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Pumpkin And Diabetes: Why Pumpkin Can Be A Superfood To Control Blood Glucose?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which blood sugar levels gets high due to insulin insufficiency or insulin resistance. It can lead to the risk of high cholesterol in the body, which can further aggravate to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery diseases.

Pumpkin polysaccharides are widely known to reduce body weight, high cholesterol and glucose levels in the body. This nutritious veggie (also considered as a fruit) has high hypoglycemic activity, making it vital enough to be used as a potential drug in the treatment of diabetes. [1]

Diet is an important part of diabetes management. Though pumpkin is packed with nutrients and considered good for diabetes, many doubt its efficacy on blood glucose.

In this article, we will discuss why pumpkin can be good food for diabetics. Take a look.

Is Pumpkin Good For Diabetics?

Pumpkin, scientifically termed Cucurbita moschata is an annual herbaceous plant that belongs to a squash family. It is enriched with polysaccharides, minerals, carotene, vitamins and many other essential components. [2]

The polysaccharides of pumpkin help in preventing diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and oxidative stress.

In a study carried out on diabetic rats, it was found that pumpkin methanol extract is effective in reducing glucose levels due to the presence of alkaloid trigonelline and nicotinic acid.

The control group of rats who were fed trigonelline have shown an increase in glucose levels for 15 minutes followed by a gradual decrease in the blood glucose for the next 120 minutes. On the other hand, another control group in which trigonelline was not fed has shown a gradual increase in glucose levels for 120 minutes. [3]

Nutrients In Pumpkin That May Help With Diabetes

1. Antioxidant vitamins

Pumpkin is rich in antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin E. A study has shown that vitamin C helps in controlling glucose levels by stimulating the insulin mechanism in the body. Therefore, pumpkin can be an effective dietary source for the management of diabetes. [4]

2. Unsaturated fatty acids

Pumpkin seed oil is rich in phytochemicals and an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory effect of this oil has many health benefits. In a study, it was found that when a diet rich in saturated fat (vegetable oils) is replaced by a diet rich in unsaturated fat (pumpkin seed oil), the chances of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) decreases. [5]

To mention, NAFLD can be present in around 70 per cent of diabetics. Therefore, when the chances of NAFDL decreases, the chances of diabetes are also decreased. [6]

3. Folic Acid

Apart from vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids, pumpkin is also a rich source of folic acid or folate. Diabetes may lead to endothelial dysfunction and cause a reduction in the levels of nitric oxide in the body. As pumpkin is rich in folic acid, its consumption can help reverse the process and increase nitric acid in the body by improving endothelial functioning. [7]

Pumpkin Seeds And Diabetes

Not only is pumpkin but also pumpkin seeds are beneficial too for preventing diabetes or managing glucose levels in diabetics. A preliminary investigation on the effect of pumpkin seeds on diabetes shows that active compounds such as trigonelline, nicotinic acid and D-chiro-inositol in these seeds have hypoglycemic activities that help in maintaining glucose levels in the body. [8]

Another study has shown that pumpkin and flax seeds together can be an effective diet to prevent diabetes and related complications such as kidney dysfunction. [9]

To Conclude

Pumpkin can be safe for diabetics due to the presence of polysaccharides and other vital nutrients such as antioxidant vitamins, folic acid and unsaturated fatty acids. Also, pumpkin seed can be the best snack for diabetics to maintain their blood glucose levels.

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