10 Best Fruits for Diabetics
For diabetics, it is often hard to figure out what foods are fine to eat, if they are high in sugars, and whether eating fruits is actually safe. One thing you may have heard in the past is that fruits are not helpful for diabetics, specifically in regards to A1C levels. Well, the truth is there are fruits that will help maintain your blood sugar at a healthy, consistent level. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), some fruits are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber, which can not only help stabilize blood sugar levels but may also help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Several studies in the past have pointed to a link between fruit intake and reduced risk of developing diabetes.
However, it is essential to focus on eating NON-PROCESSED foods. It is better for you to eat fresh or frozen fruits. We will be discussing the 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics.
Why Should You Stay Away From Processed Foods?
One of the main reasons it is best to eat fresh foods in contrast to processed foods is that our bodies tend to absorb processed foods much quicker, which in turn, can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Unlike fresh fruits, which include high levels of key nutrients, processed foods can remove some. The National Institute of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states that people with diabetes should generally try to avoid canned fruits since they can have added sugar.
Are Smoothies Good For Diabetics?
If you plan on blending fruits to make smoothies, you should keep in mind that they tend to have high sugars, are processed by your body quicker, and in turn, can lead to spikes in your blood sugar. It is a good idea to try and eat fresh fruits in their original form. Another essential component that diabetics must understand is the glycemic index: it is a great way to identify safe-to-eat fruits and other foods.
The glycemic index is a rating on a scale of 1 to 100. A higher score indicates a food that is absorbed much faster. A lower score indicates a food that is not absorbed as quickly. Specifically, “glycemic load” takes into factor the glycemic index of certain food and the number of carbs in a serving. Not only is it an accurate measure of the relation between food intake and blood sugar fluctuation, but it also helps diabetics better choose certain foods over others. As a general rule, it is better to choose lower GI index foods specifically for diabetics. In our 10 best fruits for diabetics, you will realize that all of them have a relatively low GI index.
Do Fruits Have A Low Glycemic Index?
Yes! Fruits do have a low glycemic index, meaning your body will not absorb them as fast as some other foods. The longer food that is high in carbs is cooked, the higher of a GI value it has. For each fruit we discuss in this article, we will also provide its GI value. As identified by the USDA, there are many fruits with a GI under 50. However, you must remember to eat fruits in their whole, natural form, avoiding processed fruits if anything.
Low GI & GL Index Fruits
The following set of fruits have GIs less than 55 and Gl less than 10. This is the top 10 best fruits for diabetics.
Top 10 Best Fruits For Diabetics
1. Berries (#1 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Berries are one of the best fruits for diabetics. They are tasty, refreshing, and contain antioxidants that are helpful to fight off diseases. From blueberries to strawberries, the ADA identifies berries as a “diabetes superfood” for what they contain: Antioxidants, Vitamins, and Fiber. Additionally, Berries have a low glycemic index and great nutritional content. Berries go well with other items as well such as yogurt or breakfast items. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have scores below 40. Since berries have a low-carb density, you are safe with berries as long as you control the amount you intake. Berries are the first of the 10 best fruits for diabetics.
Berries and fruits like berries contain fructose, which is a natural sugar that doesn’t need insulin to be metabolized. Therefore, it is a good idea to have around two servings of fruit per day. As part of a healthy diet, berries have proven to be linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, memory loss, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, as found in multiple studies. The high-fiber in berries make it an excellent choice.
Recommended Amounts: (Different Options with Serving Sizes)
¾ cup blueberries or blackberries
1 Cup Raspberries
1 and ¼ cup of strawberries
Ideas to Include Berries in Diet
- Frozen berries with hot cereal. You can eat a bowl of hot cereal and drop some frozen berries in. It is a great combination overall.
- Frozen berries in smoothies. Although not highly recommended, you can include frozen or fresh berries in smoothies.
- Berries and Yogurt (Low-fat) Yogurt and berries go well hand in hand as well. If you want you can even include nuts in the yogurt.
- Berries in Salad. If you love salads, you can begin to incorporate berries in your daily salads.
- Berries instead of syrup. For pancakes, waffles, desserts, stay away from syrups and you can replace it with berries instead.
2. Cherries (#2 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Cherries are another great fruit for diabetics. They have a low glycemic index. For reference, a cup of cherries has 78 calories, 19 g of carbs, and is good at fighting off inflammation. They have antioxidants that help against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The sweet or tart cherries contain elements that boost insulin, helping control blood sugar levels. These chemicals are known as anthocyanins, which has been observed to have some correlation with reduced diabetic risk.
Reference: For reference, one cup of cherries has 25 g of carbs, equivalent to 6 teaspoons. The glycemic index of sour cherries is 22, which indicates a low-GI fruit. Past studies have proven a link between cherry intake and reduced diabetic risk.
