Whether a person has type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, being smart about what, how much, and when to eat can help to keep diabetes under control and lower the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and other health problems caused by diabetes. Moreover, a healthy diet helps a person manage diabetes better. Among the healthy food choices that a person with diabetes can make, avocado qualifies in the ‘eat often’ category.1
The green wonder
Avocado is rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and K; minerals; dietary fibres and antioxidants. Even though the fruit is fatty, it is high in unsaturated fat, which is a healthy fat.2
Here’s what makes this fruit particularly beneficial for patients with diabetes:
- Blood sugar levels: Maintaining blood sugar levels helps prevent health problems in people with diabetes.1 The carbohydrates in avocado are made up of 80% dietary fibre, and it has very little sugar.3 Additionally, since the glycaemic index of an avocado is approximately zero, it can help with weight management and blood sugar control.3
- Satiety: Satiety is an important consideration for weight management.1 People who feel fuller are less likely to snack in between meals. According to a study, participants who added half an avocado to their lunch showed 26% improvement in meal satisfaction and 40% decrease in the desire to eat more. The study also mentioned that although avocado increased calorie and carbohydrate intake, there was no increase in blood sugar levels as compared to their standard meal.4 Thus, avocado can be of significant benefit in blood sugar management.1
- Weight management: Avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals, and make the food more wholesome and satiating. They are high in monounsaturated fat and can protect against the accumulation of abdominal fat and complications of diabetes, an effect of foods rich in monounsaturated fats. Avocados speed up the metabolic rate and have medium energy density, due to which they can help with weight loss and weight maintenance.2
Using avocado in your daily diet
The recommended one-time serving of avocado is one-fifth of a fruit.3 Avocados can be substituted for fats such as margarine or oil as was shown by a study, which shows that avocados are a good fit in a weight loss diet plan.2
Avocados have a rich, buttery flavour and lend a creamy texture to your foods, making them the perfect substitute for cheese, yoghurt, eggs, milk, cream or butter.5
You can also find other, innovative ways to add avocados to your food, such as:5,6
- Add it to a salad or slice it into a sandwich6
- Mash it up and add spices and lime juice to use as a dip instead of mayo6
- Chop it along with other veggies for a yummy stir fry6
- Make the simple, yet tasty guacamole6
- Blend into a creamy, dense smoothie5
- Whip up a creamy, rich avocado mousse for your dessert5
- Bake a perfect brownie with avocado instead of butter or oil5
Avocado-based recipes may be new to a few households. However, given its health benefits, particularly for people with diabetes, introducing it to one’s diet and making it a staple can be a smart move.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tasty recipes for people with diabetes and their families [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 27]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/managing/Tasty_Recipes_for_People_with_Diabetes-508.pdf.
- Academia. Health benefits of avocado pear (Peasia Americana) [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 27]. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/26027273/HEALTH_BENEFITS_OF_AVOCADO_PEAR_PEASIA_AMERICANA.
- Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.556759. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2011.556759.
- EurekAlert. New research: Effects of eating half an avocado with lunch on satiety and desire to eat between meals [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 27]. Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/fl-nre010714.php.
- One Green Planet. How avocados can easily replace dairy in all your favorite creamy dishes [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 31]. Available from: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/how-avocados-can-easily-replace-dairy-in-all-your-favorite-creamy-dishes/.
- Produce for Better Health Foundation. Top 10 ways to enjoy avocados [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 31]. Available from: https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-avocados/.