The kind of food consumed by a diabetic is important and there arises a need to follow a diet plan based on height, weight, age, physical activity, nature of diabetes, etc. Sad to say, suddenly their food choices become highly restricted.
They develop suspicion and other doubts about eating right and managing their sugar levels. One of them is whether or not they can eat fruits. The good news is when it comes to diabetes management, no food is out of bounds. All you need is the key to balance it right. Fruits are no doubt sweet because of natural sugars present in them, but they also provide loads of other nutrients like vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, which are highly beneficial for diabetics.
Most fruits that have a low glycemic index (GI) can be a good option to include in one’s daily meal plan. These include fruits such as apples, oranges, strawberries, lemons and plums. But fruit juices are not ideal for diabetics; even the packaged ones that claim to be sugar-free. Juices can lead to spike in blood sugar levels which is not desirable. Instead, chewing fruits leads to a steady and gradual rise in sugar, which is more important while maintaining sugar levels in diabetes.
Apples are the perfect fruit for diabetics. They are low-GI, available throughout the year and a great snack to pack for work or school, as they don’t bruise easily. Apples are high in pectin, a soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels and bowel function, and also has an anti-inflammatory affect which may help diabetics to recover from infections faster. They are rich in quercetin (a strong antioxidant found in high concentrations in apple skins) which is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, may help prevent heart attacks, reduce the risk of cancer and ward off eye disease.
Nothing beats a bowl of strawberries as a sweet treat. With one punnet of strawberries the equivalent of one fruit portion (250g) you are good to go. Strawberries and all other berries have a low glycemic index (low-GI) and a low glycaemic load (low-GL) per typical serving. This means eating them will help you to stay full for longer, your blood sugar levels will remain steady and, subsequently, your energy levels will be sustained for longer.
Pears are another good low-GI fruit option available throughout the year. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and a good source of fiber – which helps to regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and improve digestive health.
Like the rest of the citrus family, grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant which helps to boost the body’s resistance against infections and helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Grapefruit also contains the flavonoid narigenin, which has been found to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps to maintain a healthy weight, which is a vital part of diabetes treatment.
Peaches are low-GI and packed with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, especially immune-boosting vitamin C. Peaches are best enjoyed fresh – avoid the canned, syrupy peaches.
Oranges are the best-known source of immune-boosting vitamin C which helps to protect against infections and boost our immune systems. However, oranges are also low-GI and low-GL per serving, thanks to their high content of soluble fiber, which helps to keep blood sugar levels under control and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Plums and prunes (dried plums) are a well-known remedy for constipation and regulating the functioning of the digestive system. One plum has the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of blueberries. Plums are also high in minerals such as iron, fluoride and potassium and vitamins A, C and E.
Guavas are a great fruit choice for diabetics as they are very low in GI and GL per serving and high in fiber – the perfect combination to keep your blood sugar levels steady and your energy sustained. Guavas are also an excellent source of antioxidants, especially vitamin C.
Black jamun is known to improve blood sugar control. Seeds of these fruit can be powdered and consumed by patients to control diabetes. While jamuns help control sugar levels too and are also high in fiber.
They are good for diabetics because they are rich in vitamin and other minerals.
Although watermelons have a high GI value, their glycemic load is low, making them good fruits for diabetes patients. However, consume in moderation.
These tiny red rubies help diabetic people improve their blood sugar statistics.
Jackfruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and magnesium among many other nutrients. Good for diabetes as they improve insulin resistance.
A fruit loaded with vitamin C and fiber, Amla is a healthy addition to the diabetic diet.
Diabetics should avoid having fruits immediately after lunch or dinner because it can cause further rise in sugar levels. There should be a gap of at least 2 hours between a meal and fruit intake. The ideal time to take fruits would be mid-morning ideally at about 11 am or in the evening at 5 pm.