Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, also called blood sugar. Blood glucose, which is sugar concentration, is our main source of energy and comes from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into our cells to be used for energy. Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes diabetes. The glycemic index (GI) tells us how quickly foods containing carbohydrates affect our blood sugar level when eaten
- Low GI foods: 55 or below
- Moderate GI foods: 56 to 69
- High GI foods: 70 and above
Fruits With Low Glycemic Index
The lower the GI score, the more slowly the rise in blood sugar, which can help the body manage post-meal changes better. Most whole fruits have low to moderate GI levels. Many fruits are also packed with antioxidants, micronutrients and fiber as well. Here are a few low GI fruits which diabetics can have without worrying about the sudden rise in blood sugar levels post consumption:
- Cherries: are high in potassium and packed with antioxidants, which will give your immune system a boost. Because cherries are not available fresh all round the year, they can be processed before storing them for a long time. Cherries contain anthocyanins that give the cherries its colour, also boost cells insulin production by 50%.
- Pears: are a good source of fiber and provide 20% of our daily recommended fiber intake. Pears can be enjoyed as fresh fruit or gently baked. More interesting is they can also be included in salads for a good twist.
- Oranges: are good sources of vitamin C, folate and potassium. There is also plenty of healthy fiber in an orange which takes longest to break down and digest. This enables slow release of sugar into the bloodstream, which would further ensure that your blood glucose levels are stable for a long period of time
- Berries: Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, they help in improving immunity, fight against certain types of cancer and improve metabolism, promoting weight loss. Strawberries give you more vitamin C than an orange when taken in the same quantity. They also have a low glycemic index, hence, it is slowly released in the bloodstream as glucose.
- Grapefruits: are citrus-based fruits with a glycemic index of 25. They are packed with a range of vitamins and minerals. They have a bitter to sour taste and can be taken as whole fruit or made into juice. Grape fruit is a very good source of vitamin A and C. It helps improve immunity and helps maintain healthy functioning of the heart and is good for digestion.
- Guava: is a very healthy food choice for diabetics, as it can easily be included in snacks without the fear of sudden raise in blood sugar levels. It is a very good source of fiber which helps relieve constipation, which is a common complaint of many diabetics. Having this fruit regularly can easily lower the chance of developing Type II Diabetes.
- Watermelon: is a good source of Potassium. Foods high in potassium improves functioning of vital organs like the heart and kidney. People with diabetes easily observe that their uric acid levels are higher. This can be prevented by including watermelon in their diet which improves kidney functioning and reduces uric acid levels and further damage of the kidneys. Water melons are also a good source of lycopene which prevents nerve damage which is a common complaint of people with diabetes.
- Papaya: is a great fruit choice for diabetics as it is available round the year and can be incorporated in the diet very easily. Papayas have a host of nutrients and antioxidants, which when consumed, reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, lowers BP and also aids good digestion. Papaya is also a good source of fiber and helps lower blood glucose levels and manage diabetes.
- Grapes: are a good choice of fruit for diabetes as it helps reduce blood sugar levels easily. They come in many colours and varieties, You can have them easily between meals as snacks and can be included in many dishes for its tangy taste. Grapes are a rich source of a phytochemical called Resveratrol which keeps a check on how the body secretes and uses insulin in response to blood glucose levels.
- Avocado: Adding a serving of avocado to your diet may help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, and increase insulin sensitivity. Avocados are low in carbohydrates, which mean they have little effect on blood sugar levels. One half of a small avocado contains about 5.9 grams of carbohydrate and 4.6 grams of fiber. They are also packed with healthy fats which give you a feeling of fullness for a longer time, thereby supporting weight loss and increasing insulin sensitivity.
- Kiwi: Many researchers have proved that including kiwi in your diet helps lower blood sugar levels. Kiwis are loaded with vitamin A, C, E and fiber which makes it a good choice of fruits for diabetics. Kiwi also helps relieve insomnia which many people with diabetes complain due to long term diabetes and anxiety.
- Black Jamun: This fruit has a bitter taste and is one of the best fruits for people suffering from diabetes. It not only controls your blood sugar level but also enhances the insulin activity and sensitivity. This fruit can be included in the form of juice or powder as well, which is equally beneficial in managing blood sugar levels.
No matter which fruit one includes, portion control is important. While it can vary depending on the size and type of the fruit, in general, one portion of fruit which is one piece of whole fruit or 1/2 cup of sliced fruit contains around 15 grams of carbohydrates, which is considered as one carbohydrate serving.
We hope this article on Low Glycemic Index Fruits for Diabetics helps you! Do leave your thoughts in the comments below. For more on Diabetes, check out our other articles on Healthy Reads or tune in to LIVE sessions by qualified experts on GOQii Play.