Contributed by: Rachana Arya
As Indians, we have a strong inclination for “kuch meetha ho jaye,” after our meals. But given that India has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world; can we learn to withhold our decades-long affair with Haldiram, Bikanerwala, and Agarwal Sweets?
Currently, India is home to 8.7% diabetics between the age group of 20-70 years, which is nearly 72.9 million people! But irrespective of this mind-boggling fact, an average Indian consumes at least 15 teaspoons of sugar in the form of packaged fruit juices, milkshakes, sugar-dunked delicacies, and snacks. What this essentially means is that the sugar intake of Indians is 3-4 times the daily recommended quantity.
Satiate Sweet Cravings with Fresh Fruits
That’s right! For people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth without resorting to pancakes and waffles and other foods with low nutritional value. If you have a sweet tooth but currently suffer from diabetes, you must include fruits in your diet as a curative and preventive measure.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Fruits?
The answer is a clear yes! Contrary to popular beliefs, fruits and diabetes can go hand-in-hand, as long as the consumption is in moderation. In fact, research has linked daily consumption of fresh fruits to improved health for diabetics. Moreover, consuming fruit during teenage may even cut the chances of developing type 2 diabetes at a later age.
Most whole, fresh fruits are packed with numerous nutritional benefits like essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, as well as antioxidants, making fruits a nutrient-dense food group that can certainly be part of a healthy diabetes treatment plan.
Role of Fruits in Controlling Diabetes
Several studies have demonstrated that diabetics gain the benefit of lower blood sugar levels by consuming fruits. The advantages of fruits can partly be attributed to higher fiber intake which is a magic nutrient for diabetics. Additionally, they help you manage your unhealthy cravings of sugar and salt, thanks to the existing natural sugars.
The Best Fruits for Diabetics
There are no “good” or “bad” fruits, but if you are diabetic you can safely set your sights on these five fresh fruits to support healthy glucose regulation as well as satiate your sugar cravings. All of them have a glycemic index (a scale that rates how quickly your body converts the carbohydrates into glucose), of 55 or below. However, it is suggested that you consult your dietician or nutritionist about the serving size.
Apples (GI: 36)
Low on calories and rich in fiber, this fruit indeed deserves a place in your diet! Apples are extremely safe for those suffering from diabetes. Besides being an easy snack on the go, apples when eaten a complete fruit — both skin and flesh, have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
For most people with diabetes, this fruit is a healthy choice. As they have a low glycemic index, bananas do not contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. However, its benefits go beyond that! This fruit is packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can add nutritional benefit for diabetics, if not eaten in excessive portions. Remember to consume unripe or ripe bananas, not the over-ripe ones.
Pears (GI: 38)
Because pears are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they are a great fruit to eat if you have diabetes. Pears can help regulate blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They can even aid digestion. And, as a bonus, these super-delicious fruits are a yummy treat for diabetics and others as well.
Prunes (pitted) – (GI: 29)
Prunes are one of the lowest-GI fruits. Beyond the benefits to your digestive tract, prunes are rich in antioxidants. Plus, they have some good-for-you elements like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. What’s more, you can enjoy prunes as a sweet snack! So, reach out for prunes whenever you crave for sugar!
Strawberries (GI: 25)
Despite their sweet taste, strawberries are actually very low on the GI index, which means that this fruit is the best for satiating your sweet tooth! As well as offering several health benefits for diabetics, strawberries have an excellent nutritional profile. They give you an ultimate package of vitamin C, folic acid, manganese, and many antioxidants and provide valuable health benefits for diabetics. Thanks to having the fewest carbohydrate density among all types of berries, you can safely enjoy a 1¼-cup sweet serving of strawberries with a sweet hit for only 30 calories!
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