Diabetes!! The most talked about topic these days since the cases of diabetes are on the rise, it becomes essential to understand the do’s and don’ts for diabetics, since if not controlled it becomes a storehouse of diseases. Uncontrolled diabetes affects all parts of the body from head to toe – in the form of Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, gangrene and the list is endless.
Fruits can be tricky when it comes to diabetes. They are tricky since they contain fructose; a monosaccharide that quickly turns into sucrose i.e. sugar, but fruits are called healthy for a reason. Since they contain Pectin and gums, a form of soluble fiber is known to reduce blood sugar levels and improve the digestive conditions of the stomach, also they are a powerhouse of antioxidants like ellagic acid, quercetin, polyphenols, xanthenes, beta carotene etc, which are known to provide overall health benefits like cancer prevention, reduced oxidation of free radicals and most importantly boost the already weakened immunity of diabetics.
Also, it is always healthier to snack on a fruit instead of any other processed snacks like bhujiya, namkeen, mathi etc. But it is important to understand that fruits are not free foods as eating too many fruits at a time can spike the blood sugar levels, which we definitely don’t want.
What Fruits to take
So the question arises which fruits to eat and which fruits to avoid, the selection of the fruit should be based on the glycemic load of the fruit. The glycemic load of a food is a number that estimates how quickly it will increase the blood sugar levels after consuming a specific quantity. A glycemic load of less than 10 is recommended for diabetics, also the fiber content of the fruit is a determining factor as fiber slowers the release of blood sugar.
Following is a suggested list of fruits for diabetics:
1. Strawberries: These red beauties stand at top of the low glycemic load fruits list with a glycemic load of 1. Also, researches show that it can improve kidney conditions in diabetics.
2. Grapefruit: Along with being a great source of chromium, research suggests if eaten with breakfast it can help in breaking down the dietary sugars that are present in your cereal. They have a glycemic load of 3.
3. Lemon: This bright yellow fruit is sure to brighten up your health as it is a very rich source of vitamin C which will improve your immunity. Also, it is high in pectin which would slow the release of blood sugar. It has a glycemic load of 4.
4. Guava: It is very rich in dietary fiber thus helps ease constipation and can lower the chance of developing type-2 diabetes. Eat them without skin to reduce the sugar absorption in your blood. They have a glycemic load of 4.
5. Oranges: They have more than 170 different types phytochemicals and more than 60 types of antioxidants, it reduces reactive oxidative stress produced by fat cells and inflammation which ultimately helps in reducing the risk of and controlling diabetes. They have a glycemic load of 4.
6. Blueberries: These are also very effective as they get their deep pigment from anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, that pump the cells insulin production by 50%, therefore known particularly to lower the risk of diabetes. They have a glycemic load of 5.
7. Black plum: Also known as Jamun is being used for centuries now as a treatment for diabetes. Not only it has a low glycemic load of 5 but its seeds are known to have anti-diabetic properties.
8. Apple: The health benefits of apples make this fruit a healthy carbohydrate choice for diabetics. This fruit is fairly low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. According to a review article published in the July 2012 issue of “Advances in Nutrition,” the fiber naturally found in fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of a common complication of diabetes — cardiovascular disease.
9. Avocados: They are rich in Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats. Rich in vitamins A, B & E and contain a high antioxidant level. They are so low in carbohydrates that their glycemic load cannot be calculated.
10. Jackfruit: This fruit has turned into a superfruit considering its vitamin and mineral profile, it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese and many other essential nutrients, also studies have shown that jackfruit consumption reduces insulin resistance since 100 gm of jackfruit contains 11.1 gm fiber.
Some tips to keep in mind while eating fruits if you are diabetic:
- No serving of fruit should be more than 120 gms.
- Do not eat fruits right after a meal as it would spike the blood sugar levels, have it before meals.
- Say no to fruit juices as juices are devoid of fiber and will increase blood sugar levels at a super fast speed.
- Eat the fruits between meals as a snack.
- Eat one fruit at a time.
- Eat 2-3 fruits per day from the allowed list.
Being a diabetic you should never stop eating fruits. The key is to eat a wide variety of them to keep your body toxin-free benefiting from their important role in detoxification. There is no need for exotic fruits, eating fresh fruits in limited quantity will help you get all the nourishment you require from them.