Litchi or lychee is a pulpy, juicy summer fruit that is available in India for a very brief spell. You can tuck into them raw, blend them in smoothies or whisk them in ice-creams; litchi are always a delight. There are a number of reasons why we wait for summers all year long; munching into these pulpy delights is one of them. Litchis are a treasure trove of many health benefits. Plump with nutrients, litchis help you stay hydrated because of their high water content. They are also rich in vitamin C that helps restore your immunity, and keep your skin healthy. Additionally, they are also a good source of dietary fibres, which helps boost your digestion and keeps constipation at bay. A healthy digestion system is the key to weight loss. The antioxidants and high amount of fibres present in the fruit also helps to keep your heart healthy. Litchis is high in potassium that may help prevent blood pressure spikes. The copper present in the fruit facilitates smooth blood circulation. Lychee may also do wonders for your bones due to its high magnesium and phosphorous content. Despite its super rich nutritive profile, there's a lot of confusion on whether or not it should be consumed by diabetics.
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Diabetes is a condition marked by elevated blood sugar levels. It occurs when your body is not able to produce enough insulin or is not able to respond properly to the insulin produced. Diabetics are often asked to steer clear of sugary foods or foods with high glycemic index. According to Bangalore based nutritionist Anju Sood, if your blood glucose is in control, it is safe to consume litchees. She explains that while lychee like any other fruit has natural sugar content, but the kind of sugar that is found in litchis may not be that unsafe for diabetics. "Fructose is the sugar which is present in the fruit and it is one sugar that does not require insulin for its metabolism," she says.
"It depends upon the severity of the problem. I would recommend eating litchi once in a day because excessive amount will definitely increase the sugar levels. Even though, fructose does not require insulin, it is best to eat it in moderation," she adds.
Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta agrees, "Yes, it is safe for diabetics to eat litchis, but make sure you do that in moderation. Make sure it is done in accordance to the calorific value. Diabetics need to be very careful of their calorie-load. Consult your nutritionist to understand the right quantity of fruit you should be eating."
Litchis have a glycemic index of around 50. Glycemic index is a ranking given to carbohydrates depending upon how they affect your blood sugar levels. Foods with glycemic index lower than 55 tend to get digested slowly. They enable slow release of sugar in the blood stream that prevents blood sugar spike. Litchis are also high on fibre. Consuming fibre may help prevent abrupt blood sugar spikes.
Practicing moderation and balance is very essential to follow a healthy diabetes diet. While it is okay to tuck into litchis once in a while, make sure you do not go overboard.