Guava, genetically considered as a American fruit, is also widely cultivated in all over the world. Due to the low sugar content and low glycemic index, guava is a diabetic-friendly fruit.
We all know a bit about the troublesome eating habits of diabetics. Due to lack of knowledge, some have a tendency to omit fruits from their regular meal plan. They think badly about the fruit sugar.
It is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and necessary antioxidants. All these are responsible for the beneficial outcomes. Guava usually impacts most of the organs and systems of our body.
Foods of every kind should have a definite limit of eating. It would be better if you determine your limits in accordance with the suggestion of a nutritionist, dietitian or a doctor.
Raw guava or jam, jelly, juice made of guava all have an ideal portion that must be a part of everyday diet. Guava leaves have versatile essential properties too.
Diabetic patients should strictly follow the way of maintaining all types of food in the diet in a moderate amount.
Basics of Guava:
The crunchy sound of biting a whole raw guava gives a pleasure in mind. Guava has different varieties throughout the world. Among them, the ‘common guava’ or ‘apple guava’ is familiar to all.
Guava is known as ‘Amrood phal’ in Hindi, ‘Peyara’ in Bengali, ‘Jama pandu’ in Telugu, ‘Koyya palam’ in Tamil, ‘Perakka’ in Malayalam and so on.
This typically has got a simple oval to round shape and has hundreds of edible seeds inside it. Some tastes sweet and some have a combined taste of sweet and sour.
The skin may vary in colours like green, yellow, red etc. The colour of the inside of the fruit may be white, yellowish, pink or red.
Guava can be cultivated in all seasons.
Rationale of eating Guava in Diabetic patients:
Most of the fresh fruits can be a great snack for anyone, especially for diabetics. Guava is one of them.
It gives benefits according to nutritional composition and hardly affects blood sugar. So the diabetics can keep control over the blood sugar even after eating a whole guava everyday.
The rationale of taking guava and related items in diabetics –
- Low glycemic index: Guava belongs to the low glycemic index category. This means that eating guava will gradually raise blood glucose. I will discuss them in a separate topic.
- Low calorie:High calorie is a big obstacle to maintaining targeted blood sugar. It increases the chance of weight gaining.
According to USDA(United States Department Of Agriculture), 100 gm of guava contains only 68 calories and 8.92 gm natural sugars.
This is quite good numbers in case of a food of diabetic diet chart.
- Low fiber content: Fibers containing food usually inhibit the digestive enzymes and the digestion and absorption processes are delayed.
Guava is one of the richest sources of natural dietary fiber. So there will be a slow release of glucose in the blood after eating guava or related items. Thus blood sugar will be controlled.
- High level of potassium and magnesium and low sodium content:
The balance of nutrients in such a way can keep the blood glucose level low and also keep the heart healthy.
- High in vitamin C and some antioxidants: Type 2 Diabetes is an outcome of chronic inflammation.
The function of vitamin C and other antioxidants is to boost up the immune system and keep all inflammation at bay. A guava is considered to contain 4 times more vitamin C content than an orange.
Besides, all the nutrients combinedly prevent diabetes induced complications such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity etc.
Glycemic index of guava and it’s diabetic benefit:
Food choices of diabetes are tricky enough. It becomes easier with a knowledge of glycemic index.
The concept of glycemic index was first introduced in 1981 by jenkins to simplify the varying capacities of different foods to raise blood sugar.
Basically it expresses the rapidity of the blood glucose spike after a carbohydrate meal compared to glucose or white bread.
It has a range of –
70 or more(high)
Guava has a glycemic index of 12 which is in the low category. It means, consumption of a whole guava without the peel will not significantly raise your blood sugar.
As most of the fruits commonly have fruit sugar or fructose content, they seem to be not compatible in a diabetic diet.
But guava has a very low quantity and high quality sugars and so it’s glycemic index is also low. As a result the overall calorie number is also very limited.
All these accounts for the choice of guava as a diabetic friendly fruit.
Some unique informations regarding the blood glucose lowering effect of guava:
★ According to various studies, it is suggested that guava should be eaten after peeling off the skin.
As the skin has a potential to elevate sugar absorption in the blood, the skin should be avoided during eating.
★ Along with guava, it’s leaves have a great impact on lowering blood sugar and insulin resistance. Guava leaves tea is an emerging and popular drink to reduce blood sugar.
Traditional use of guavas and their leaves for various healing purposes is very common in many countries.
Common health related benefits are given below-
★ Improves heart health: Both guava and guava leaves have antioxidant contents that fight with free radicals and prevent infectious damage to the heart.
Guavas and their leaves have cholesterol lowering properties. Atherosclerosis is a major cause of heart disease.
They decrease the amount of bad cholesterol like LDL and triglycerides. Thus prevent plaque in arteries and further atherosclerosis.
High blood pressure or hypertension is another concern to maintain heart health. The high potassium content is helpful in balancing blood pressure.
★ Solve digestion related issues: The soluble fiber composition eases digestion and increases bulk of the stool. Thus the stool becomes easy going and the problem of constipation is solved.
Some experts recommend Guava leaves extract to get rid of diarrhoea. The leaves have some caustic agents and they cause tightening of the stool.
So regular consumption of guava can maintain a healthy bowel habit.
★ Strengthen immunity: I have already told about the higher vitamin C content of guava compared to orange and other citrus fruits.
Vitamin C is a powerhouse of immunity.
Any kind of infection and inflammation, especially cough, cold and respiratory tract related problems are knocked down by the consumption of vitamin C.
