Lemon and Diabetes
Lemon and Diabetes
Is lemon the miracle cure for diabetes? I sincerely doubt it. However, once I decided to look into "lemons and diabetes," I was surprised by what I found. Diabetes or no, the benefits of the little, lowly lemon are amazing.
This research started because my 90-year-old father-in-law has diabetes. He lost a leg this past April, and we've been researching ways to help him control his diabetes—especially since he now suffers from congestive heart failure, as well. Dietary requirements are strict for both conditions, so we wanted to do the right thing. I came across an article asking "is lemon good for diabetics?" and I was off and running.
Benefits of Lemon
- Contains Vitamins C and B
- Contains small levels of Vitamin A
- Contains proteins and minerals
- Helps with calcium absorption
- Used as a gargle can help fight sore throat
- Can help with respiratory problems
- Can be applied to burns to reduce burning sensation
- Low in calories
- Contains some iron, copper, potassium, and calcium
Our lowly lemon is not so lowly after all. Apparently the lemon began in the Himalayan foothills and spread out from there, finally reaching America. One of the smallest citrus fruits, the other being lime, it grows on an evergreen tree. The lemon tree originally grew from ten to twelve feet in height but can now grow as high as twenty-two feet. Fruits take from six to eight months to ripen. Fresh picked fruit can be stored for several weeks at cool temperatures. Once a lemon is picked, it stops ripening so it is important to pick it at the right time. Some lemons are juicier than others you say? Well, it is said ripe lemons will sometimes become easier to juice when they have been sitting for a while. I'm not attesting to this fact as I'm not a lemon expert.
Hints on getting lemon juice out of the lemon include rolling it on the counter, putting it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds, cutting it in quarters, and lastly using a fork to twist the inside of the lemon to coax out the juice.
Another great thing about lemons, they're low in calories. They are only 29 calories per 100 grams.Lastly, remember citrus fruits prevent scurvy which we now know is simply a deficiency of Vitamin C.
Symptoms of Diabetes
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness, lethargy
- Sugar in urine
- Sudden vision changes
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
- Heavy, labored breathing
- Stupor, unconsciousness
Diabetes is a disorder that affects the metabolic and endocrine systems. This "disorder" makes it difficult for the body to produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to convert sugar from food into nutrients for body cells. If this conversion does not take place, excess sugar builds up in the blood stream and can cause damage to organs, and even death.
There are two different "types" of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. While type 1 can occur at any age it is usually found in children and young adults to around age thirty. Type 2 usually occurs around the age of forty or later but has begun to start appearing in children. What's the difference between the two? The villain/difference in diabetes and it's types is the pancreas. In type 1 the pancreas cannot produce any insulin and shots must be used to provide the body with insulin. In type 2 the pancreas can produce some insulin but not necessarily enough. In type 2 sometimes diet control is enough to control diabetes, if not some form of medication is required.
There is also a third type of diabetes, called gestational diabetes. This type develops only during pregnancy and usually disappears after the baby is born. The American Diabetes Foundation says women with gestational diabetes are at a high risk of developing type 2 later in life.
Lemon and Diabetes
This brings us to the lemon and diabetes. What is the connection? First off, lemons lower your glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast your blood sugar rises after eating a certain food. Maintaining a low glycemic index helps to keep your blood sugar balanced. Diabetics need to be especially aware of blood sugar spikes. When the body's sugar spikes, the body has trouble responding and may not be able to produce enough insulin. So, number one in favor of the lemon and diabetes is it is a low-glycemic index food.
Next, the lemon contains soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. The good thing about fiber is that it does not stay in the body because it doesn't break down. According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that "people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber a day — particularly soluble fiber — were able to control their blood glucose better than those who ate far less."
Number three in favor of the lemon is it aids digestion. The acids in lemon aids digestion naturally by interacting with other acids and enzymes in your digestive tract. The result? Healthy, problem-free digestion. I remember years ago when my mother had an upset stomach she would drink a small glass of lemon water, no sugar. I often wondered why; now, years later, I know. The lemon water helped with her upset stomach.
Number four in favor of the lemon is it does not interact with medications. Unlike grapefruit, another citrus fruit, lemon does not interact with any drugs. I know personally grapefruit cannot be taken with certain medications, but until now didn't know why. Actually, some holistic practices recommend a weekly cleanse with tart apples and diluted lemon juice for diabetics. I did not find any medical facts to back it up but thought it might be worth a mention.
The benefits of lemons affect all people but would appear to be especially beneficial for diabetics. From what I've read it seems lemons promote immunity and help fight infection, which is not bad for anyone. Lemons stimulate your liver, so they're a great way to detox your liver. Lemons also have powerful antibacterial properties; they can actually destroy bacteria. Okay, I think you get the picture, lemons are really good for you. On top of the benefits an ordinary person gets from lemons, think of the benefits of lemons to a diabetic.
Since lemons offer so many benefits for diabetics, why not incorporate them into the diet? Lemons, lemon water, even lemon cake (made with artificial sweetener) can only help!