The struggle of having a sweet tooth while suffering from diabetes is not uncommon. In India alone, an estimated 77 million adults have diabetes.
This number could be as high as 134 million by 2045. Even more concerning is that 57% of these cases go undetected and undiagnosed. If you have diabetes, diabetics fruits are healthy to satisfy your sugar cravings.
Fruits also provide you with essential minerals and vitamins. But, like many myths, one common one is that people with diabetes cannot have fruits. So, here are the best eleven fruits for diabetes and their GI!
Fruits And Their Glycemic Index:
Glycemic Index is an effective tool to monitor one’s blood sugar levels. It measures the spike in blood sugar after consuming a particular food group.
The GI of any edible item can range from 0 to 100, 0 being no sugar spike and 100 representing sugar spike due to pure glucose. Based on these numbers, there are three kinds of food groups:
- Low GI food – Their Glycemic Index is 55 or less.
- Medium GI food – Their Glycemic Index ranges from 56 to 69.
- High GI food – Their Glycemic Index measures more than 70.
Any person with diabetes should consume more low and medium GI food groups. However, this does not mean that high GI food groups are wrong. Or they do not have any nutritional content. It just should be had occasionally and in moderation.
Luckily, most of the fruits that we consume in our everyday lives fall in the low or medium GI range (with a few exceptions). Therefore, even a person with diabetes can enjoy a variety of fruits without affecting one’s health.
Some of the common fruits and their GI values are listed below:
- Banana – 51
- Papaya – 42
- Orange – 43
- Mango – 51
- Apple – 36
- Pineapple (Raw) – 59
- Guava – 78
- Sapota (Cheeku) – 73
The 11 Best Fruit Choices For Diabetic Patients
Every fruit comes with its unique benefit and nutrition profile. Some fruits are better for your health than others. The fruits that should be on the top of the charts for every diabetic patient are listed below!
1. Kiwi Fruit
Also known as Chinese Gooseberry, kiwi fruit is a native of China and Taiwan. Kiwi has a tangy flavour and acidic taste.
Nutritional Content of Kiwi( per 100 grams):
- Calories – 61
- Total fat – 0.5g
- Cholesterol – 0g
- Carbohydrate – 15g
- Protein – 1.1g
- Fibres – 3g
- Sugar – 9g
Benefits of Kiwi:
Kiwi fruit is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium and antioxidants.
This Fruit is effective in lowering blood pressure (due to its high potassium content), accelerated wound healing (due to its high Vit K content) and improving bowel movements (due to its high fibre content)
Kiwi fruit is also a rich source of choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. These components help in the prevention of kidney stones. In addition, studies show that kiwi fruit can help prevent and cure colorectal cancer due to its rich fibre content.
Is Kiwi Fruit Good For Diabetic Patients?
It most certainly is! Kiwi has a GI of 50, making it a low GI food group, and its Glycemic Load is as low as 7.7. Therefore, if consumed in moderation, kiwi fruit does not result in an instant insulin spike. Instead, the blood sugar levels rise steadily and to a minimal extent.
The kiwi skin is full of insoluble fibres and a compound ‘inositol’, which makes one’s body more sensitive to insulin and thus, helps in curing diabetes.
Kiwi is also very low in calories and has mostly water weight. Therefore, uptake of kiwi can also help in weight loss and weight management. Optimum weight is the best way to keep one’s sugar levels under check.
Best Ways, Time and Proportion for Kiwi Consumption:
The recommended serving size of kiwi for an average person is about two medium-size fruits (140g or less).
Kiwi can be eaten in both ways, raw and cooked. The best way to have kiwi is to include it as a topping or a side dish in your meals. For example, you can use chopped kiwis on your oatmeal to make it more nutritious or add it to your shakes and salads.
The best time to eat kiwi is in the second half of the day, as kiwi leads to the release of serotonin responsible for managing the sleep cycle. So having kiwis right before bedtime can ensure sound sleep.
