Pomegranate Glycemic Index- Is it safe for Diabetes

Pomegranate Glycemic Index- Is it safe for Diabetes?

 You may notice the traditional ways of bringing a fruit basket and while visiting a family member or friend who is sick.

Pomegranate is a common content of that basket.They are regarded as the natural healing agents.

Fruits are nature’s one of the best gifts. But their sugar contents often mislead diabetics during eating them. Pomegranate also contains a certain amount of sugar.

It is proved that there are a wide range of nutrients present in pomegranate. The sugar contents are also quite different from the other fruit sugars.

Depending on the sugar or carbohydrate quality, pomegranate has a low glycemic index.

This unique characteristic of pomegranate makes it diabetes friendly.

Apart from sugar, it is an abundant source of potent antioxidants, fibers, vitamins and minerals.

Besides some minor allergic reactions and low blood pressure, these nutrients serve most of the organs of our body including heart, brain, hair, skin etc.

About Pomegranate

About Pomegranate

You may often use the colourful arils of pomegranate to garnish different deserts or to make a mixed fruit salad.

Pomegranate is a well known fruit in all over the world. The tree is a deciduous shrub.

It is cultivated mostly in the Mediterranean regions, Middle east countries, tropical Africa and also in some asian countries like China, India, Nepal etc. The monsoon and the winter are specific for the growth of pomegranate in India.

According to different areas of India, it has got different names such as, ‘Anaar’ in Hindi and Punjabi, ‘Danimma’ in Telugu,’ Maathalan Rakam’ in Malayalam, ‘Dalimba’ in Marathi, ‘Dalim’ in Bengali etc.

The ‘pearl-like’ red arils are the edible part of the fruit. It has countless benefits due to their nutritious contents.

Glycemic Index of Pomegranate and it’s Diabetic Benefits

Glycemic Index of Pomegranate and it's Diabetic Benefits 

A glass of chilled pomegranate juice will refresh you on a hot summer noon. This juice may be considered as a nutrition bomb. The glycemic index of pomegranate juice is 54 which belongs to the low glycemic category.

Diabetes results from dysfunction of the metabolic and endocrine system. Here, the pancreas is either diseased or autoimmune to itself. So it can not produce enough insulin or the cells of the body become resistant to insulin.

Insulin is the key to the door of the cells. As the problem lies in insulin, the glucose are stagnant in the blood and raise blood glucose levels.

A diet with the foods that will supply less glucose and more fiber, proteins, fat, vitamins  can control the high blood sugar in diabetes.

Glycemic index is a number that determines the speed of blood glucose elevation after a carbohydrate containing meal compared to glucose or white bread. It mainly focuses on the type and quality of carbohydrates.

There are some ranges-

  • 0-55(low)
  • 56-69(moderate)
  • 70 or over(high)

The foods that are easily digestible and absorbable can raise blood glucose rapidly. Foods containing more fiber, protein, fats are less easily available to the digestive tract. So they will not negatively affect blood glucose.

Although the sugar content of this fruit is notably high, it is safe for diabetes.

Pomegranate is a known source of potent fibers. These fibers will prevent blood sugar from excess elevation. So the lower glycemic index of pomegranate is a pretty good sign to make it suitable for diabetics.

The glycemic load of pomegranate juice is about 18. It is in the moderate category. Glycemic load measures the amount of carbohydrate along with the glycemic index value.

There are also some ranges-

  • 0-10(low)
  • 11-19(moderate)
  • 20 or over(high)

Other diabetic benefits:

In ayurvedic and unani medicine, both the seeds and the juice are used as a tonic to improve the condition of blood sugar in diabetic persons.

Though there is lack of scientific evidence regarding the diabetic benefits of pomegranate, it is used traditionally in the Middle East and India for diabetes control.

  • Blood glucose lowering effect: The glycemic index is one of the factors in blood glucose lowering mechanism.
READ  Best Indian food for diabetes control

Apart from this, the sugars in pomegranate are engaged with antioxidants. This property makes them unique and helps to reduce blood glucose.

  • Prevent chronic inflammation:

Lowering glycemic index can only cause slow digestion of carbs and slow release of glucose in the blood.

