People with diabetes have a hard time finding fruit that will keep their insulin levels at low. One of the big challenges is finding fruits that are healthy for patients with diabetes. Studies have shown that low glycemic fruits can help in two ways.
First and foremost, they prevent diabetes, and they also help with control and treatment of the condition. With that in mind, which are the low glycemic fruits that patients with diabetes can enjoy guilt-free?
What is low glycemic index?
First and foremost, we must explain what glycemic index is . The term refers to “incremental area under the blood glucose curve after the consumption of 50 grams digestible carbohydrate from a test food derived by the blood glucose curve after eating a similar amount of a control food, generally from glucose or white bread.
The complex explanation is actually a way to tell the ability of a certain food to raise blood sugar levels two hours after consumption of carbohydrate rich food.
The glycemic index helps us understand how quickly foods containing carbs affect the blood sugar levels . According to the American diabetes association, there are three categories of glycemic index.
Low glycemic index is when the GI is 55 or below, from 56 to 69 is considered moderate, and anything above 70 is considered high and risky. Low glycemic index means that the carbs in the food you consume are absorbed slowly, and it is helpful for the body to manage changes after a meal.
Foods with high glycemic index raise the blood sugar levels very quickly, almost instantly. Years of research have helped doctors to identify glycemic index as a reliable classification of food items.
How glycemic index affects diabetes patients?
Patients with diabetes type 1 do not produce insulin, or they are unable to use. Patients with diabetes type 2 have a lack of insulin. They also cannot use it properly. In both types of diabetes, a carbs rich diet will be harmful for glycemic control.
A diet rich in low glycemic fruits and other low glycemic foods will help prevent and manage diabetes . Low glycemic foods include starchy vegetables, cereals, legumes, but mostly, fruits.
With that in mind, the lower the score of the glycemic index, the more slowly the blood sugar levels rise, and the body has time to manage post-meal changes .
Here are the low glycemic fruits that are safe for patients with diabetes.
Cherries (GI 20)
Small, round, deep red stone fruits, these beauties are in season around June and July. But you can find frozen cherries all year around. The size and flavor can vary depending on the variety. However, they usually fall into two categories, sweet or tart (sour).
In terms of low glycemic fruits for diabetes, you need those tart cherries. In addition to helping with diabetes, cherries also pack a healthy dose of potassium and antioxidants. Great for the immune system, the only downside is cherries are rarely found fresh.
Grapefruit (GI 25)
For people trying to lose weight, grapefruit is one of the best things on the table. Grapefruit is extremely low in sugar, and rich in fiber and other healthy nutrients.
Just one grapefruit delivers 100% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. The only thing to watch for is your health condition.
Grapefruit is not harmful in any way, but it can affect how some prescription drugs work. Therefore, you should consult with your physician, just to be sure.
Pears (GI 25)
Pears have been savored for their delicious flavor since ancient times. But they are not only delicious, they are also great addition to the low glycemic fruits list. While they do not pack a lot of vitamin C, pears deliver a healthy dose of fiber and potassium.
Pears help with weight loss, digestion, heart health, reduce blood pressure, and regulate the body’s fluid levels. Dried pears also have a relatively low GI of 43, meaning you do not always have to look for fresh pears.
Prunes (GI 29)
Another way to describe prunes is dried plums. They are a great way to add some extra flavor and nutrients to your daily menu. Rich in dietary fiber and vitamin K, prunes carry a lot of health benefits, not only for diabetes patients.
You should, however, be careful not to overeat them. Because they are essentially dried fruits, prunes contain a high amount of carbs. You can also use fresh plums, which have GI of 39.
Peaches (GI 30)
The good news is you can consume fresh peaches, dried peaches, and peaches canned in natural juice. All of them have a relatively low glycemic index around 30.
Peaches contain a lot of vitamins, but in small doses. This tree native to Northwest China has found its way in the Western cuisine, and we are thankful for that.
Oranges (GI 33)
Most citrus fruits are great as low glycemic fruits. Oranges, even though they are sweeter than grapefruit and lemons, carry a GI of just 33.
They are also a great source of vitamin C. There are different variations of the orange, including blood orange and navel orange, but all of them are safe for patients with diabetes.
Apples (GI 39)
One of the best healthy snacks, an apple packs a lot of dietary fiber, and small to moderate amounts of vitamins and minerals. We have always praised the apple as a healthy fruit. Therefore, it is an absolute must on the list of low glycemic fruits.
Apricots (GI 34)
Fun fact: apricots are a rare fruit that has lower GI when dried. Fresh apricots have a glycemic index of 34, while dried apricots carry a GI between 30 and 32.
The downside is that fresh apricots have a lot more vitamins, namely A and C. And fresh apricots pack just 48 calories, which is great for people trying to lose weight and manage their diabetes.
Dates (GI 31-50)
This exotic fruit deserves more recognition. It is one of the healthiest fruits out there, and is great source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Not many fruits can deliver that amount of minerals and vitamins.
There are variations in the glycemic index, mostly because dates are packed. Depending on the package, the glycemic index can go as low as 31, and as high as 50.
Nectarines (GI 43)
We had peaches, and now we have nectarines. Considered by many a mutant of the peach, a nectarine is a great source of magnesium and potassium. And the best part is, one cup of nectarines contains just 36 calories.
Strawberries (GI 40)
When you look at berries, strawberries win in terms of low glycemic fruits. While blueberries contain the most antioxidants, strawberries are the best fruit for diabetes patients.
They also contain a high amount of vitamin C and a healthy dose of manganese. Rich in fiber, strawberries are great for regulating digestion and aiding in weight loss.
Grapes (GI 53)
Grapes are close to the limit of low glycemic fruits, but they are still good. Similar as other fruits that we consume with their skin on, grapes pack a lot of healthy fiber. They are a good source of other vitamins as well, namely B6.