Originated in southern Mexico, papaya has made its place in every household. It is bright orange-yellow inside with a hard greenish-yellow peel.
Nutritional Content of Papaya (per 100 grams):
- Calories – 23.9
- Total fat – 0.16 g
- Cholesterol – 0g
- Carbohydrate – 4.61g
- Protein – 0.42 g
- Fibres – 2.83g
- Sugar – 11 g
Benefits of Papaya:
Papaya is full of antioxidants, fibre, vitamin C, A and E. These three vitamins are potent antioxidants and help prevent increased cholesterol in the arteries. High amounts of cholesterol lead to heart attack, stroke and hypertension.
Constipation is a significant problem in many, especially diabetics. Papaya has papain, an enzyme that aids in digestion. In addition, the fibre and water content in papaya also improves digestion. Therefore, consuming papaya provides relief from constipation.
Papaya contains a range of antioxidants, flavonoids and phytonutrients. In addition, they are responsible for preventing toxin buildup in the body. Thus, papaya plays a role in fighting against cancer.
Is Papaya Good for Diabetic Patients?
Papaya offers a wide range of health benefits. It is low in glycemic index and has a powerhouse of antioxidants.
Papaya is low in calories, but it has high amounts of essential vitamins like A, B, C and E. In addition, it has minerals like copper, magnesium, potassium and lycopene. Also, folate, lutein, pantothenic acid make papaya suitable for people with diabetes. But, of course, when eaten in the correct amount.
Best Ways, Time and Proportion for Papaya Consumption:
The best way to consume papaya is as a filler. It should be peeled and chopped. The best time to have papaya is during the daytime, preferable as a mid-morning salad.
A quarter of regular-sized papaya is the correct proportion of papaya to consume.
Native to central Asia but universally accepted, apples are not the ‘forbidden fruits’. Instead, it’s a part of many cuisines worldwide. Apples certainly have many benefits.
Nutritional Content of an Apple (per 100 grams)
- Calories – 52
- Fat – 0.2g
- Cholesterol – 0g
- Carbohydrate – 14g
- Fibres – 2.4g
- Sugar – 10g
- Proteins – 0.3g
Benefits of Apple:
Polyphenol in apples fights many diseases. In addition, apples are a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium. They also carry the very potent ‘polyphenol’. Hence the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
The soluble fibres in apple skin are also known to promote gut health Flavonoids lend apples great antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Overall, apples are beneficial for your skin, heart, and gut health. Studies have also found that regular intake of apples helps fight and prevent cancer.
Is Apple Good For Diabetic Patients?
There is no reason for a diabetic person to shy away from apples. On the contrary, with a GI of 36 and a Glycemic Load of 6, apples have very low sugar content and are thus very healthy.
Doctors have established that people who consume apples regularly have a 28% lower possibility of suffering from type 2 diabetes. That is because polyphenols in apples prevent the wear and tear of beta cells responsible for insulin production.
Apples are also excellent for weight loss as they are not very calorie-dense yet full of fibre and volume. Their probiotic properties also aid weight loss. Weight loss is the best way to manage diabetes.
Best Way, Time and Proportion for Apple Consumption:
Recommended serving of apple is one medium-size apple (150 grams). It will provide you with 95 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 19 grams of sugar.
Apples are best when consumed in the morning as the pectin present in the skin aids proper digestion throughout the day. It also keeps you full for longer and lessens your calorie intake.
Eat apples raw and with skin as cooking them could destroy their minerals and vitamins. Instead, one should try to consume the skin with the apple flesh as the skin is a storehouse of pectin, fibres and flavonoids.
One of the most beloved fruits from the citrus family, oranges are famous for their tangy taste. Additionally, they are full of nutritional benefits!
