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Dates & Diabetes | Are Dates Good For Sugar, Diabetic Patient

Turn away from the pastry shop, look away from the candy store…the ‘sugar disease’ needs you to be extra cautious of what you eat and how much you eat! At first you will get frustrated with your diet restrictions and curse your luck but as you start to feel healthier, you will not find it as much of a problem. Foods high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber should be an important part of your diabetes diet plan. You need not kill ignore your sweet cravings all together, but instead find healthier alternatives. The date fruit is a great substitute to processed sweets and sugar based treats. So why are dates good for diabetics?

Here are a few reasons to include dates in your diabetes diet plan:

  • Low-Glycemic Index – You’ve probably heard about or have been told to take notice of the glycemic index of the foods you eat. Foods that have a high glycemic index are unsafe for diabetic patients as they increase the blood sugar levels. Dates however have a low GI, which is why most doctors recommend dates for diabetes patients. The glycemic indexes of dates depend on the type of dates and so they vary from as little as 35.5 to as much as 49.7.
  • Carbohydrates – Instead of trying to eliminate carbs from your diabetes diet plan, include whole grain carbs that are a lot healthier. In a 100 gram serving of dates, there are about 75 grams of carbohydrates. The main sugars present in these carbohydrates – glucose, fructose and sucrose – provide energy instantly. Carry a packet of dates to work, so that when the lethargy kicks in, you bring out the sweet fruit and enjoy the quick energy boost.
  • Dietary Fiber – High fiber foods support digestion and maintain healthy bowel movement. The Harvard School of Public Health suggests that a high fiber diet can help reduce the risk of chronic heart problems and certain types of cancer. A 100 gram serving of dates contains about 8 grams of dietary fiber. According to the “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods”, dates contain a soluble fiber called beta-D-glucan which reduces the body’s absorption of cholesterol and also delays absorption of glucose by the small intestine. Blood sugar levels are therefore, not severely impacted through the consumption of dates.
  • Nutritious and Fat Free – As a diabetic, you understand the need for weight control and so you have probably had to cut back on your snacking. Dates are fat free and cholesterol free and so they are a great snack for diabetes. Dates also provide many important minerals such as calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Many of these minerals are required in very small quantities but a deficiency can aggravate your condition. For instance the mineral zinc improves insulin action while magnesium is necessary for the regulation of blood sugar levels. Dates can also help in the treatment of other health conditions like intestinal disorders, sexual weaknesses, abdominal cancer and diarrhea. Add chopped dates to your fruits salads, mix them in boiled milk, or just pop in a few as a quick snack. You can also mix date syrup, which is a natural extract of dates, into your cup of hot milk.

Reference Links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12070575
http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-10-59.pdf