Unlike popular belief, the natural sugar from fruits certainly earn their place in a well-balanced diet. What's more, those managing blood sugars can also relish on fruit.
Some sweet fruits present with a low glycemic score, suggesting valuable use for blood sugar management. Besides, most fruits are rich in fiber and other plant compounds valuable to health.
So rather than being discouraged from the natural sugar, enjoy these 12 low-glycemic fruits for diabetics and those simply moderating sugar content.
Glycemic Index for Fruits
The glycemic index (GI) is essentially a carbohydrate meter, measuring how carb-containing foods affects blood sugars (or blood glucose).
The scale is valuable for diabetics, offering framework and guidance for food selections, including fruits. The glycemic index breaks down into three divided categories:
Low GI: Less than 55
Medium GI: 56 to 69
High GI: More than 70
Higher GI foods (think products made with refined sugars and flours), are shown to digest rapidly and spike blood glucose. Foods with a higher glycemic index also tend to be devoid of high nutritional value, as they are often stripped down from the fiber, mineral, and vitamin content.
On the other hand, the lower the glycemic index, the lower the risk of high blood sugars thanks to their relative slower digestive speed. Lower glycemic foods tend to supply more nutrients while likewise keeping hunger at ease, including these low-glycemic fruits packed with fiber and nutrients.
Best Fruits for Diabetes - 12 Fruits Low-Glycemic Fruits
Cherry Glycemic Index: 20
While offering a juicy sweetness, cherries bares one of the lowest GI scores of the fruits.
But their GI score is not reflective of a low nutritional profile, as cherries have been shown to alleviate joint pain, fight against cancer, regulate blood pressure, improve sleep, and optimize physical performance.
Blueberry Glycemic Index: 25
Blueberries might be low on the glycemic index, but are they high in nutritional value.
A cup of blueberries offers 32 percent of daily needs, along with 25 percent of manganese, 24 percent of vitamin C, and nine percent of copper.
The berries are also rich suppliers of antioxidants, compounds that fight against free radicals and may protect against a number of chronic diseases, as oxidative stress is thought to play a role in cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and age-related macular degeneration.
Grapefruit Glycemic Index: 25
The citrus fruit boasts in antioxidants, largely in the form of phytochemicals. The powerful antioxidants paired with grapefruit's potassium and fiber content can help maintain a healthy heart.
As a word of caution: Grapefruit is a familiar food and drug interaction, so check with your doctor about eating the fruit if taking prescription medications.
Prune Glycemic Index: 29
Also known as a "natural laxative," the high fiber content of dried prunes makes them well-known and sought out for their role in relieving and reducing the risk of constipation. Prunes are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, folate, iron, zinc, and other nutrients beneficial to health.
Furthermore, daily consumption of prunes shows promise for weight loss according to research conducted by the University of Liverpool. Eating prunes also led to greater feelings of fullness.
Apricots Glycemic Index: 34
These vibrant tree fruits provide 2,200 mg of potassium per one cup of fresh apricots. valuable sources of fiber and vitamins A and C shown to benefit eye, heart, skin, and digestive health.
Pro tip: If consuming dried apricots, reduce the serving size to a quarter or half cup related to their shrinkage.
Apple Glycemic Index: 36
An apple a day may keep blood sugars at bay! Apples also display a low-GI score while offering significant amounts of fiber. Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber forms, apples can promote digestive and heart health.
When it comes to applesauce, the glycemic index is only marginally increased at 38. However, the benefit of getting additional fiber is compromised.
Pear Glycemic Index: 38
The soft skin and flesh of pears are shown to be one of the highest fiber fruits, along with apples. Its skin also contains a powerful antioxidant known as quercetin, shown to reduce high blood pressure levels.
Pears also offer an extensive amount of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.
Strawberry Glycemic Index: 41
The low-glycemic index of strawberries suggests the natural, desirable sweetness of strawberries can truly be enjoyed without much worry.
Besides, they are chockfull of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and antioxidants much like blueberries.
Date Glycemic Index: 41
Despite being considered one of the sweetest fruits, dates linger low on the GI scale.
Dates are rich in fiber and valuable sources of potassium, copper, manganese, manganese, magnesium, and vitamins A, K, and B6.
Peach Glycemic Index: 43
This fuzzy navel offers succulence and juiciness while still remaining to be a low-GI fruit.
Consuming the delectable peach offers valuable nutrients and antioxidants, including vitamins A and C.
Orange Glycemic Index: 45
This citrus fruit is notorious for its high vitamin C content, boosting the immune system and fighting against the common cold. But albeit its high nutrient content, oranges are considered to be a low-GI fruit.
Kiwi Glycemic Index: 47
The kiwifruit is fairly low in the GI scale while being high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
In addition to complementing a diabetic diet plan, a study published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests consuming kiwifruit may improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances.
Worst Fruits for Diabetics
When it comes to the concern of fruit and diabetes management, there are fruits that bare a moderate to high glycemic index in their raw form. Their GI can also increase as the fruit ripens.
Some of the worst fruits for diabetics, particularly when consumed in large amounts, include the following:
• Pineapples: GI of 59
• Raisins: GI of 64
• Cantaloupes: GI of 65
• Watermelon: GI of 76
Fruit Sugar and Diabetes
When selecting fruit, the glycemic index can be a useful tool. However, and while consuming low-glycemic fruits is beneficial, so can incorporating other varieties that offer a vibrant nutritional value.
Just because cantaloupe's glycemic index score is 65, does not mean you can never enjoy a slice of cantaloupe. And while a ripened banana may offer comparable carbs to a chocolate chip cookie, the nutritional gain from a banana is an obvious choice.
Ensure the integrity of low-glucose fruits by going for more fresh pieces. Some canned and packaged fruits, including peaches, come with added sugars and syrups. Choosing a whole piece of fruit is also encouraged over a fruit juice stripped from its fiber.
Truly, the significance points to balancing the diet with low-glycemic foods for diabetics and nourishing sources, including whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources. It is also important to pay attention to serving and portion sizes.