Nutritional Content of Oranges (per 100 grams):
- Calories – 47
- Fats – 0.1g
- Cholesterol – 0
- Carbohydrate – 12g
- Protein – 0.9g
- Sugar – 9g
Benefits of Orange:
Oranges are an excellent choice as they are brimming with vitamin C and fibres. The potent ones are lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose.
Oranges are rich in folate, which have proven effective against kidney stones. In addition, the component ‘hesperidin’ is potent against heart disease and cholesterol management.
Oranges also help in the prevention of anaemia. While not a very rich source of iron, the citric acid in oranges enables the cells to absorb iron more efficiently.
Is Orange Good for Diabetic People?
Oranges pose no threat to a diabetic patient. On the contrary, with their high fibre and nutrient contents, oranges should be your go-to fruit.
The GI of orange is as low as 31-51, and the Glycemic Load is around 5. These values indicate that oranges are safe for diabetic people, and their consumption will not affect their blood sugar levels.
Best Way, Time and Proportion for Orange Consumption:
The ideal serving size of orange should be around 154 grams (one medium-size orange), providing you with about 80 calories, 18 grams of carbohydrates, and 14 grams of sugar.
The best way to have orange is to have it whole, as the fruit’s skin carries most of the nutrients. However, having oranges in their juiced form will remove the rich fibre content. One should also avoid packed or canned oranges containing added sugars and preservatives.
The best time to indulge in oranges is between meals. Avoid oranges on an empty stomach as citric acid might lead to acidity and bloating. Oranges should also be avoided as a dessert after a heavy meal because the acid can release stomach enzymes that interfere with your digestion.
Peaches are famous all around the globe for their sweet and zesty flavour. But their goodness is not just limited to the taste, and they have more benefits than you can fathom!
Nutritional Content of Peaches (per 150 grams):
- Calories – 150
- Protein – 1g
- Fats – negligible
- Cholesterol – 0
- Fibre – 2g
- Sugar – 15g
Benefits of Peaches:
Peaches are full of potassium and antioxidants. As a result, they are also a rich source of vitamin C. The antioxidant properties of peaches are so potent that it starts showing their effect in 30 minutes of consumption.
Peaches are extremely rich in carotenoids and caffeic acids. These components have anti-cancerous properties. In addition, the rich fibre content of peach skin also aids digestion and promotes gut health.
Peaches are great for improving skin texture as they help the skin retain moisture and protect against UV damage.
Are Peaches Good For Diabetes?
Peaches are an excellent choice, whether you have diabetes or not. The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of peaches are 28 and 3, respectively. These values are considerably low and safe.
Peaches are rich in insoluble fibres that add bulk to stool and thus makes bowel movement easy. Therefore, peaches can help relieve constipation, a common complaint in diabetes patients.
Peaches also have loads of bioactive compounds, which increases metabolism. In addition, peaches have few fats, making them great for weight loss and diabetes management.
Best Way, Time and Proportion for Peach Consumption:
The recommended portion for peach is about one medium-sized peach, roughly 150 grams. One such peach contains 59 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of sugar.
The best way to have a peach is to have it raw, in its natural form. It is advisable to consume unpeeled peach and refrain from consuming packed or canned peach products because of high sugar contents and external additives.
Due to its acidic nature, do not have peaches on an empty stomach or first thing in the morning. However, peaches can be a great addition to almost all your meals. Add them to your shakes, smoothies and salads.
Blackberries are a staple in Asia, Europe, North and South America, and we love them for their sweet, juicy and tangy taste,
Nutritional Content of Blackberry (per 100 grams):
- Calories – 43
- Fats – 0.5g
- Cholesterol – 0g
- Carbohydrate – 10g
- Protein – 1.4g
- Fibre – 5g
- Sugar – 4.9g
Benefits of Blackberry:
Blackberries are a viable source of vitamin C, iron, calcium and magnesium. These nutrients can heal wounds quickly, improve skin health, fight against the common cold and prevent scurvy.
