This delicious and easy-to-eat (sweat and sour, no need to peel) fruit is a widely popular fruit and is almost loved by everyone on earth. Grapes come in green, red, and black colours. Grapes are consumed both as raw fresh fruits and in the form of juices, jams, and wines.
However, for people with diabetes, it always remains a state of dilemma as to whether it is safe to consume grapes or not.
In this small blog, we will delve into some questions as whether grapes are suitable for people with diabetes, their nutritional value, their health benefits, and the recommended portion size for diabetic people.
What Does Ayurveda Speak of Grapes (Draksha)?
Ayurveda lays huge emphasis on Diet, Lifestyle, and Medicine in its approach to the treatment of any diseased person, and this is the reason the diet word comes before medicine. Our diet plays a crucial role in managing various health conditions, including Diabetes.
Ayurveda views diabetes as a metabolic disorder primarily caused by an imbalance in the body’s doshas, in particular the Kapha and Pitta doshas. According to Ayurveda, the choice of foods is essential for balancing these doshas and maintaining overall well-being.
Are Grapes Good for People with Diabetes?
Grapes have a moderate glycemic index (GI), which means they may cause a gradual increase in blood sugar levels compared to high-GI foods. However, it’s essential to consider the overall impact of grapes on blood sugar control.
In Ayurveda, grapes are considered to have both sweet and astringent tastes. While they can be beneficial for some individuals with diabetes, it is crucial to understand their impact on blood sugar levels and how they interact with the Doshas.
Nutritional Composition from an Ayurvedic Perspective
- Rasa (Taste): Sweet and Astringent
- Virya (Energetic Effect): Cooling
- Vipaka (Post-Digestive Effect): Sweet
- Guna (Qualities): Light and Dry
Nutritional Value of Grapes per 100 grams:
- Calories: 69
- Carbohydrates: 18 grams
- Fibre: 0.9 grams
- Sugar: 16 grams
- Vitamin C: 10% of the daily recommended intake
- Vitamin K: 14% of the daily recommended intake
- Potassium: 191 mg
Patients of diabetes often complain of a lack of energy, dry mouth, thirst, and burning sensation, and draksha (grapes) can deal with these symptoms vary effectively while being energy-dense food. Because of its purgative properties, the consumption of grapes can help diabetic patients with constipation rather than taking synthetic or other purgatives which can leech out minerals from their body. Due to their Kapha and Pitta balancing properties, it is advisable to consume only ripened grapes.
Health Benefits of Grapes for Diabetic People
- Antioxidant-Rich: Packed with a good number of antioxidants including resveratrol, which have protective effects against chronic conditions associated with diabetes, such as heart disease.
- Enchanted Insulin Sensitivity: Some studies suggest that grapes and their nutritional components may improve insulin sensitivity, and aid in better blood sugar control.
- Heart’s Health: Grapes improve heart health due to their ability to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and promote healthy vascular functions.
Ayurvedic Samhitas suggest the following benefits of consuming grapes-
- Balancing Doshas: Grapes, when consumed in moderation, can help balance the Kapha and Pitta doshas, which are often imbalanced in Diabetes.
- Antioxidant Properties: Grapes are rich in antioxidants, which help combat free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and promote overall health.
- Digestive Aid: Ayurveda suggests that grapes have mild laxative properties, aiding in healthy digestion and preventing constipation, which is commonly associated with Diabetes.
- Promoting Vitality: Grapes are believed to nourish the body and enhance vitality when consumed in their natural form.
How Many Grapes Can a Diabetic Eat?
Whatever we do in life, the simple Sutra which needs to be kept in mind is- ‘Moderation is the key’, and this should be practiced in every domain of life including diet, sleep, and celibacy. So, when it comes to portion sizes, moderation is the key. important to monitor the total carbohydrate intake to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
The recommended serving size is about 20 grapes or roughly 100 gms of grapes, which contain 15 grams of carbohydrates but a natural form of carbohydrates, not artificial ones. It is good to have guidance from an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine the appropriate portion size based on your individual Doshas and Prakarti constitution and Diabetes management goals which will ensure that they fit well into your Diabetes management plan.
Natural Sugar Vs Artificial Sugar
The modern man’s problem is not the sugar, his problem is not burning this sugar and consuming too much artificial sugar without even burning it. Processed or artificial sugar is the single largest cause of gut inflammation and sources could be Syrups, White Atta, and Desserts (which make your gut a desert by the way).
The irony is that doctors remove fruits and natural sugar from your diet instantly but seldom ask you to remove some of the items we discussed briefly here. The bottom line is that consuming natural sugar in moderation in foods such as fruits is not linked to negative health effects.
What Color Grapes Are Good for People with Diabetes?
The red and black varieties of grapes tend to have higher levels of antioxidants compared to green grapes. These antioxidants as discussed above can potentially contribute to better overall health.
As per Ayurveda, different colours of grapes are associated with balancing the specific doshas.
- Green Grapes: Green grapes are considered cooling and are often recommended for individuals with an aggravated Pitta dosha and imbalance. They are known to have a calming and happy effect on the body.
- Red Grapes: Red grapes balance the Kapha dosha and are nourishing and revitalizing.
- Black Grapes: Black grapes balance all three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—and are known for their rejuvenating properties.
The intent of this blog while discussing its properties is not to make people forcefully eat grapes but to make them think to remove artificial sugar from their life. I see a lot of people walking into my OPD for Diabetes reversal who gulp daily teas with refined or artificial sugar without any remorse but for sweet fruits, they have huge reservations and scepticism.
Breaking this trend, it is advisable to eat grapes and when you eat them, you must eat them judiciously without any guilt. The grapes can also be included in a Diabetes-friendly diet when consumed in moderation. It is also recommended to consult with an Ayurveda physician to make informed dietary choices since most of the long-advocated dietary regimens for Diabetes have failed to reverse it as no diet works solely on one person. We are different so as our health needs, and we need to improvise on the same accordingly.
Remember, managing or curing Diabetes involves a holistic approach and incorporating natural sugar can be a healthy part of an overall well-rounded Diabetes Reversal Program while managing your sugar cravings naturally rather than relying on other forms of sweets available in the market.