Top 5 Fruit Choices for Diabetes-Friendly Diets

Berries for breakfast
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Fruit can be included in a diabetes-friendly diet. They are full of good nutrition—vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They taste good and are refreshing, filling, and add color to your plate. The key to eating fruit is to choose the right kinds and appropriate portion sizes. Because they can contain high amounts of carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar levels, you cannot eat unlimited amounts of fruit.

Fruit Choices for Different Diabetes-Friendly Diets

What are the best fruits for diabetes? This can be a hard question to answer since people with diabetes adhere to varied diets and philosophies when it comes to diabetes management with food. Some people use exchange lists, whereas others stick to low-glycemic diets or low-carb diets. Assuming most people want to know which fruits have the lowest carbs and offer the best health benefits for diabetes, then the following five berries deserve the spotlight. 

Top 5 Fruits for Diabetes

  1. Raspberries: With merely 15 grams of carbohydrate (1 fruit choice) in one cup serving, raspberries offer the highest amount of fiber of any berry, a whopping 8 grams. Fiber is the indigestible carbohydrate that helps to pull cholesterol away from the heart, helps you to feel full, and also slows down how quickly blood sugars rise. Raspberries' ruby-red color comes from anthocyanins. Research suggests that anthocyanins may help fend off certain chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease.
  1. Blackberries: They contain about 15 grams of carbohydrate in a 3/4 cup serving. As with raspberries, they have anthocyanins, as shown by their deep purple hue.
  2. Cranberries: There are 15 grams of carbohydrate in one cup of fresh cranberries. Studies have shown that cranberries may help lower LDL (or bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (or good cholesterol) levels. However, sugar is often added to cranberry products make cranberries less tart, so you must be sure to check for added sugar.
  1. Strawberries: There are 15 g of carbohydrate in 1 1/4 cups. Strawberries are lower in calories and have three times more vitamin C than the other berries on this list. One cup of strawberries has almost as much vitamin C as one cup of orange juice. They also contain folic acid. In addition, strawberries are rich in potassium and are packed with antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, and quercetin. ​
  2. Blueberries: There are 15 grams of carbohydrate in 3/4 cup. Blueberries are the berry with the most antioxidants and contain flavonoids and resveratrol.

Berry Benefits

Berries are low on the glycemic index and are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Berries can be red, blue, or purple, and that color is a signal that they contain healthy nutrients. Berries are easy to eat and can be used as a nutritious and fibrous sweetener. Sprinkle them on unsweetened cereal or oatmeal or just pop them into your mouth.​

How Can You Minimize the Cost of Fresh Berries

Cost is a drawback when including berries in your diabetes-friendly diet. However, when they are in season, the prices can be very low. Stock up and freeze them for later or buy frozen berries that have no sugar added. Believe it or not, frozen berries can be just as good if not better as fresh.

They are frozen at peak freshness, which means their vitamins, minerals, and flavor are at their prime. 

It might be tempting to buy the dried versions of these berries in bulk. However, dried versions have considerably more carbohydrates than fresh. Water has been removed and the piece of fruit is smaller. 

Sources: 

Basu A, Du M, Leyva MJ et al. Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and Women with Metabolic Syndrome. The Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140(9): 1582-1587.

Basu A, Lyons TJ. Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cranberries in the Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Perspectives. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2012;60(23):5687-5692. doi:10.1021/jf203488k.

Novotny JA, Baer DJ, Khoo C, Gebauer SK, Charron CS. Cranberry Juice Consumption Lowers Markers of Cardiometabolic Risk, Including Blood Pressure and Circulating C-Reactive Protein, Triglyceride, and Glucose Concentrations in AdultsJournal of Nutrition. 2015;145(6):1185-1193. doi:10.3945/jn.114.203190.

Wallace TC. Anthocyanins in Cardiovascular Disease. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal. 2011;2(1):1-7. doi:10.3945/an.110.000042.

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