Fresh fruit has well-known health benefits. But some experts, and some people with diabetes, question whether its high sugar content could pose risks. A large study, published in PLoS Medicine, found that eating fresh fruit may reduce the risk for developing diabetes, and the risk for its complications.
According to the study, for those without diabetes at the start, eating fresh fruit daily was associated with a 12% lower risk of developing the disease compared with those who ate none. The more frequently they ate fruit, the lower their risk. In people who were already diabetic, those who ate fruit three times a week had a 17% lower risk of all-cause mortality, and a lower risk for diabetic complications like heart and kidney disease, than those who didn’t eat fruit.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following fruits listed below, because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and should be a part of a diabetes-friendly diet. Diabetics should just keep track of them as they do with all carbs. The fruits include:
- Berries: According to the ADA, berries are a diabetes superfood because they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, plus they are low-GI.
- Tart cherries are also packed with antioxidants, which may help fight heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
- Peaches for Potassium: Peaches contain vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.
- Apricots for Fiber: Four fresh apricots equal one serving and provide more than 50 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement.
- Apples for Vitamins: An apple a day really might keep the doctor away. Toss one in your purse or tote bag if you’re on the go; a small apple is a great fruit choice, with just 77 calories and 21 g carbs. Apples are also loaded with fiber and a good source of vitamin C. Don’t peel your apples, though — the skins are the most nutritious part, full of antioxidants.
- Oranges for Vitamin C: Eat one orange and you’ve gotten all the vitamin C you need in a day. Oranges also contain folate and potassium, which may help normalize blood pressure.
- Pears for Vitamin K and Fiber: Because pears are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin K, they make a wise addition to your diabetes meal plan.
- Low-Carb Kiwi: Kiwi is a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.
According to the lead author in the study described in this article, Dr. Huaidong Du, a research fellow at the University of Oxford, “the sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in manufactured foods and may be metabolized differently. And there are other nutrients in fruit that may benefit in other ways.”
If you have specific health concerns, or are diabetic and want to check with us before adding certain fruits to your diet, please call Prosperity Internal Medicine at 703-876-9300. Our group uses the latest advances in medicine, offering our patients access to innovative health management technologies, proactive team-based care, and an evidenced-based, patient-centered approach.