Eating Fruit for Diabetics

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by: Malgorzata Wojtunik

“Five a day keeps the doctor away.” You’ve heard it a million times, but when it comes to diabetics, not all types of fruit are good to eat. High sugar content in some fruits (i.e. watermelon, pineapple) affect blood glucose levels.

This doesn’t mean you have to exclude all fruits from your diet. According to the latest study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, eating two cups of blueberries a day lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Blueberries are rich with polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. These organic chemicals significantly improve the insulin resistance and help maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Actually, all berries are great to include in a diet for diabetics. Each kind of berry has additional properties that can either prevent or help fight diabetes.

Strawberries for example, consumed after a high-carb meal will help stabilize blood sugar level.  After eating potatoes, pasta or rice, glucose level rises dramatically because of large number of carbohydrates that they contain.  The Scottish studies have shown that strawberries can reduce your blood sugar level after eating a starch-rich meal.  Ellagitannins and anthocyanins, contained in the strawberries cause starch degradation and help to control type 2 diabetes.

Raspberries are the leader when it comes to fiber content, and when it comes to fighting diabetes, fiber is an important element, especially if you want to lose weight. It helps you feel satisfied longer and also weakens the absorption of sugar.

Looking for a more exotic diet solution? Try Indian gooseberry. This fruit, known as jamun, is a commonly used treatment for type 2 diabetes in India. Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences in Delhi proved that 1 to 2 grams of Indian gooseberry a day controls glucose even when the starting blood sugar levels are quite high.

Still feel like dessert? You can always prepare sugar-free apple pie, but cook it with the skin on. Polyphenols, which are beneficial when treating diabetes, are most prevalent in apple skins. They make your body produce more insulin and regulate blood sugar.

And don’t forget to add a pinch of cinnamon.  The spice contains B1, proven to have an insulin-like activity. One Swedish study showed that intake of 6g cinnamon reduces the post-meal blood glucose increase.

The list of fruits that are beneficial for diabetes, as well as those which they should avoid, is based on a low-glycemic diet. Many research studies, like one by the University of Toronto, proves that eating products with low glycemic index (GI) improves glucose control and help regulate blood sugar level. The lower GI, the slower glucose is being released, which means your blood sugar is more likely to be stable.

Fruits with high GI include also mango, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupes, kiwi or pineapples. So what should you do if you are diabetic and trying to keep your blood sugar levels stable? The best solution is to trust your taste buds – the sweeter the fruit – the more influence it has on your glucose highs and lows.

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