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Are Papayas A Healthy Choice For People With Diabetes?

Diabetes is a progressive chronic disease that can negatively affect human health and overall wellbeing. Combating hyperglycemia or say managing high glucose levels in the body is highly associated with lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Certain fruits such as papaya are natural inhibitors as they are sourced directly from the plants and are cheaper, less toxic and easily available.

Papaya is one of the most cultivated species of the Caricaceae family. Both the pulp and seeds of the papaya fruit have anti-diabetic properties. However, the benefits of papayas for diabetics are always surrounded by controversies. Some say that papayas can worsen diabetes and spike glucose levels in the body. But, is it true?

In this article, we will discuss an association between papaya and diabetes. Take a look.

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Why Papayas Can Be A Good Choice For Diabetics?

Results based on a study carried out on 50 individuals say that papaya can be an effective remedy to decrease plasma sugar levels. The individuals were divided into two groups with 25 patients each. The first group consists of patients with type 2 diabetes who were under antidiabetic drug (glibenclamide) while the remaining 25 were in the other group and were classified as clinically healthy patients.

All the patients were given fermented papaya preparation for two months during lunch. The results confirmed that papaya can induce a significant decrease in glucose levels in both diabetics and healthy individuals. [1]

Another study talks about the link between papaya and the prevention of cancer in diabetics. High glucose levels along with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can increase the risk of developing breast, liver, pancreatic and colorectal cancer in diabetics. [2]

Papaya has free radical scavenging activity and immunomodulating potentials. When used as a combinational therapy, papaya can significantly reduce the growth of cancerous cells and control blood glucose along with reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

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Are Papayas Low In Sugar And Glycemic Index?

Raw papayas are low in sugar i.e 100 g of papayas contains only 7.82 g of sugars. [3] A study says that papaya contains a proteolytic enzyme called papain before ripening. [4] This enzyme slows down the progression of type 2 diabetes and also protects diabetics from the damage of harmful free radicals.

Papayas are also low in glycaemic index, which means upon consumption, they release their natural sugars slowly, without increasing the blood sugar levels suddenly. This makes papaya one of the best fruits to be included in a diabetes diet. [5]

Apart from that, this nutritious fruit is also a good source of vitamins A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, potassium, carotene and flavonoids that may help keep diabetes complications such as heart diseases at bay.

Papayas are full of fibre which is an important component in diabetes prevention and management. A generous serving of papaya during the snack time may help keep the tummy full for longer and prevent unhealthy binging. Overall, papaya not only helps keep the blood sugar under control but also nourishes the body with a whole lot of nutrients. [6]

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Raw Papaya Salad Recipe For Diabetics

Ingredients

  • One cup of grated raw papaya
  • A tablespoon of tamarind pulp (you can increase or decrease the amount as preferable)
  • A tablespoon of lemon juice
  • A tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves
  • One chopped tomato
  • Finely chopped chillies
  • Salt (as per taste)

Method

  • Put the grated papaya in ice-cold water for at least half an hour to make them crisp.
  • Combine all the remaining items in a bowl and toss well. Add papaya and again mix all the ingredients
  • Serve as a side dish or an evening snack.

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Common FAQs

1. Does papaya increase blood sugar?

Papayas are enriched with fibre and have low sugar and low glycemic index which prevent the sudden spike of blood sugar in the body.

2. What fruits diabetics should avoid?

Diabetics should avoid fruits with high sugar and high glycemic indexes such as ripe banana, dried dates, canned peaches and ripe mango.

3. What is the best fruit for diabetics to eat?

Some fruits are best to be included in a diabetes diet as they do not spike the glucose levels upon consumption. They include raw papaya, guava, oranges, strawberries and cucumber.

Story first published: Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 19:00 [IST]