As vitamin C is easily washed out from the body, you must eat guava and other citrus fruits for optimum action.
★ Relieve menstrual cramps: It is a traditional remedy for the relief of menstrual cramps.
Guava leaf extract in dysmenorrhea acts more efficiently than some commercial painkillers. Natural ways of treatments are always better than anything.
★ Prevent cancer cell growth: Prostate and breast cancers are technically proven to be improved by the antioxidant compounds of guava.
Abundant amounts of lycopene and other polyphenolic agents of guava can prevent the growth of prostatic and breast cancer cells and also lower the risk of them in healthy individuals.
★ Help in weight loss: The above mentioned calorie value of one serving of guava is very low in comparison with others.
Also there is a moderate fiber content that is about 20% of the recommended daily allowance of dietary fibers.
These two criterias make a guava to be a weight loss friendly snack item. Daily one serving of guava can modify the calorie consumption and also the soluble fiber can give a feeling of fullness.
★ Improve skin texture and delay ageing: Lycopene and related compounds also have effects on skin. The flesh, the skin and the leaves are extremely beneficial for acne prone skin.
You can apply the paste of guava leaves and flesh directly to your skin blemishes, pimples and spots. They work like magic.
They also delay the development of wrinkles and fine lines in skin. Thus acts as an anti- ageing product.
★ Assure nutrition in pregnancy: A pregnant woman is in need of folic acid. Guava is an ideal source of it. It is needed to improve the fetus’s neurological function.
Constipation is a common complaint in pregnancy. The fiber content helps a pregnant woman to maintain healthy bowel movement.
★ Improve toothache: Juice of guava leaves has anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious properties. Pain and swelling of teeth and gum are relieved by the juice. It is a well known home remedy to many of us.
★ Improve brain function: Some brain friendly vitamins and minerals are present in guava. They improve different cognitive functions of the brain.
Some side effects and warnings:
★ Deteriorate eczematous skin: Though guava leaves can improve acne and skin blemishes, eczema may worsen after application of the leaves. So use cautiously.
★ Hypoglycemic effects: Diabetics who are on insulin treatment prone to develop hypoglycemia sometimes.
This type of patients and their caregivers must keep in mind that guava has a significant blood sugar lowering effect. So eat with caution.
★ In pregnancy: This fact is still under research whether you can eat guava in pregnancy or not. There are no known demerits of guava in pregnant women. So, eat in moderation.
Research findings about the benefits of guava:
Several test tube and animal studies suggest the power of guava leaf tea to reduce blood glucose, insulin resistance etc.
- A study has been done on 19 people about the blood sugar condition after drinking guava leaves tea. There was a significant reduction of blood glucose that lasted up to 2 hours.
- Another study has been conducted for the same purpose among 20 people. That resulted in reduction of blood sugar level by 10% after a meal.
- Studies have also proved that guava can lessen the diabetic complications. A long term study was conducted among 120 people.
The people ate a ripe guava before a meal for 12 weeks. This caused an overall decrease in blood pressure, total cholesterol and increase in good cholesterol(HDL).
|Guava White : Nutritional Information|
|# Serving size 100 g|
|Saturated fatty acids||0.272||G||1%|
|Docosahexaenoic n-3 acid (DHA)||G|
|Eicosapentaenoic n-3 acid (EPA)||G|
|Docosapentaenoic n-3 acid (DPA)||G|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||0.087||G|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.401||G|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units||IU|
|Vitamin A, RAE||31||UG|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||UG|
|Fatty acids, total trans||G|
|Vitamin E, added||MG|
|Vitamin B12, added||UG|
|Phenylalanine + Tyrosine||0.037||G||2%|
|Methionine + Cysteine||0.016||G||2%|
|Guavas Strawberry – Nutrition Information|
|# Serving size 100 g|
|Vitamin A, RAE||5||UG|
|Fatty acids, total trans||G|
|Saturated fatty acids||0.172||G||1%|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||0.055||G|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.253||G|
|Phenylalanine + Tyrosine||0.008||G||0%|
|Methionine + Cysteine||0.004||G||0%|
Eating limit of guava in diabetes:
Unlike other fruits, a diabetic can eat a large portion of this fruit. Though it has no significant adverse effects, over consumption doesn’t suit everyone. So, you should eat in moderation.
1 medium size of a ripe fruit after peeling off the skin is suitable for a diabetic.
Try to eat the whole fruit, as slicing them may raise their glycemic index.
Eat them in between meals. It is the best time to have any kind of fruits.
You may add some grinded flaxseed or cinnamon powder over the fruit to reduce the glycemic index further.
Fresh fruits are a great source of nutrients. This is the only food item that contains sugar in a natural way and that is why fruits are recommendable in diabetes.
Other fruits that are valid in diabetes – (low GI fruits)
- Berries(Blueberry and Blackberry )
- Plums etc.
You must take advice from your dietitian about the right amount and right way of eating them.
You should precisely eat the dry varieties of fruits. They are comparatively sugar and calorie dense.
A healthy eating habit is the key to maintain a desired level of blood sugar. Fresh fruits are the natural ways to enhance your diet more healthily.
Guava, enriched with numerous nutrients, can be a best option in the diabetic fruit chart. It has a low glycemic index value.
It can help in lowering blood glucose at a tolerable limit. Besides this, it can limit the probability of other complications of diabetes.
You must continue your medications and do work out daily. Also the other meals of a day should be healthy enough to reach the optimum target.