Top 5 Best Fruits Choices for Diabetes-Friendly Diets

Low in Calories and Carbohydrates

Raspberries and blackberries in a colander on a slate background with raspberry leaves
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Fruit can be included in a diabetes friendly diet. It is full of good nutrition — vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It tastes good too - it's refreshing, filling and beautiful to look at. The keys 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.

 

These Fruit Choices Fit Into Any Diabetes-Friendly Diet

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, low-carb diets, among many other types. 

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 Best Fruits for Diabetes

Raspberries: With merely 15 g of carbohydrate (1 fruit choice) in one cup serving, raspberries offer the highest amount of fiber than any other 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 health protective anthocyanins. Research suggests that anthocyanins may fend off certain chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Blackberries: They contain about 15 of carbohydrate in a 3/4 cup serving. Considered a super food, 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. Blackberries belong to a group of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which have been revered for their potential ability to protect cells from free radical damage. Their deep purple hue increases their antioxidant power.

Cranberries: There are 15 g of carbohydrate in 1 cup of fresh cranberries. 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 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 1 cup of orange juice. They also contain folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects, heart disease, and cancer. In addition, strawberries are rich in potassium (which can help to lower blood pressure) and are packed with antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, and quercetin. 

Blueberries: There are 15 g of carbohydrate 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. Blueberries also contain resveratrol, a compound that has been associated with treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenative diseases. 

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. Because berries can be red, blue, or purple, we get a variety of healthy nutrients from them. 

Berries are easy 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

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. 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 vitamin, mineral, 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. 

Resources: 

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.

Linus Pauling Institute. Resveratrol. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/resveratrol#reference23

Retelny, Victoria. The colorful truth about anthocyanins complex compounds with many potential complex powers. Food and Nutrition. 2016;16-17.

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