Top 5 Best Fruits for Diabetes-Friendly Diets

Raspberries and blackberries in a colander on a slate background with raspberry leaves
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Fruits do not have to be omitted from a diabetes diet. Fruits are full of good nutrition. But you do need to pay attention to portion sizes because they can contain high amounts of carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar levels.

These Fruit Choices Fit Into Any Diabetes-Friendly Diet

The fruits listed here are my favorite top 5 best fruits for diabetes because the portion size is generous and the carbohydrates are relatively low.

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.

There are exchange lists, low-glycemic diets, low-carb diets, and diets that omit any food that over a certain amount of carbs per serving.

Assuming most people asking this question are asking which fruits have the lowest carbs and offer the best health benefits for diabetes, then I have listed my top five favorites below that would fit into just about any diet.

There is no mistake that every food on the list is a berry. Each berry deserves a spotlight, and I want to drive home how good they are for people with diabetes and other degenerative diseases.

Top 5 Best Fruits for Diabetes

Raspberries: There are 15 g of carb in 1 cup. Of all the berries on this list, raspberries offer the most fiber, and black raspberries are the highest on the list for cancer prevention.

Blackberries: There are 15 g of carb in 3/4 cup. Blackberries are full of antioxidants that studies have shown may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They may also help prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Cranberries: There are 15 g of carb in 1 cup. Cranberries are known for possibly helping with urinary tract infections and may also offer protection from heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Studies have shown that cranberries may help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and raise HDL or good cholesterol levels.

Strawberries: There are 15 g of carb 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 1 cup of orange juice. They also contain folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects, heart disease, and cancer.

Blueberries: There are 15 g of carb in 3/4 cup. Blueberries have the most antioxidants that fight free radicals. They are also sometimes called "brain food" and may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Blueberries contain flavonoids that benefit your immune system, lower inflammation, and may help decrease LDL or bad cholesterol.

Berry Benefits

Berries are a diabetes super food. They are low on the glycemic index and are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.

Antioxidants in berries protect from free-radical damage. Free radicals are naturally produced by our body as we use oxygen.

Free radicals cause damage and aging to our bodies. Some diseases caused by this damage are diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and macular degeneration. Consuming antioxidants causes free-radicals to become less reactive and damaging.

Berries have great color. A variety of bright colors are good for you because it ensures you are getting a variety of nutrients. We are often told to eat a "rainbow of colors." I personally have trouble getting blue/purple into my diet, and berries do the trick. While you probably get plenty of red in your diet from tomatoes and apples, berries contain a different type of antioxidant and offer even more variety.

Berries are easy and can be used as a nutritious and fibrous sweetener. Sprinkle them on cereal or oatmeal or just pop them into your mouth.

Minimizing the Cost of Fresh Berries

One drawback to including berries in your diabetes-friendly diet is their cost. 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.

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. Although the carb count per piece is still the same, a cup of dried blueberries will contain more carbohydrates than fresh simply because it takes more dried blueberries to fill the cup.

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