Kiwi is a tropical fruit that experts consider a superfruit for diabetes patients. Aside from their delectable taste, which makes them easy to incorporate into your diet, kiwis have a low glycemic load and therefore a low glycemic index.
Kiwis are also rich in dietary fiber, which moderates the sugar absorption in your cells. Kiwis are also great for increasing insulin sensitivity, allowing your cells to consume more sugar so that less glucose stays in the bloodstream.
In this article, I will discuss everything you need to know as to why you should include kiwis in your diet if you're trying to manage diabetes.
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Diabetes in a Nutshell
Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the body fails to produce enough insulin or does not use the produced insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar content by helping the body's cells use sugar from the food we eat as energy.
When someone has diabetes, their body cannot properly use or store the sugar, leading to high blood sugar levels. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes results from an autoimmune disease where the body's immune cells attack and destroy the cells that produce insulin, resulting in a complete lack of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common and results from lifestyle factors such as a poor diet, a lack of exercise, and being overweight.
While there are no current cures for diabetes, there are many ways to manage the blood sugar level to prevent complications. The best and easiest way to manage diabetes is by being mindful of what you eat.
Is Kiwi Good for Diabetics?
According to the American Diabetes Association, kiwi is one of the superfruits for diabetes. Kiwi is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and has low levels of carbohydrates and sugar, making it one of the best fruit options for managing diabetes.
Moreover, kiwi has a low glycemic index and glycemic load, is rich in fiber, helps in weight management, and prevents diabetes complications.
What Makes Kiwi Good for Diabetics?
Kiwi Has a Low Glycemic Index
Kiwi has a glycemic index of 50, which belongs to the low range. The glycemic index (GI) is essential in managing diabetes as it measures how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating certain foods.
High-GI foods like sugary and carb-rich foods cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels, while low-GI foods like kiwi will cause a slower and more gradual rise.
People with diabetes must be mindful of their blood sugar levels, and a diet with low GI foods can help them maintain better control of their blood sugar levels.
Eating foods with a lower GI can also help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are long-term complications of diabetes.
Kiwi Has a Low Glycemic Load
Every 100 grams of kiwi has a glycemic load of 7.5, which is very low. Aside from measuring the glycemic index, people with diabetes should also watch out for the food's glycemic load.
Glycemic load measures how fast your body breaks down the carbs in the food you eat. You can calculate the glycemic load by multiplying the food's glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate contained in the serving and dividing the result by 100.
For instance, every 100 grams of kiwi has only 15 grams of carbohydrates, and its glycemic index is 50, which means it has a glycemic load of 7.5.
Here's a quick guide on the glycemic load range:
- Low Glycemic Load - 0 to 10
- Medium Glycemic Load - 11 to 19
- High Glycemic Load - More than 20
Kiwi is Rich in Dietary Fiber
Every cup of sliced kiwifruit offers 20% of your daily fiber needs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that diabetes patients eat foods rich in dietary fiber to help manage their blood glucose levels.
Fiber slows the digestion and absorption of consumed carbohydrates, which can help prevent the rapid rise in blood sugar that often occurs after eating.
Fiber can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity or reducing insulin resistance. Increased insulin sensitivity means that your body has better sugar absorption and that sugar will not stay in the bloodstream for longer.
Additionally, fiber also helps by making you feel fuller for longer, which prevents overeating and weight gain, both of which are risk factors for diabetes.
You can further increase your fiber intake by mixing kiwi fruit with other fresh fruit options like berries, cherries, and apples and making a fruit salad or mixed fruit juice.
Kiwi Helps Manage Weight
Weight loss and weight management are significant for a diabetes patient. Luckily, kiwis are one of the best fruits you can eat when trying to lose weight.
Kiwi is a fruit that is high in fiber and low in calories, making it an excellent choice for weight loss. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and E, potassium, and magnesium, which can help boost metabolism.
The fiber in kiwis helps to reduce hunger cravings and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can help to reduce calorie intake. Additionally, the high water content in kiwi can help flush out toxins, making it an excellent choice for detoxification.
Moreover, a study suggests that eating kiwi fruit extract helps reduce body fat mass, leading to more effective weight loss.
Kiwi Is Rich In Potassium
Kiwi fruit is among the potassium-rich fruits that benefit diabetes patients. Every cup of kiwi fruit contains 561.6 milligrams of potassium, or 16% of the required daily intake.
According to studies, people with low potassium levels tend to have lower insulin levels, which means that there will be a higher blood glucose level and a higher risk of developing complications.
Kiwi Prevents Diabetes Complications
Studies show that kiwi is an effective remedy for preventing diabetes complications. This is because kiwi contains essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
Kiwi's ability to reduce blood glucose levels can help reduce the risk of long-term complications such as nerve damage, blindness, and kidney damage.
Furthermore, kiwi contains omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Can Kiwi Lower Blood Sugar Levels?
While kiwi tastes sweet, it does not increase blood sugar. Instead, it helps reduce blood glucose levels by helping the body increase insulin sensitivity to cater to more sugar in the blood.
Can Kiwi Increase Blood Sugar Levels?
Although kiwi fruit contains simple sugar, it is a type of natural sugar and does not increase your blood glucose level or cause a blood sugar spike. Kiwi has a low glycemic index and glycemic load, which means the body absorbs it slowly.
However, note that a diabetic patient should only eat moderate amounts of kiwi daily. Kiwis have a natural sugar content that will still affect your blood sugar levels when consumed in high amounts.
Top 5 Ways to Incorporate Kiwi Into Your Diet
Fresh Kiwi Fruit
Eating fresh kiwi fruit is the easiest way to incorporate kiwi into your diet. Kiwi fruit has a unique taste that combines the sweetness of melon with the tartness of citrus fruit. Its distinctive flavor, often described as a combination of strawberry, pineapple, and banana, makes it delectable.
Making smoothies with kiwis will boost hydration and quench your thirst. To make it even better, you can add fiber-rich fruits such as berries, cherries, grapefruit, apples, pears, and other fruits high in fiber and low in natural sugar.
Fruit Salad or Fruit Bowl
Making a fruit salad is another fun way to consume kiwi. You can add diabetes-friendly fruits and yogurt to add smoothness to your fruit bowl.
Making kiwi jam is simple, but you can skip the added sugar to make it healthier. Check for the added sugar content if you find kiwi jam in stores.
Kiwi Fruit Juice
Kiwi juice is easy to make, takes very little time, and is easy to bring if you're always on the go.
Other Kiwi Health Benefits
Kiwis are considered one of the "superfoods" because they contain very high amounts of vitamin C, ample amounts of vitamins A, E, and K, and lots of folate.
Kiwis are excellent for managing high blood pressure and preventing stroke and heart disease. Moreover, kiwi fruit helps boost the immune system, and its high vitamin C and vitamin A content stimulates collagen production for healthy, glowing skin.
Even though kiwis are full of important vitamins and minerals, diabetics should only eat about 2 to 3 kiwis per day. Each kiwi contains about 6 grams of natural sugar and about a tablespoon of added sugar.
Canned fruit products usually contain added sugar, which is unsuitable for diabetes patients. Canned kiwi is good if it does not have additives such as sugar and other artificial sweeteners.
Dried kiwi or any dried fruit is good for diabetes patients, especially if you make them at home without adding any sugar.
Kiwis, cherries, berries, plums, grapefruit, apples, and peaches are among the best fruits for people with diabetes.