The magnesium in blackberry also improves brain health. It is essential for boosting immunity while enhancing bone growth and development and boosts immunity.
Is Blackberry Safe For Diabetic Patients?
Blackberries are amongst the best fruits for diabetic patients. Therefore, with a glycaemic index of 25 and glycaemic load of 2.02, consumption of blackberry is not going to have any significant changes in the blood sugar levels.
Blackberries are also a rich source of polyphenols and soluble fibres, which help keep blood sugar levels in check.
Best Way, Time and Proportion for Blackberry Consumption:
The ideal serving size of the fruit is one cup (154 grams). It will roughly provide you with 62 calories, 13.7 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of sugar.
The best time to have blackberries is at breakfast. The dietary fibre will keep you full for longer and aid proper digestion. Do include them in your oatmeal, pancakes, smoothies and sandwiches. Remember to keep the portions under check.
Plums have their own identity from the stone fruit family due to their deep red appearance. One consumes it in fresh and dried forms.
Nutritional Content of Plum (per 100 grams):
- Calories – 76
- Total fat – 0.5g
- Cholesterol – 0 g
- Carbohydrate – 18 g
- Protein – 1 g
- Fibres – 2 g
- Sugar – 10 g
Benefits of Plum:
Plum is low in calories and has good soluble fibre content. Therefore, plum is an excellent option to snack on. In addition, it helps to reduce weight, aids in digestion and relieves constipation.
Plums are loaded with antioxidants, proven to be an effective remedy against anxiety. In addition, these antioxidants help in reducing oxidative stress. Reduction in oxidative stress, in turn, helps to reduce anxiety.
Phytochemicals in a plum help in lowering inflammation. The same results in a reduced chance of heart diseases. Potassium is good for blood pressure control and prevents stroke.
Inflammation triggers many degenerative diseases in our bodies. They are heart diseases, cancers, pulmonary diseases, Parkinson’s disease etc.
Is Plum Fruit Good For Diabetic Patients?
Plum fruit has a glycemic index of 40 units for 100 grams. It has fibre which is suitable for people who have diabetes. Apart from the benefits mentioned above, plum boosts the production of a hormone called adiponectin. Adiponectin helps in lowering blood glucose levels.
Best Ways, Time and Proportion for Plum Consumption:
The best way to consume plums is fresh as a fruit. Many people also eat dehydrated plums known as prunes. It should be peeled and chopped. The best time to have plum is during the daytime.
One medium-sized plum at a time is the correct proportion to consume.
8. Dragon Fruit
Native to Mexico and Central America and grown in parts of China, India and Vietnam. Dragon fruit is an exotic superfood. It derives its name from the brightly coloured peel, which resembles fire and scales, which give it a dragon-like appearance.
Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit (per 100 grams of serving):
- Calories – 60
- Fats – 0g
- Carbohydrate – 13g
- Protein – 1.2g
- Fibre – 3g
- Sugar – 10g
Benefits of Dragon Fruit:
Dragon fruit is loaded with vitamin C, iron, and magnesium, making it a nutrient-dense fruit with very few calories. It is also very rich in antioxidants like betalains, hydroxycinnamates and flavonoids. In addition, dragon fruits have prebiotic fibres that promote the growth of bacteria and aids in better digestion and gut health.
Is Dragon Fruit safe for Diabetic Patients?
Yes, yes and yes! With a glycaemic index as low as 48-52 and a glycaemic load of 4, there is no way that dragon fruit would disrupt your blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that dragon fruit reduces insulin resistance, effectively beating type 2 diabetes. It also lessens the fatty liver and is suitable for cardiovascular functioning, making it an excellent choice for all people alike.
Best Way, Time and Proportion for Dragon Fruit Consumption:
The recommended serving size of dragon fruit is 200 grams (1 dragon fruit), giving the users about 120 calories, 26 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of sugar.
