Diets for diabetics should include fruits like guavas that have a low glycemic load. Eating guavas will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Guavas are a very tasty and nutritious tropical fruit. As a Certified Nutritionist, I feel compelled to counteract Donut Friday with healthy offerings for my office colleagues. I’ve attempted to expand their horizons with jackfruit and persimmons, with disappointing results. But when I cut up some ripe guavas, they disappeared in record time.
Why Diets for Diabetics Should Include Guavas
Why should diets for diabetics include guavas? More than 25% of U.S. adults 65 or older suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Two clinical trials show that drinking guava leaf tea can stabilize blood sugar. One recent study of pre-diabetics who drank guava leaf tea with every meal for 12 weeks found that the tea lowered blood sugar levels for up to two hours after each meal. Research of Type 2 diabetics who drank guava tea for 8 weeks showed that it reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10%. Don’t be deterred from eating guavas by their relatively high glycemic index rating. Glycemic load, which considers realistic serving sizes, is a more accurate measure of whether a food will increase blood sugar levels rapidly. On that scale, guavas rank very low, making them a diabetic friendly fruit.
If You’re on a Diabetic Diet Get to Know Guavas
If you’re in a diabetic diet, add guavas to your fruit repertoire. Not only will it stabilize your blood sugar, but guavas satisfy a sweet tooth and provide a mega-dose of Vitamin C.
This tropical fruit is native to Mexico and Central America, but now commonly grown throughout Asia as well as in the U.S., where it was first introduced in Florida. There are several varieties of guavas, which range in size from about 1-1/2 to 5 inches and may be round or oval.
Unripe guavas are green, but as they ripen and acquire their special fragrance, they turn yellow, green, or maroon. White guavas have off-white centers, while pink guavas have a green-yellow skin and a pink interior. I find the seeds unchewable, but they are edible and a good constipation antidote. Many guava lovers eat the whole fruit, including skin and seeds. Guavas have a distinctive taste that has been described by some as a refreshing combination of apple and passion fruit. Other guava aficionados identify the flavor as reminiscent of strawberries.
Nutrition in Guavas
Guavas are packed with heart-protective antioxidants and are very low in calories and fat. One medium guava has less than 40 calories, about 8 grams of carbs and a whopping dose of vitamin C. A single guava supplies more than 200% of your daily immune- boosting Vitamin C needs, more than twice that of an orange. Guavas are also good sources of fiber, Vitamins A and B and potassium.
Other Health Benefits of Guavas
1. Guavas Contribute to Heart Health
A 12 week study of 120 patients with high blood pressure revealed that those who consumed guava fruit before meals showed significant decreases in blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Total serum cholesterol levels also decreased by 9.9%, while HDL (good) cholesterol levels increased by 8%. Other clinical trials with hypertensive patients who ate guavas showed similar heart benefits, which are thought to be attributable to the soluble fiber and potassium content of the fruit.
2. Guavas Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Although menstrual pain or dysmenorrhea is often considered a young woman’s ailment, it also afflicts older women and can worsen with age and multiple pregnancies. A double-blind clinical trial of 197 women tested the efficacy of 6 mg doses of guava extract and found that it “reduced menstrual pain significantly,” even more so than ibuprofen.
3. Guavas Benefit the Digestive System
Eating guavas promotes bowel health and relieves constipation and guava leaf extract has antimicrobial properties, which helps control harmful gut microbes. One clinical study evaluated a drug made from guava leaves that was administered to 50 patients suffering from diarrhea and discovered that after only three days the duration of abdominal pain decreased.
4. Guavas Help Boost Immunity
The mega dose of Vitamin C in guavas strengthens our immune systems which become less robust with age and also reduces the duration of the common cold. Their antimicrobial qualities also help to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses that can lead to infections.
How to Enjoy Guavas
Guavas are delicious eaten raw. Select a soft, fragrant one and wash it thoroughly since the rind is edible. Then slice the fruit in half and either eat it as is or scoop out the seeds if you prefer to discard them. If you want to spice it up, add soy sauce, salt and pepper, cayenne, or curry powder.
Since guavas are high in pectin, a natural thickener, the fruit is often used to make jams, sauces, and relishes. Guava jams, like one made by Goya Products, are available in specialty stores. You can also make jam at home in a little more than an hour with this recipe from Genius Kitchen. This unique fruit also shines in desserts including ice creams, puddings, pies, and cakes. Southern Californians wait in long lines at Porto’s Bakery locations to get their hands on scrumptious guava filled rolls and strudels. The juice is widely available and is being added to cocktails such as this Pink Guava Mimosa and in smoothies as in this Strawberry & Guava Smoothie recipe created by Chef Vicky Ratani, host of the popular show “Vicky Goes Veg.” Guava paste can be used to make tasty barbeque glazes for your favorite meat or to brush on grilled shrimp.
Click here for a slightly different version of this blog which first appeared on LifeTime Daily.