Pomegranate gives benefits to the diabetics mainly by reducing oxidative stress than by lowering the overall glycemic index.

Among the antioxidants, punicalagins and punicic acid are the most efficacious to reduce blood glucose level. They make pomegranates 3 times richer in antioxidants than red wine and green tea.

Diabetes is the result of a chronic inflammatory process.These two compounds can fight with the free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.

This in turn helps to prevent cell damage. In this way, chronic inflammation is prevented.

  • Improve insulin sensitivity: Pomegranate juice effectively improves the functions of pancreatic beta cells to produce more insulin.

Also it has some phytochemicals such as tannins, gallic acid etc. These can fight with insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity.

Diabetes related obesity can also be prevented by reducing insulin resistance.

  • Reduce bad cholesterol(LDL): Cholesterol lowering is another indirect way to improve the condition of diabetics. Heart disease and strokes are common complications of diabetes.

Atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries is caused by excess accumulation of LDL cholesterol in the arteries.

This increases the chance of cardiovascular disease, which is one of the most leading causes of death from diabetic complications.             

Taking pomegranate in a right way can reduce the bad cholesterol content without affecting the HDL or good cholesterol.

Other health related benefits

Pomegranate

Most of the benefits are due to the presence of a huge amount of potent antioxidants.   

  • Anti-inflammatory: Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, joint pain, some brain diseases are the outcome of inflammation.

This anti-inflammatory property is mediated by the punicalagin compounds present in the pomegranate. They fight with the free radicals and keep the cells free from destruction.         

  • Inhibitory to the growth of cancer cells: There is some evidence that proves the capability of pomegranate to stop the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells.

Though these statements are still under observation, the anti-inflammatory criteria of the antioxidant compounds are possibly responsible for this.

  • Control blood pressure and heart disease : Pomegranate has low sodium and high potassium contents that control blood pressure upto a certain range. Regular eating of the juice may reduce blood pressure within 2 weeks.

High blood pressure is one of the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. Also atherosclerosis of arteries can be a major risk factor. Pomegranates can drive away all of them.        

 Reduce joint pain: Joint pains as in arthritis are mostly due to inflammation. As I’ve mentioned pomegranate is rich in different antioxidants, it can surely work as a pain reliever too.

  • Improve memory: The antioxidants of pomegranate can improve memory. Through this function, regular eating of a certain portion of pomegranate may improve the memory of Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Solve infertility: Any infection causes oxidative damage and impaired blood flow to different organs. This may result in erectile dysfunction, diseased sperms and even decreased fertility in females.

This stress can be overcome by the antioxidants components of pomegranate juice and the infertility  related problems may be solved. It may also improves sex drives in both men and women.

  • Immunity booster: The vitamin and mineral contents of pomegranate help in improving immunity by dealing with active infections.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are the most efficacious in this context. It may act against bacteria, virus, fungus etc.

  • Recover body after exercise and sports: Along with the beet and tart, pomegranate may also be used as a recovery food.

It has a special nitrate content which makes it able to reduce muscle soreness and regain strength.

Besides these, the anti-inflammatory action may keep digestive tract related problems at bay.

Minor Side Effects

Minor-Side-Effects-of-pomegranate

 Allergies: Some persons are hypersensitive to pomegranate extract and may produce some symptoms like rash, itching, runny nose, breathing difficulty etc.

Low blood pressure: As pomegranate has the capacity to reduce blood pressure, it may cause adverse effects to those who already have issues with low blood pressure.

There is a chance of low blood pressure after surgery. So try to avoid pomegranate in the perioperative period.

Research findings about the Diabetic Benefits

 ★ A human trial suggested that regular drinking of pomegranate juice may decrease the blood sugar level by improving the functions of beta cells.

READ  Guava Glycemic Index & 15 Benefits for Diabetes

★ Some scientists of Jordan University of Science and Technology examined that drinking pomegranate juice on a regular basis at a dose of 1.5 ml per kg body weight(150 ml for 70 kg person) may notably reduce fasting blood sugar in type-2 diabetics.

The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine published a study about the potential of the pomegranate peel aqueous extract to reduce blood sugar by regeneration of beta cells.