There is no stipulated time to have this superfood. Instead, make it a part of your breakfast, lunch and dinner. It provides you with fibre and energy throughout the day if you had in the morning. At the same time, the magnesium in dragon fruit can also prepare you for a good sleep.
Eat dragon fruit as a topping for your yoghurt. You can use them pies and salads because of their sweet and savoury flavours or as a healthy dessert option.
The only fruit that has fat. This fruit is related to the cinnamon tree and belongs to the berry family. Native to Central America and Mexico, it is now readily available throughout the world.
Nutritional Content of Avocado (per 100 grams):
- Calories – 160
- Total fat – 15g
- Cholesterol – 0 g
- Carbohydrate – 8.5 g
- Protein – 2 g
- Fibres – 7 g
- Sugar – 0.7 g
Benefits of Avocado:
Avocado has potassium, an essential mineral for the function of your body. It helps maintain blood pressure, heart health, renal function and the nervous system. In addition, fats in avocado are healthy unsaturated fat. Good fat helps to reduce cholesterol and supports good cardiovascular health. Also, it protects the body against hypertension and stroke.
The fibre content in avocado is high. High fibre primarily gives us two benefits. One is satiety for a more extended period. As a result, it curbs unnecessary cravings that help in weight loss. Secondly, it helps maintain gut health, as fibre helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria.
Avocado is a versatile fruit and can be a part of low calorie, keto, paleo diet etc.
Is Avocado Fruit Good For Diabetic Patients?
Avocado has a very low glycemic index and high fibre. These two properties make it an ideal fruit option for people with diabetes. Thus, it helps improve insulin sensitivity, which helps control blood sugar levels.
Best Ways, and Proportion for Avocado Consumption:
Half of an avocado is an excellent meal to reap all health benefits. You can eat them in several ways, as given below:-
- Slice it and add to a whole grain bread sandwich
- Chop it into cubes and toss it in a salad
- Make a dip by mashing it and adding lemon juice and spices.
- Add it to your omelette
- Spread it on your toast.
The fruit pineapple is interesting to look at and delicious, and healthy to eat.
Nutritional Content of Pineapple ( per 100 grams):
- Calories – 56.6
- Total fat – 0.16 g
- Cholesterol – 0 g
- Carbohydrate – 9.42 g
- Protein – 0.52 g
- Fibres – 3.46 g
- Sugar – 10 g
Benefits of Pineapple :
Pineapple contains soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps in losing weight. It is low in calories and is a good option for a low-calorie diet. In addition, the fibre content in pineapple provides satiety. Pineapple is a good option as a mid-morning snack while losing weight. A study has proven that consuming pineapple daily helps in losing weight.
Vitamin C content in pineapple is high. Besides being a potent antioxidant, Vitamin C also helps in the proper absorption of iron in your body. It helps in preventing anaemia too.
Magnesium in pineapple aids growth and maintains a good metabolism in your body. It also has antioxidant properties. Hence, pineapple is a natural energy booster.
Oxidative stress leads to degenerative diseases. Antioxidants help in reducing oxidative stress in your body. Pineapple is full of antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your body from various degenerative diseases like type 2 diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Is Pineapple Fruit Good For Diabetic Patients?
The glycemic index of pineapple ranges from 55 – 70, depending on the region it is cultivated. It is a fruit with a medium glycemic index. It has high insoluble fibre content, which makes it suitable for diabetes. The antioxidants in pineapple also help in keeping your body healthy.
Best Ways, Time and Proportion for Pineapple Consumption:
The best time to eat pineapple is a dessert with foods high in fibre content like whole grain bread, brown rice, oats, etc. One-sixth of a pineapple is considered the ideal serving size for pineapple consumption.
Eat pineapples fresh. However, canned and preserved pineapple have high sugar content used for preserving them. Hence it is not a good option for people with diabetes.
Also known as the stone fruit, this bright red coloured fruit is a treat to the eyes and beneficial for your body.