2018 Study: Showed that both sweet and tart cherries are a good source of polyphenols and vitamin C, and can promote health. Specifically, the cherries were found to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress.
2012 Study: Diabetic rats that were given cherry extract showed that the cherries were useful to control blood sugar levels and that they reduced diabetic complications.
2014 Study: Showed that cherry extract does have a positive impact on diabetic rats.
2017: Concluded that anthocyanins in cherries, as well as those in other fruits, target insulin sensitivity and can alleviate diabetic conditions.
It is best to control whatever it is that you decide to eat. For cherries, practice the recommended serving sizes to get the most out of them.
3. Peaches (#3 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Peaches are a great choice as well. Not only can it easily be incorporated into your diabetic diet, but they contain rich nutritional content, with vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and work with many side dishes. A medium peach has 15 g of carbs, low in fat, and is easy to eat.
One Small Peach: Calories: 31, Carbs: 7.5 g, Fiber: 1.2 g
One Large Peach: Calories: 61, Carbs: 15 g, Fiber: 1.4 g
One Cup of Sliced Peach: Calories: 69, Carbs: 16.2 g, Fiber; 2.5 g
As discussed before, added sugar in canned and processed food is quite a bit more harmful than eating natural, fresh peaches.
A Cup of Canned Peach: Calories: 160, 32.55 g of sugar
Peaches have a generally low glycemic index, usually around 28. They contain vitamin A, B, C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and help against a variety of medical issues: Nerve issues, Asthma, kidney, Hypertension, Digestion, Bladder Infection, etc.
Peaches in Daily Life: For the most part, you can easily have peaches everyday but ensure that you are controlling your intake.
4. Apricots (#4 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Like some of the fruits, apricots are an excellent addition to anyone’s diabetic meal plan. For reference, an apricot has 17 calories, 4 g of carbs. They go well with most breakfast items and have been shown to be effective for diabetic patients. Apricots have a glycemic index of 34, dried apricots have a GI of 30. Apricots contain vitamin E, which is a major factor contributing to the stabilized blood sugar levels. Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant, which can help diabetics. By having a half cup of dried apricots, you will boost your vitamin E intake by 3 mg and accounts for 19% of the recommended daily intake. A cup of fresh apricots contains 1.5 mg of vitamin E, which accounts for 10% of recommended daily intake.
Additionally, apricots are a great source of vitamin A and C, and dried apricots are great for dietary fiber. There are many ways you can begin to incorporate apricots into your own diet. Here are some amazing apricot recipes you can try:
- Mini Meatball Appetizers With Apricot Dip
- Almond Apricot Muffins
- Cornbread and Dried Fruit Dressing
- Apricot-Walnut Swirl Coffee Cake
- Roast Leg of Pork with Glazed Dried Fruits
- Apricot Oatmeal Bars
- Curried Chicken With Apricots
- Apricot-Glazed Ham
- Pepper-Apricot Glazed Corned Beef
- Almond Apricot Cookies
- Apricot Bars
- Apricot-Mustard Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Fruit Nuggets
Reference: Four Fresh Apricots = 1 Serving
Provides >50% of daily vitamin A requirement
5. Apples (#5 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Apples. Everyone knows what apples are. But is everyone aware of the major advantages apples provide for diabetics? An apple is a wonderful choice for anyone. A small apple contains 77 calories, 21 g of carbs. They are loaded with fiber, are good sources of vitamin C, and their outer apple skin is extremely nutritious with many beneficial antioxidants. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), eating apples is beneficial for the balance it provides. In a medium-sized apple, there are 25 g of carbs, with 19g being sugar.
Most of the sugar within apples comes from fructose. Unlike processed sugars, found in packaged foods, apples have 4 g of dietary fiber. The fiber is helpful because it helps slow the absorption of sugars within your body, in turn, decreasing the likelihood of rising spikes in blood sugar and insulin. Apples have a glycemic index of around 36, which indicates that it is a good option. Moreover, apples have minimal impact on insulin levels in the body. With control, apples are a great supplement to your diabetic meal plan.
Apple Nutritional Breakdown:
Water: 155.72 g
Energy: 95 Cal
Protein: 0.47 g
Fat: 0.31 g
Carb: 25.13 g, 18.91 sugar
Fiber: 4.4 g
Iron: 0.22 mg
Phosphorus: 20 mg
Potassium: 195 mg
Sodium: 2 mg
Zinc: 0.07 mg
Vitamin C: 8.4 mg
Vitamin A, E, K
Great Apple Diabetic Recipes
- Baked Apple Pancake
- Mini Apple Muffins
- Apple & Squash Bake
- Apple-Balsamic Salmon
- Apple Salad
- Apple Crisp
6. Oranges (#6 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Oranges, too, are an excellent fruit for diabetics. Even one orange a day satisfies your daily vitamin C requirement. In addition to it having a low glycemic index rating associated with it, an orange contains folate, potassium, which works to level blood pressure. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has identified citrus fruits as a diabetic superfood. Since fiber takes time to process by your body, it leads to a gradual release of sugar into your bloodstream. For raw oranges, the glycemic index tends to be between 40 and 43.
