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Mango is no longer a forbidden fruit for diabetics

'Portion control' is the solution, not abstinence.

 |  4-minute read |   11-04-2016
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Shipra (name changed), a 47-year-old diabetic was watching her kids enjoy mangoes - fleshy, ripe, succulent, sweet juice dripping from their hands. Enviously she retrospects her bygone childhood where summer vacation was spent at her granny's mango farm.

How her days were spent stealing mangoes, devouring aam panna, witnessing mango pickling by her mom and aunts. Mangoes were her life till diabetes struck her down. Shipra has abstained from this "nutrient powerhouse" for ages as per her doctor's advice.

Well, she doesn't really need to listen to her doctor, not anymore.

And this is because diabetics can have mango too! Here's why:

Recommendation on carbohydrate intake

A recent study conducted at University of Maryland Medical Center, USA ascertained 45-65 per cent of calories in any diabetic diet should come from carbohydrates, making the menu rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and fiber rich foods.

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The main objective of any diabetic diet is to keep blood glucose levels under control. Eating the limited amount of carbohydrates at regular intervals each day helps diabetics maintain normal blood sugar levels. This advice becomes most effective if the option chosen is "nutrient dense" and rich in fibre.

Following this guideline nutritionists, now frame diets for diabetic, including the sugar rich mango for the "King of Fruits" loving diabetics. Like everything else, conditions apply.

Reason behind advised abstinence

In past, nutritionists have debated inclusion of mango in diet for diabetics because researches stated that carbs present in it were mostly simple sugars that got readily absorbed in bloodstream vis-a-vis complex carbohydrates.

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Studies also stated that 30 per cent of sugar in mango is fruit sugar fructose which is metabolised in liver and is seen to raise one's triglyceride levels. Both these facts (now with a solution) made the mango disappear from the plate of diabetics.

Solution for mango lovers

As per the global dietary guidelines, a single serving of fruit should impart 15gm of carbohydrates for diabetics and below 25gm for pre-diabetics. This is an amount one gets from half a small mango translated into half a cup serving of chopped fruit.

Thus, the solution lies in "portion control" and not abstinence.

Shipra now attends my "diabetic clinic" regularly and got back to eating her favorite fruit after almost two decades.

Why mango?

Apart from abundant availability, great taste and seasonal wholesomeness, mango is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, potassium, copper, magnesium, probiotic fibre and tons of antioxidants. Simultaneously, it works wonders in satiating those sugar cravings.

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If eaten twice a week in limited portions (half cup serving of chopped fruit) it will do more good than harm. Diabetics may eat mango to avail holistic health purposes.

1. Promotes skin and eye health

Yellow-coloured pigment lycopene (acts as antioxidant) and vitamin A in form of beta carotene along with other carotenoids promotes skin tightening. They also prevent night blindness and dry eyes caused due to sitting in front of screens for long hours (laptops, mobiles, TVs) promoting good eyesight.

2. Alkalises the body, aids digestion and helps lose weight

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Presence of tartaric acid, malic acid and citric acid balances the pH of the gut preventing hyperacidity and making the medium alkaline. Enzymes aiding in protein metabolism and probiotic fibre found in mangoes helps in digestion and provide bulk to the stool, thus, cleansing the gut. The fibre makes one feel fuller, curbs overeating and helps in weight loss.

3. Cures anaemia in women and is a natural aphrodisiac

It is rich in iron, making it a must have during menstruation in women to curb anemia. It also doubles up as a source for calcium, imparting good bone health in menopausal and pregnant women.

Mango is often called as a "love fruit" as it increases virility in men due to rich stores of vitamin E.

4. Boosts memory and strengthens immunity

Being super rich in glutamine acid, protein that enhances concentration and boosts memory, it becomes a must have in diet. Mango also strengthens immunity making it a great bet to fight against seasonal diseases.

5. Keeps heart healthy and purifies blood

Bursting with vitamin B6 and other vitamins of B-Complex, mango promotes heart health. Presence of pectin, an insoluble fibre keeps serum cholesterol levels in check. Potassium found in it regulates blood pressure by balancing body sodium.

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Rich amount of copper acting as a cofactor enhances production of RBC's increasing availability of oxygen to body cells.

6. Helps fight cancer

The perfect armour against cancer-causing free radicals due to the abundance of antioxidants like gallic acid, fisetin, quercetin, astragalin present in it. Mango lovers show lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer. Blood purification factors curb leukaemia (blood cancer) too.

Dear diabetics, mango makes a perfect sumptuous snack, elixir of taste and good health. Don't hold yourself back from this much-loved fruit.

These summers, enjoy mango lassi, mango smoothie, and mango chutney but stay away from processed mango foods/drinks 'coz they are full of preservatives and added sugar.

Choose portion size carefully and relish the wholesome goodness of mango, a new super fruit.

Now we know, why mango is truly the "King of Fruits".

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Writer

Nidhi Tayal Nidhi Tayal @nidhitayal20

I am a clinical nutrionist and dietician with experience of almost 20 years in therapeutic nutrition, and alumnus of Lady Irwin College, DU.

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