Dates are a replete of health benefits which can, in general, be eaten by almost anyone to provide the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies need to function properly. However, for those who suffer from diabetes, there is often a warning attached to the consumption of fruits in general. Diabetics are often restricted in what they eat and have to take careful consideration of the foods they include in their diet. They are often told to avoid all fruits as a precautionary measure – but how necessary (and how true) is this warning?
What is diabetes?
It is estimated that 8.5% of the population is diabetic. Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism. Those who suffer from diabetes have excessively high glucose levels in their blood due to their body’s inability to use it properly. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose or sugar which can be used as fuel for our bodies. In most people, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin which helps glucose enter our cells. However, in diabetics, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or can’t use the insulin it does produce as well as it should. This means that those who suffer from diabetes have to be careful with what they eat.
What should diabetics eat?
We all have to limit what we eat. For diabetics, this is even more important. Generally speaking, diabetics should take extra care to eat a healthy, balanced diet; this means eating regular meals and plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as reducing the amount of saturated fat, salt and sugar they consume. Sticking to a healthy, balanced diet will help to control blood glucose, blood flats, and blood pressure, as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight.
Should diabetics avoid dates?
In a word, no. Although people typically believe that sweet fruits such as dates and bananas should be avoided by diabetics due to their high sugar level, the fact is that it is not harmful to eat such fruits, as long as, like anything, you do so in moderation. Just as it isn’t good to eat 5 candy bars at once, we also shouldn’t over indulge in dates, but eating a limited amount now and again is fine as part of a balanced diet and should not cause a problem for diabetics. Careful consumption is key – eating excessive amounts of dates will result in weight gain and high blood pressure, so care should be taken to monitor intake. As a general guide, diabetics should try not to eat more than 2 dates a day, however, it can be a useful way to give you a much needed sugar fix without raising your blood pressure. It is worthwhile to note that fresh date fruit contains less calories and sugar compared to dried dates, so it is recommended that diabetics opt for fresh dates.
It is important to remember that whilst a 1 cup serving of dates may contain a 415 calories and 95g of sugar (not bad for those looking to gain weight and bulk up), on the plus side, it also contains almost half of your daily fibre needs and at least 10% of your daily magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper and vitamin B6 requirements.