Grapefruit is a great addition to The Diabetes Healing Diet. It is bursting with the antioxidants vitamin C and lycopene, which boost immunity and prevent cell damage, as well as pectin, an enzyme that helps control blood sugar.
1. Grapefruit helps prevent diabetic complications. The antioxidants in grapefruit play an important role in combating the damage free radicals cause to cells, organs and eventually entire systems. One grapefruit supplies more than 78% of the Daily Value (DV) for the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. Pink grapefruit is also loaded with another powerful antioxidant, lycopene, which accounts for its rosy color.
Both vitamin C and lycopene boost immunity and prevent free radical damage than can trigger aging, high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, diabetes and diabetic complications such as cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School who performed studies on the health benefits of grapefruit found that eating just one red grapefruit a day helped reduce heart-damaging cholesterol and triglycerides by 17% (white grapefruit came in at 15%).
2. Grapefruit helps control blood sugar. Grapefruit is also rich in pectin, an enzyme that helps moderate wild swings in glucose levels by binding to carbohydrates and slowing their digestion in the bloodstream. Pectin also helps sensitize your cells to insulin and aids in its uptake by producing insulin receptors on the cells. These insulin receptors function as a kind of “doorway” that makes it easier for insulin to do its two-fold job: removing glucose from the blood and ushering it into the cells where it is needed for the body’s essential fuel.
3. Grapefruit protects blood vessels. The pectin in grapefruit also helps prevent blood vessels from clogging up with LDL (bad) cholesterol, putting a person with diabetes at risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as poor circulation, loss of feeling and a reduced ability to heal from wounds, which can lead to gangrene and amputation. Researchers at the University of Florida found that the pectin in grapefruit reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by more than 10%.
4. Enjoy grapefruit with greens. Grapefruit makes a surprisingly sweet addition to salad greens. For a healthy green smoothie, blend up sections of grapefruit with fresh lettuce, parsley, sunflower sprouts, mint and other fresh greens. Avoid commercial grapefruit juice that has been concentrated or loaded with extra sugar, because that will spike your glucose levels. Eat fruit in moderation since fructose is still sugar and affects blood sugar.
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