Nutritional Content of Cherries ( per 100 grams):
- Calories – 63
- Total fat –0.2 g
- Cholesterol – 0g
- Carbohydrate – 16 g
- Protein – 1.06 g
- Fibres – 2.1 g
- Sugar – 8 g
Benefits of Cherries:
Cherries are bright red due to the food pigment anthocyanin and choline. Besides these, cherries are high in vitamin A, C, K and fibre. In addition, they are high in potassium and packed with antioxidants.
High antioxidant content helps in reducing oxidative stress in the body, which results in younger and healthy-looking skin.
Is Cherries Fruit Good For Diabetic Patients?
As its Glycemic Index is 20 units, cherries have a role in healthy glucose regulation in the body. They reduce the risk of diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. This regulation happens due to the abundant presence of anthocyanin in cherries.
Best Ways, Time and Proportion for Cherries Consumption:
One cup of cherries is the correct proportion to consume. Add cherries to porridges, oatmeal bowls and smoothies. Have them early in the day.
Fruits to Avoid For Diabetes:
While most fruits are deemed fit for consumption for diabetes, some do not have the same reputation. Diabetic patients should avoid fruits like grapes, mangoes, watermelons, ripe bananas and dried dates.
They are high in sugar and have a high Glycemic Index, leading to an instant sugar rush in the bloodstream. You should also refrain from consuming ‘dried fruit’ that use sugar for preservation. Monitoring one’s nuts and seeds intake is also advisable for diabetic people.
While diabetes is infamous for having no cure, one can easily manage it with simple and easy steps. At HealthifyMe, we live by the mantra that ‘moderation is key. You do not need to exclude any fruit entirely from your diet to help your diabetes. With proper consultation and guidance from an expert, you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet that would include all kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the best fruits for people with diabetes to eat?
A. Any fruit with a low glycaemic index is deemed proper for consumption by diabetic patients. Such fruits include apples, oranges, berries, guava, kiwi, dragon fruit, peaches, pomegranate and avocados.
Q. Which fruit can a diabetic patient eat freely?
A. A diabetic person can eat any low GI fruit. Such fruits include apple, guava, oranges, peaches, berries, avocados and more. But one must not go overboard with any of these and always consult a doctor.
Q. What are the best five fruits for diabetes?
A. The top 5 recommended fruits for diabetes are guava, kiwi, apple, orange and peach.
Q. Are bananas okay for people with diabetes?
A. Although very nutritious, a diabetes patient must not overindulge in very ripened bananas due to their high glycaemic index and sugar content. Therefore, it is always more advisable for a diabetic person to opt for green, unripened bananas.
Q. What are fruits low in sugar good for diabetes?
A. Apples, oranges, kiwi, peaches, blackberries, and dragon fruits are low in sugar and good for diabetes.
Q. Which fruits have the least amount of sugar?
A. Strawberry, peaches, lemons, limes, oranges, berries, and avocados have the most negligible sugar content.
Q. Which fruit is good for type 2 diabetes?
A. Fruits with low sugar content and a low GI value are fit for consumption by diabetic people. These fruits include apples, guava, strawberries, oranges, dragon fruits, kiwi and avocados.
Q. What juices are sugar-free?
A. No packaged juice is free from added sugar and preservatives. Still, if extracted naturally, orange juice, apple juice and grape juice are very low in sugar content.
Q. Can diabetic patients drink juice?
A. Diabetic patients should refrain from packaged juice. Instead, they can opt for naturally extracted homemade fruit and vegetable juices in moderation.
Q. What drink will lower blood sugar levels?
A. Bitter gourd juice has proven beneficial in managing blood sugar levels.
Q. Which fruits are restricted for diabetes patients?
A. Fruits high in sugar content and high GI and GL values are not advisable for people with diabetes. These fruits include mangoes, ripened bananas, watermelon, grapes, dried dates and packaged nuts and seeds.