Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes with Fruit
Unlike type 1 diabetes, the risk of type 2 diabetes reduces when aligned with a healthy weight. Whether you're looking to prevent or treat diabetes, how can nutritious foods and fruits fit into a diabetic diet?
Diabetes is a growing health condition affecting more than nine percent of the U.S. population, with type 2 diabetes comprising 90 to 95 percent of those numbers and type 1 covering the rest. Unlike type 1 diabetes, the risk of type 2 diabetes reduces when aligned with a healthy weight. But with obesity on the rise, it is understandable how type 2 diabetes is, and projected to be, so common and prevalent. Whether looking to prevent or treat diabetes, how can nutritious foods and fruits fit into a diabetes game plan?
Fruits and Diabetes
Does an apple a day keep diabetes away? Published Harvard research from 2013 suggests two servings of fruit each week can do so - specifically blueberries, grapes, and apples. The catch? Fruits should be consumed in their whole form, as fruit juices can actually increase the risk of diabetes. But ultimately, the total game plan reduces the risk of diabetes. A well-balanced diet is critical to all levels of health - generally filled whole grains, nutritious fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Additionally, consistent aerobic exercise and strength training each week further aids in weight loss and whole-body health.
Can Diabetics Eat Fruits?
If diagnosed with diabetes, fruit lovers can rejoice! Yes, diabetics can eat fruits! Individuals generally have a misrepresentation in their head regarding a diabetic-friendly diet, particularly when it comes to fruit and diabetes. Although fruit is a rich carbohydrate source, its intake offers more than natural sugar - they are mostly loaded with fiber and an abundance of nutrients. The combination of fiber and low-in-calorie makes fruit an excellent facilitator to weight loss, thus promoting tighter blood sugar control aligning with a healthy weight.
When it comes to the best fruits for diabetics, it generally comes down to sticking to serving sizes and accompanying foods. Recommended serving sizes vary depending on the type of fruit. However, a general guideline includes one small-sized fruit or a half-cup of fresh or frozen fruits - commonly providing 15 grams of carbohydrate and known as one carbohydrate exchange. If possible, choose whole fruits over fruit juices to increase bulk and fiber content. Additionally, pairing fruit with a protein or fat source can reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes. Needing a little inspiration? We have you covered!
Blueberries and Greek Yogurt
Blueberries are one of the most powerful fruits, loaded with antioxidants. The naturally-sweetened berries paired with a plain Greek yogurt is an excellent breakfast or snack to sustain satiety. Add chia seeds or flaxseeds for added crunch and nutrients!
Bananas and Peanut Butter
Smear one tablespoon of peanut butter into a banana and sprinkle with cinnamon for a guilt-free treat! But when choosing any sort of nut or seed butter - almond, cashew, sunflower, etc. - divvy away from added sugars and oils.
Peaches and Cottage Cheese
One cup of cottage cheese offers approximately 28 grams of protein and provides 13 percent of daily calcium needs! Pair with fresh peaches or pineapple. Stray away from canned peaches or pineapple filled with added syrups.
Apples and Turkey
Though the grouping may seem unconventional, apple and turkey pair quite nicely. The fiber of the apple and protein from the turkey makes the combination an exceptionally valuable snack. Swap out apples with fiber-rich pears for an additional snack alternative.
Grapes and Cheese
This duo combines elegance with snacking. Take a snack break and enjoy fresh grapes and sliced or cubed cheese. The fat content of cheese can help stabilize blood sugar levels when grapes are consumed.
Carbohydrate Counting. American Diabetes Association. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/carbohydrate-counting.html.
Muraki I, Imamura F, Manson JE, et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2013; 347:f5001. Available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001.