Best Fruits for Diabetics
Fruit and vegetables are an important component of any diet. However diabetics need to be especially careful of not only which fruit to eat but how the fruit should be eaten. Current recommendations for diabetic diets include a 33% proportion of fruit and vegetables of which half may be derived from fruit. Seasonal fruits are often better quality and easiest to find. Fresh fruits are definitely preferable to any form of preserved fruit for controlling blood sugar, with the possible exception of fruit canned in natural unsweetened juice.
Which fruits are best?
In summer the best fruits for diabetics are stone fruit and berries, then apples, pears and berries in autumn, citrus (especially grapefruit), pomegranate and cranberries in winter, and rhubarb in spring. Fruit high in carbohydrates or low in fibre should be avoided as much as possible. These include grapes, mangoes, watermelon, pineapple and bananas. However unripe bananas such as those consumed as a vegetable in Asian cuisine are beneficial for controlling blood sugar in diabetics. The Indian fruit Jambul are reported to possess properties important for lowering and controlling blood sugar levels.
Fruits lowest in carbohydrates and highest in fibre are the most obvious choice. Other factors are equally as important as fruit type in controlling blood sugar. How much to eat, in what form, at what time of the day, and in combination with which other foods are perhaps the most relevant considerations for a diabetic.
How much fruit should you eat?
As a diabetic you should be under the management of a dietician and follow their recommendations regarding quantities of fruit as applicable to your individual circumstances. However in general eating a large quantity of fruit at any one time is not a good idea for controlling blood sugar. Portion the fruit and have a little several times a day. This way a large spike in blood sugar levels may be avoided.
How should the fruit be eaten?
A high fibre diet is known to help regulate blood sugar so always keep the skin on the fruit to maximize the fibre content. Fruit juices and dried fruits should both be avoided due to the higher concentration of carbohydrates. Fruit juice should always be diluted in water, and of course never consume reconstituted juices or those with sugar added. Even diluted juices are a poor substitute for fresh fruit due to the absence of fibre.
Which foods should be eaten in combination with fruit?
For those occasions when you know too much fruit has been consumed there is action you can take to lessen the consequences. Food combining may overcome the effect on blood sugar levels. When eating fruit you can inhibit an excessive rise in blood sugar by teaming it with some protein or beneficial type fats. Nuts such as almonds are an ideal partner for fruit since they contain both protein and fats.
Increase your daily consumption of certain other foods with a reputation for controlling or lowering blood sugar. For example incorporating garlic and onions into meals may prevent large rises in blood sugar levels. Consume fruit as a dessert immediately following a meal provided the meal is not overloaded with carbohydrates.
When is the best time to eat fruit?
Many diabetics find that mornings and afternoons are the best times for eating fruit. However keep a regular check on your daily blood sugar levels to know the right times for you. If your morning blood sugar check reveals levels that are consistently high then the recommendation is to avoid eating fruit in the evenings. Controlling blood sugar levels may be made easier by paying attention to the recommendations of dieticians regarding the best fruits for diabetics and how and when they should be consumed.