★ A study in diabetics was done for a long duration (12 weeks) to see the effects of drinking 1.1cup(250ml) of pomegranate juice a day. It revealed the reduction of inflammatory markers CRP and interleukin-6 by  32% and 30% respectively.             

       Nutrition Facts of Pomegranate 

 Nutrition-Facts-of-Pomegranate v

Pomegranates, Raw: Nutrition Information
# Serving size 100 g
Nutrient Amount Unit DV
Calories83 KCAL
Fat1.17 G2%
Protein1.67 G3%
Carbohydrate18.7 G7%
Folic acid UG
Caffeine MG
Theobromine MG
Vitamin E0.6 MG3%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units IU
Choline7.6 MG
Campesterol1 MG
Saturated fatty acids0.12 G1%
Ash0.53 G
Fiber4 G14%
Iron, Fe0.3 MG2%
Magnesium, Mg12 MG3%
Phosphorus, P36 MG5%
Sodium, Na3 MG0%
Copper, Cu0.158 MG18%
Manganese, Mn0.119 MG5%
Vitamin C10.2 MG11%
Thiamin0.067 MG6%
Riboflavin0.053 MG4%
Folate38 UG
Vitamin K16.4 UG14%
Water77.93 G
Niacin0.293 MG2%
Pantothenic acid0.377 MG8%
Vitamin B60.075 MG6%
Sugars13.67 G
Calcium, Ca10 MG1%
Potassium, K236 MG5%
Zinc, Zn0.35 MG3%
Selenium, Se0.5 UG1%
Stigmasterol MG
Beta-sitosterol4 MG
Monounsaturated fatty acids0.093 G
Polyunsaturated fatty acids0.079 G
Alcohol, ethyl G
Retinol UG
Octanoic acid G
Docosahexaenoic n-3 acid (DHA) G
Eicosapentaenoic n-3 acid (EPA) G
Docosapentaenoic n-3 acid (DPA) G
Vitamin A, RAE UG
Carotene, beta UG
Carotene, alpha UG
Cryptoxanthin, beta UG
Lycopene UG
Folate, food38 UG
Vitamin A IU0%
Docosenoic acid G
Butanoic acid G
Hexanoic acid G
Decanoic acid G
Octadecatrienoic acid G
Eicosatetraenoic acid G
Octadecatetraenoic acid G
Lutein + zeaxanthin UG
Folate, DFE38 UG10%
Fatty acids, total trans G
Eicosenoic acid0.004 G
Hexadecanoic acid0.07 G
Octadecanoic acid0.038 G
Octadecenoic acid0.077 G
Octadecadienoic acid0.079 G
Hexadecenoic acid0.012 G
Dodecanoic acid0.006 G
Tetradecanoic acid0.006 G
Cholesterol MG0%
Vitamin B12 UG0%
Vitamin B12, added UG
Vitamin E, added MG
Vitamin D UG0%
Tocopherol, alpha0.6 MG

 

