HEALTH: 8 Best Fruits For A Diabetes-Friendly Diet
When you're looking for a diabetes-friendly treat that can help keep your blood sugar within a healthy range, look no farther than the produce drawer of your refrigerator or the fruit basket on your kitchen table.
Believe it or not, the notion that fruit is not safe when you need to watch your A1C is a popular diabetes myth that has been debunked again and again. Indeed, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), many types of fruit are loaded with good-for-you vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber — a powerful nutrient that can help regulate blood sugar levels and decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Fiber — which can also be found in some of the best vegetables for diabetes, and in whole grains — can further benefit your health by promoting feelings of fullness and curbing cravings and overeating, research shows.
Healthy weight maintenance can increase your insulin sensitivity and help in your diabetes management.
So, how do you pick the best fruits for diabetes? While some forms of fruit, like juice, can be bad for diabetes, whole fruits like berries, citrus, apricots, and yes, even apples — can be good for your A1C and overall health, fighting inflammation, normalizing your blood pressure, and more.
Consume fruit in its whole, natural form, and avoid syrups or any processed fruits with added sugar, which have the tendency to spike your blood sugar.
Stick to the produce aisle and the freezer section of your grocery store. If you're using the glycemic index (GI) or glycemic load — measures of how foods affect your blood sugar levels — to make dietary decisions, most whole fruits are a good choice because they tend to lie low on these rankings.
When you have diabetes, these steps will help you keep your blood sugar within a healthy range, thereby lowering your risk of certain diabetes complications, including neuropathy (nerve damage), kidney disease, eyesight issues like glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy, and life-threatening illnesses like heart disease and stroke.
The next time you have a hankering for something sweet, consider reaching for one of the following naturally sweet and juicy treats, courtesy of Mother Nature — you can whip it into a diabetes-friendly smoothie or keep it simple and throw it into your bag to munch on while you're on the go.
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1. Berries for a Refreshing Treat and Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
2. Tart Cherries Help Fight Inflammation
Tart cherries are also packed with antioxidants, which may help fight heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, notes a review published in March 2018 in Nutrients.
These fruits can be purchased fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. But since many canned and dried fruits contain added sugar, which can spike your blood sugar, be sure to check the labels.
6 Foods That Tend to Spike Blood Sugar Learn how to approach these foods for better blood-sugar control.
3. Sweet, Juicy Peaches for Metabolism-Boosting Potassium
Fragrant, juicy peaches are a warm-weather treat and can also be included in your diabetes-friendly diet. One medium peach contains 59 calories and 14 g of carbohydrates, according to the USDA.
It also has 10 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, which covers 11 percent of your daily value (DV) for that nutrient, and 285 mg of potassium (6 percent of the DV). The fruit is delicious on its own or tossed into iced tea for a fruity twist.
4. Apricots for a Scrumptious, Fiber-Rich Bite
Apricots are a sweet summer fruit staple and a wonderful addition to your diabetes meal plan. One apricot has just 17 calories and 4 g of carbohydrates, per the USDA.
(Four apricots have 3 g of fiber or 10 percent of the DV. Try mixing some diced fresh apricots into hot or cold cereal, or toss some in a salad.
5. Apples for a Quick Fibrous and Vitamin C
An apple a day really might keep the doctor away. Toss one in your purse or tote bag if you're on the go; a medium-sized apple is a great fruit choice, with just 95 calories and 25 g of carbs, notes the USDA.
Apples are also loaded with fiber (about 4 g per medium fruit, for 16 percent of your DV) and offer some vitamin C, with one midsize apple providing 8.73 mg or about 9 percent of the DV.
Don't peel your apples, though — the skins are nutritious, with extra fiber and heart-protective antioxidants, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
6. Oranges for a Juicy, Refreshing Source of Vitamin C
Eat one orange and you'll get 78 percent of the vitamin C you need in a day (there is 70 mg of C in one medium fruit).
This refreshing choice comes in at only 15 g of carbohydrates and 62 calories, per the USDA.
And while you're enjoying this juicy treat, don't forget that other citrus fruits, like grapefruit, are also great choices.
7. Pears for Easy Snacking, Plus Vitamin K and Fiber
Plus, unlike most fruit, they actually improve in texture and flavor after they're picked.
Slice up a pear and toss it into your next spinach salad.
8. Zesty Green Kiwi for Potassium, Fiber, and Vitamin C
If you've never tried a kiwi, you may not know that its fuzzy brown peel hides a zesty bright green fruit.
One kiwi also has about 42 calories and 10 g of carbohydrates, so it's a smart addition to your diabetes-friendly diet.
Kiwis are available year-round and will last in the refrigerator for up to seven days, according to Zespri Kiwifruit.