Fruit Ninja for Diabetes – 10 Best Fruits to Lower Blood Sugar

Think Spring or Summer and your days are filled with a riot of color and flavor! It’s time to indulge in our favorite colorful fruity treats! Fruits are a wonderful nutritious addition to any diet, especially to lower blood sugar on a diabetes friendly one.

The key to this magic is the low glycemic load (GL) of fruit servings. GL ranks foods based on a combination of their effect on blood glucose or sugar level and the food serving carbohydrate content. A GL of 1 to 10 is low, 11 to 19 is moderate and greater than 20 is high. You’ll often hear about another related term – glycemic index (GI), which is an indicator of how fast blood sugar rises after food consumption. A GI of 1 to 55 is low, 56 to 69 is medium and greater than 70 is high. GL is a better measure of making smarter choices of including particular foods in your diet, because it factors in carbohydrate content in its calculation. Simply expressed, GL = [(GI)/100] x carbohydrate content in grams.

Here’s a look at the top 10 low GL fruits that both serve as delicious treats and ninja to help lower blood sugar and maintain healthy sugar levels:

Berries for antioxidants, Fiber and Vitamin C

Berries help lower blood sugarStart your day with a colorful cup of berries! Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries are all packed in antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C. They also include Vitamins B6, E and K, potassium, manganese, magnesium, folate and biotin. A cup of blueberries at 85 calories, 20 g of carbohydrates, low GI of 40 and rock bottom GL of 3 are a must-have on absolutely any diet. Especially so on a diabetes management one to lower blood sugar. It’s perfect for breakfast, dessert or a mid-day or late night snack. You can add them in oatmeal or cereal, spin them in low-fat plain yogurt, or just pop them into your mouth!

Avocado for antioxidants, Folate and Potassium

AvocadoAn excellent source of folate, Vitamin E, C, B6, potassium makes this green fruit a nutrient packed punch to lower blood sugar. It also lowers cholesterol, supports healthy pregnancy, reduces risk of cancer and boosts the immune system. Avocados fats are healthy mono unsaturated fats that do not spike blood sugar levels. Its low carbohydrate content makes it into a low GL food. A half cup of sliced avocados (around 3 ounces) at 160 calories and 8 g of carbohydrates provides a wholesome little snack between meals. Enjoy it as a tasty dip with tomatoes and onions, add them to egg whites and light bread or toss them into a salad.

Orange for Vitamin C and antioxidants

orangesA single orange satisfies around 130 per cent of our daily vitamin C intake needs. Oranges are also packed in antioxidants, Vitamin A and potassium. Not only do they lower blood sugar, they are also great for your eyes, skin, prevent heart disease and cancer. Oranges also boost immunity which is essential in a diabetes friendly diet following reduced carbohydrate or fat portions. One medium orange at 62 calories has around 15 g of carbohydrates and 12 g of sugar. This serving size packs a low GI of 48 and GL of 7.2. Oranges make for a wonderful sweet alternative for a diabetes friendly diet, thanks to its low GL. Start your day with an orange, berries and egg whites at breakfast, or enjoy them in a salad or dessert!

Apple for Fiber and Vitamin C

Apples help lower blood sugarWe all grew up to this saying “An Apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Super rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber, apples also have Vitamin K, B6, Potassium, Manganese, Calcium and Iron. Packed with a soluble fiber called pectin, Apples work well to improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels and to regulate and lower blood sugar. A medium 138 g apple with a low GI of 39 and low GL of 6.2 makes for a great 100 calorie snack choice for a diabetes management plan. Chop and toss them into a salad, or grab a bite to go. Our heart healthy friend will give you all the love you need.

Mango for Vitamin C, A, B6 and Folate

MangoesWelcome each day the mangolicious way! Its health benefits outweigh its good taste. A serving of fresh diced mango of 120 g at 100 calories packs a nutritious punch of more than 20 different vitamins and minerals. This includes 25 grams of carbohydrate, vitamins C, A, folate, B-6, K and potassium. With a GI of 51 and GL of 8, it makes for a great addition to a diabetes diet plan. Curb those sweet cravings at any time day/night. Along with helping lower blood sugar, mangoes also protect us from certain forms of cancer such as lung, mouth, breast and colon. Please note, serving size is important to consider while enjoying this low GL treat.

