use it properly. For this reason, it’s hard to keep the insulin and blood sugar levels under control.
Different research has shown that lemon peels prevent sugar absorption, lower glucose levels, and regulate insulin resistance.
Additionally, studies have also found that lemons help manage obesity. Since obesity and type 2 diabetes are closely connected, lemons can be a powerful ally in controlling the disease.
How to Use Lemons?
Most people enjoy an occasional lemonade. But lemons are so much more than the juice in a delicious beverage:
- Add lemon slices to your water.
- Add lemon zest to your meals.
- Use lemon juice as a salad dressing.
- Use lemon slices to decorate chicken or fish.
- Put powdered lemon zest in a shaker and use it as seasoning.
Are There Any Side Effects?
The FDA classifies lemons as safe. However, you should take into account several potential side effects:
- Because they’re acidic, lemons can potentially damage tooth enamel or cause heartburn.
- They can have a diuretic effect.
- Certain compounds in lemon peels could cause kidney stones. This only happens if you consume lemon peels in excessive amounts.
Enjoy the Sourness
It’s no wonder lemons have found a spot on the American Diabetes Association’s list of diabetes superfoods. If you have diabetes, lemons can help you regulate blood sugar levels and prevent sugar absorption. Even if you don’t have diabetes, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this powerful fruit.