Pomegranate Juice – Nutrition Information
# Serving size 100 mL
Nutrient Amount Unit DV
Calories54 KCAL
Fat0.29 G0%
Protein0.15 G0%
Carbohydrate13.13 G5%
Vitamin D UG0%
Folate, DFE24 UG6%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units IU
Sucrose G
Glucose (dextrose)6.28 G
Maltose G
Water85.95 G
Caffeine MG
Theobromine MG
Sugars12.65 G
Calcium, Ca11 MG1%
Potassium, K214 MG5%
Zinc, Zn0.09 MG1%
Selenium, Se0.3 UG1%
Vitamin E0.38 MG2%
Vitamin E, added MG
Butanoic acid G
Hexanoic acid G
Decanoic acid G
Hexadecanoic acid0.044 G
Octadecanoic acid0.024 G
Octadecenoic acid0.049 G
Octadecadienoic acid0.05 G
Octadecatrienoic acid G
Eicosatetraenoic acid G
Octadecatetraenoic acid G
Eicosenoic acid0.003 G
Docosenoic acid G
Monounsaturated fatty acids0.059 G
Polyunsaturated fatty acids0.05 G
Lutein + zeaxanthin UG
Niacin0.233 MG1%
Pantothenic acid0.285 MG6%
Vitamin B60.04 MG3%
Choline4.8 MG
Folic acid UG
Ash0.49 G
Fructose6.37 G
Lactose G
Alcohol, ethyl G
Galactose G
Fiber0.1 G0%
Iron, Fe0.1 MG1%
Magnesium, Mg7 MG2%
Phosphorus, P11 MG2%
Sodium, Na9 MG0%
Copper, Cu0.021 MG2%
Manganese, Mn0.095 MG4%
Vitamin A IU0%
Retinol UG
Vitamin A, RAE UG
Carotene, beta UG
Carotene, alpha UG
Cryptoxanthin, beta UG
Lycopene UG
Vitamin C0.1 MG0%
Thiamin0.015 MG1%
Riboflavin0.015 MG1%
Folate24 UG
Vitamin B12 UG0%
Vitamin K10.4 UG9%
Folate, food24 UG
Vitamin B12, added UG
Cholesterol MG0%
Saturated fatty acids0.077 G0%
Octanoic acid G
Dodecanoic acid0.004 G
Tetradecanoic acid0.004 G
Docosahexaenoic n-3 acid (DHA) G
Hexadecenoic acid0.008 G
Eicosapentaenoic n-3 acid (EPA) G
Docosapentaenoic n-3 acid (DPA) G
Fatty acids, total trans G
Tocopherol, alpha0.38 MG
READ  Best Indian Diet Chart for Diabetic Patients

How many can a diabetic eat per day?

How-many-pomegranate-can-a-diabetic-eat-per-day

 1 medium to small whole pomegranate is enough in a day. In case of juice, it may vary from 6-8 ounces(1 cup). Try to prefer the fresh, homemade juice.

You should talk to your health care provider to determine the amounts.

Right ways of eating pomegranate in diabetics:

Right ways of eating pomegranate in diabetics:  

 The appropriate ways, timing and amount of any food is extremely important in diabetic meal planning. You always need to think logically about the ways and timing.

  • A diabetic should try to eat raw arils rather than the juice. Juicing usually destroys the fiber content which is essential.
  • Mix it with other nuts and olives for further lowering of glycemic index
  • Make a fruit salad using the low glycemic fruits. Add some pomegranate arils over them.
  • Don’t use them for any cooking purpose. It is totally unwise and unscientific.
  • Grind some whole cinnamon and flaxseeds. Sprinkle the powder over the fruit salad. This helps to balance blood sugar absorption.
  • Fix a specific time for eating pomegranate. Eat them in the mid morning or evening snacks. It means that you should eat them in between meals.
  • Consume them in moderation, though it is in the low glycemic category. You need not to fill your tummy by eating a large amount of pomegranate.

Using the arils in fruit salad is the best way for moderate consumption.

Other diabetic friendly fruits: 

 Fresh fruits are a great source of nutrients. This is the only food item that contains sugar in a natural way and so this is recommendable for diabetics.

Other fruits that are valid in diabetes – (low GI fruits)

  • Berries(Blueberry and Blackberry )
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Guava
  • Grapefruit
  • Plums etc.

You must take advice from your dietitian about the right amount and right way of eating them. You also need to maintain a good timing of eating fruits.

You should precisely eat the dry varieties of fruits. They are comparatively sugar and calorie dense.

Takeaway

 A whole day meal becomes completed by the presence of healthy and fresh fruits in them.

Pomegranate is usually found in all seasons. The varieties that are free from chemicals and pesticides should be preferred.

In a huge context, there are no major adverse effects of eating pomegranate. So a diabetic can enjoy them without tension.

Several antioxidants are present in plenty in pomegranates. They cause lowering of blood glucose both in direct and indirect ways.

All the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are antiinflammatory in nature and prevent various acute and chronic inflammation.

These are necessary to prevent both the onset and pathway of type 2 diabetes.

You must continue your necessary medications and try to do some exercises.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30317607/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23953990/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23684435/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28867799/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28425868/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30677224/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18590349/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30661697/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30945297/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26742071/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31632524/
Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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