Pear for Potassium, Vitamin C and Fiber

PearsP for Pear? Think P for Potassium! A Pear is an excellent choice for myriad number of other health benefits including vitamins such as C, E, K and folate. It is packed with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and yes – Potassium. Pears are also rich in pectin, the soluble fiber that helps improve digestion and lower blood sugar. A medium 140 g serving of pear packs in 80 calories, 21 g of carbohydrates which results in a low GI of 33 and GL of 6.9.  It could be paired with low-fat sugar-free yogurt or cream, sliced and diced into a salad, or be a wonderful mid-day or late evening snack all by itself!

Watermelon for Vitamin A, C and antioxidants

WatermelonWatermelon for a diabetes diet? This red juicy delight has a very high GI (72), but a low GL (8.6) based on serving size. It’s because Watermelon is low in carbohydrates, a cup of 150 g of diced watermelon amounts to a 60 calorie snack with 12 g of carbohydrates. GL is calculated as follows – (72/100) x 12 = 8.6. Watermelon is a great example of how GL outweighs GI for a diabetes healthy diet. More than 90% of it is just water, which keeps you hydrated. It is packed in vitamin C, A, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and amino acids. Watermelon helps lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. Additionally, it reduces inflammation, improves digestion and is great for skin and hair. Let this red juicy heaven simply melt away the heat, or whip it into a delicious smoothie with kiwis, or enjoy them as is.

Peaches for Vitamin A and Potassium

Peaches“I’m just peachy” – sunny health ingrained in its name, Juicy peaches are here to stay in our good health journey. A serving of about three-quarters of a cup of fresh sliced peaches (150 g), has a low GI of 28 and low GL of 4.2. It is a great source of Vitamin A, Potassium, Vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Its richness in Vitamin C encourages iron absorption to address anemia. Similarly, potassium encourages calcium absorption to strengthen our bones. Blend it with not fat yogurt, toss it into a fruit bowl with our other fruity friends, swirl it into a salad with greens, almonds and feta. You just can’t go wrong with our peachy delight!

Cherries for Vitamin A and C

cherries lower blood sugar“Cherry on Top” is like the icing on cake for a diabetes friendly diet. This bright red circle of life is more than just an innocent dessert topping, and has a low GI of 22. A serving of 120 g of cherries at 87 calories, brings in a good dose of Vitamin C, fiber and potassium and clocks in a low GL of 4. Cherries lower blood sugar, reduce risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and muscle soreness and help maintain a healthy weight. Cherries are a great addition to salads, non-fat or low-fat yogurt and fruit medleys!

Cantaloupe for Vitamins A, B, C and Potassium

cantaloupe lower blood sugarCantaloupes are so refreshing in those intense summer days! We stay hydrated thanks to its high water content. This amazing fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients super rich in Vitamin A, B6, and potassium. A serving of diced cantaloupe of 150 g amounts to a low GL of 7.8. This fruit is an absolute must-have on any healthy diet, despite its moderate GI of 69. A smaller serving size will allow you to enjoy this refreshing addition in your diabetes friendly diet. It not only helps lower blood sugar, but also reduces risk of developing asthma, blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Dice some cantaloupe today into your very berry salad or revel in their sweetness as is!

We will be covering more about GI and GL on a range of foods including fruits in an upcoming post. Until then, you can refer to this article to learn more about the co-relation of GI, GL and serving sizes for various foods. And as always, it is prudent to consult a registered dietitian for fruit serving sizes for your specific diabetes diet plan. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also echoes our recommendation of including fruits for a diabetes friendly diet.

Take away these luscious fruits and make them part of your diet today! These nutritious low GL foods not only lower blood sugar, but also promote a myriad range of health benefits. Keep an eye on those portions and enjoy these slices of heaven!

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