As discussed before, it is better to eat fruits in their whole form. For instance, when it comes to oranges, the GI of unsweetened orange juice is 50, but the GI of the whole orange hovers around 40.
Orange Diabetic Recipes:
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Citrus Angel Bite Cookies
- Pan-Seared Fennel and Orange Salad
- No-Bake Orange Cream Cheesecake
Oranges are versatile. They can easily be incorporated into your diabetic meal plan. Studies have shown their health benefits.
Like the other set of fruits we discussed, pears are also an excellent source of fiber, a good source of vitamin K, and can be easily incorporated into your diabetes meal plan. They have a low glycemic index, with a multitude of nutritional benefits that all work to keep your blood sugar levels at a minimum.
Benefits of Pears for Diabetics
- Fighting Inflammation
- Serving as Antihyperglycemic
- Helping With Digestion
Various Types of Pears:
Pears have great texture and taste. Let’s analyze some of the nutritional benefits of pears, based on the USDA FoodData Central Database. A Medium-sized pear contains the following:
- 101 Calories
- 27 g of carbs
- 5.5 g of fiber
- 7.65 g of Vitamin C
- 206 mg of potassium
A study which examined many people who were at risk of type 2 diabetes, showed that foods that were rich in anthocyanin, including pears, reduced the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Research done on pears showed that eating pears reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 18%.
Pear Diabetic Recipes
- Lavender Poached Pears
- Roast Leg of Pork With Glazed Dried Fruits
- Meringue Tartlets with Pears and Shaved Chocolate
- Pear Custard
- Almond-Stuffed Pears
8. Kiwi (#8 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Surprisingly, many people have not eaten a kiwi. Kiwis are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. A large kiwi contains 56 calories, 13 g of carbs. They are rich in vitamin C. It increases your body’s ability to fight off certain diseases. Studies show that people that ate more kiwi and citrus fruits had fewer respiratory problems, and noticed reduced risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it lowers your triglycerides and promotes a healthy heart.
Kiwis prevent blood clotting, contain vitamin E, and are rich in antioxidants which means it is a great idea to incorporate it within your diabetic meal plan. It is an excellent source of fiber, helping digestion and cholesterol. Kiwis have a low glycemic index additionally, and can easily be incorporated in your diet in several ways.
Kiwi Diabetic Recipes
- Kiwi Slush
- Kiwi Salad
- Kiwi Dessert
- Kiwi Sandesh
- Emerald Salad
9. Avocados (#9 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Let’s discuss avocados, a fruit that is well-known for the benefits it provides. They are low in carbs, and high in fiber. Overall, avocados are great sources of fiber. One half of a small avocado contains 5.9 g of carbs and 4.6 g of fiber. Here is the minimum recommended daily fiber intake:
Men: 30 g
Women: 21 g
In 2012, there was a study conducted to see whether avocado intake correlated with reduced blood sugar levels. Researchers found out that fiber supplements indeed reduce fasting blood sugar levels and A1C levels as well. Apart from helping diabetic patients, avocados also can help with weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity. The healthy fats in avocados are beneficial.
Other Good Sources of Healthy Fats
- Olive Oil
- Seeds (Sesame, pumpkin, etc.)
Avocado Diabetic Recipes
- Egg, Avocado Toast
- Avocado Tomato Toast
- Guacamole Dip
- Gluten-Free Avocado Bread
- Avocado Hummus
- Avocado Artichoke Pesto Stuffed Chicken
- California Avocado Quinoa Breakfast Bake
- Avocado Raspberry Pops
10. Plums (#10 of 10 Best Fruits for Diabetics)
Plums are known to have a low-glycemic index. Therefore, they can help keep blood sugar levels normal. A serving of plums (two plums) contains 60 calories, 15 g of carbs, and 2 g of fiber. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. As it goes with any food you eat, you must eat plums in a controlled fashion. Here are some great, tasty plum diabetic recipes you can try.
Plum Diabetic Recipes
- Spicy Roasted Plums
- Diabetic Plum Jam
- Cornbread and Dried Fruit Dressing
- Bread Pudding with Raisins
Now that you know the 10 Best Fruits for diabetics, it’s time to incorporate what you learned within your meal plan.
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