Safer fruits for diabetes
Managing your diabetes doesn’t have to mean restricting yourself from foods that you love. While you should avoid things that are high in excess sugar, processed foods, and trans fats, as long as you’re eating well 80-90% of the time you will be able to manage your diabetes efficiently. To help you keep your diabetes under control, one of the best things you can do is opt for foods that have a low-glycemic index. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, lets take a look at the top 10 low-glycemic fruits to eat for diabetes management.
The glycemic index (GI) tells you how quickly foods containing carbohydrates affect your blood sugar level when eaten by themselves. According to the American Diabetes Assosiation (ADA), GI scores are rated as:
- Low: 55 or below
- Moderate: 56 to 69
- High: 70 and above
The lower the GI score, the more slowly the rise in blood sugar, which can help the body better manage post-meal changes.
Most whole fruits have a low to moderate GI. Many fruits are also packed with vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.
A more useful estimation of the food-blood sugar effect is the glycemic load (GL), which has more narrow categories of low, medium and high foods. This calculation takes into account the GI, plus the grams of carbohydrates per serving of the food.
Though each person living with diabetes responds to or tolerates carbohydrate choices and amounts differently, GL better estimates the possible real-life impact when someone eats a particular food.
To calculate the GL yourself, use this equation: GL equals the GI, multiplied by the grams of carbohydrates, divided by 100.
- Low: 0 to 10
- Moderate: 11 to 19
- High: 20 and above
10 Low-Glycemic Fruits to Eat for Diabetes Management
Fruits are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. While many fruits have a low GI, some are better than others. To help improve your diabetes management, here are some of the best fruits to incorporate into your diet.
All berries are good for people with diabetes as they have lower amounts of sugar than other fruits and lots of fiber. Strawberries have a GI of 41 and have more vitamin C than an entire orange. You can eat strawberries on their own, add them to smoothies or salads, and use them for desserts. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and can be grown in your garden.
Plums have a GI of 40 and are an excellent source of potassium, copper, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K. While plums are filled with antioxidants, they can be hard to find ripe or without bruises. You can alternate fresh plums with prunes, but make sure that you’re mindful of portions.
Pears have a GI of 38 and have over 20% of your recommended daily fiber. They’re great on their own or can be baked into a delicious dessert.
Peaches are packed with vitamin C and A, iron, potassium, and have a GI of 42. They’re great when eaten alone or can be used to cook a delicious meal. If you’re going to use canned peaches, just be diligent when reading the ingredients and avoid anything that includes added sugar, which will drastically increase the GI.
Oranges are best known for their high amounts of vitamin C, which contributes to a healthy immune system, but they’re also filled with antioxidants. Oranges have over 170 phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids, which act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Oranges have a GI of 40 and are a great mid-day snack.
Grapes are a low-glycemic option and due to the high amounts of skin, they’re packed with fiber. They have a GI of 53 and are an excellent source of vitamin B-6, which is essential for brain function and stabilizing mood.
Grapefruit makes for a perfect on-the-go breakfast. With high amounts of vitamin C and plenty of healthy fiber, they’ll help keep your body healthy and strong by fighting off illness. To enjoy grapefruit’s low GI of 25, it’s important to eat them as is and avoid putting excess sugar on top. If you find them to be too tart, there are plenty of other alternatives to choose from. Before adding grapefruit to your diet, talk to your doctor about potential interactions with any medication you’re currently taking.
8. Dried Apricots
It’s best to avoid too much dried fruit, as they can be packed with carbohydrates. However, when eaten in moderation, dried apricots are a great option as they have a GI of only 32. If you’re able to find fresh apricots, the GI is the same and a portion will likely fill you up more. They’re packed with essential vitamins and minerals like copper, vitamin A and E, and make sweet additions to salad, trail mix, and even pork entrees.
Cherries have a GI of 20 and a GL of about 6. Not only are they effective in keeping your blood sugar low, but they’re also filled with antioxidants, immune boosting vitamins, and are great for snacking. Since cherries aren’t in season for very long, you can always find a canned alternative. As long as you opt for tart canned cherries with no added sugar, you’ll reap the same benefits.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits and for good reason. They’re filled with fiber that will keep you full yet satisfy your sweet tooth. Apples are also great for balancing your gut microbe and have a GI score of 39.
20 Popular Fruits With a Low Glycemic Index
- Cherries – 20
- Grapefruit – 25
- Dried apricots – 32
- Pears – 38
- Apples – 39
- Oranges – 40
- Plums – 40 or Prunes (Dried plums) – 29
- Strawberries and other berries – 41
- Peaches – 42
- Grapes – 53
- Guava – 12
- Tamarind – 23
- Passion fruit – 30
- Soursop – 32
- Carambola/Star Fruit – 36
- Avocado – 40+
- Dragon Fruit – 48-52
- Kiwi – 50
- Permissions – 50
- Mangoes – 51