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What Fruits To Eat If You Have Diabetes

Fruits should ideally be included as a part of a healthy balanced diet if you’re diabetic. However, fruits are rich in carbs and they do need to be included in the carb count of your meal plan. Eat whole fruits and avoid juicing. Include fruits like jamun, blueberries, pears, apples in your everyday diet to keep blood sugar levels in check.

jamun fruits diabetes
Noni-Ingredient-Kapiva

Most people think that fruits are not good for people with diabetes as they contain sugar. However, fruits are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals which can benefit your health. So if you have a sweet tooth, fruits can be just the thing to satisfy your craving while also giving you a boost of important nutrients.

Whole Fruit Is Better Than Juicing It

In fact, one large study looked at the link between the consumption of fruits and diabetes risk and found that certain whole fruits – grapes, blueberries, and apples – were associated with a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Three servings per week of these fruits were considered in the study. However, the study also found that the consumption of fruit juice was linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. This might be because the process of juicing removes fiber from whole fruits.[1]Muraki, Isao, Fumiaki Imamura, JoAnn E. Manson, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, Rob M. van Dam, and Qi Sun. “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective … Continue reading Meanwhile, another study found that not only was the consumption of fresh fruit linked to a lower risk for diabetes but that it also benefited people who were already diabetic.

People with diabetes who consumed fresh fruit more than 3 days a week had a 17% lower chance of dying from any cause and a 13 to 28% lower risk of developing complications related to diabetes such as stroke, coronary heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy etc. when compared to those who had fruits less than one day per week.[2]Du, Huaidong, Liming Li, Derrick Bennett, Yu Guo, Iain Turnbull, Ling Yang, Fiona Bragg et al. “Fresh fruit consumption in relation to incident diabetes and diabetic vascular complications: a … Continue reading

Why Portion Size Is Important?

Fruits should ideally be included as a part of a healthy balanced diet if you’re diabetic. However, fruits are rich in carbohydrates and they do need to be included in the carb count of your meal plan. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you add fruits to your diet:

  • You should try to get around half your daily calories from carbohydrates if you’re diabetic – and carbs from fruits need to be included in this count. It’s also a good idea to eat approximately the same quantity of carbs at each meal as this can help you maintain steady blood sugar levels through the day. [3][Carb Counting].Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • One serving of fruits should contain 15 grams of carbohydrates. The carbohydrate content of the fruit you’re having will determine the size of the serving.[4][Diabetes diet: Should I avoid sweet fruits?].Mayo Clinic. So how many servings of fruits should you have in a day? According to experts, everybody should have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, this holds true for people with diabetes as well. You can break this up into 2 or 3 serving of fruits with veggies making up the rest of your 5 a day quota.[5][Fruit and Vegetables].NHS.

What Fruits Should Diabetics Include In Their Diet?

Let’s take a look at a few fruits that you could include in your diet:

1. Blueberries

One study found that supplementation with blueberry extract or powder for a period of 8 to 12 weeks improved glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes. Though the mechanism through which they work is not definite, studies have shown that compounds known as anthocyanins which are present in blueberries can act against insulin resistance.[6]Rocha, Daniela Mayumi Usuda Prado, Ana Paula Silva Caldas, Bárbara Pereira da Silva, Helen Hermana Miranda Hermsdorff, and Rita de Cássia Gonçalves Alfenas. “Effects of blueberry and … Continue reading [7]Belwal, Tarun, Seyed Fazel Nabavi, Seyed Mohammad Nabavi, and Solomon Habtemariam. “Dietary anthocyanins and insulin resistance: When food becomes a medicine.” Nutrients 9, no. 10 (2017): … Continue reading

1 cup of blueberries (148g) will give you 21g of carbohydrates.[8][Blueberry Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.

2. Jamun (Malabar or Java Plum)

Jamun or Indian blackberry has been traditionally used in ayurveda to deal with diabetes. Studies indicate jamun can reduce blood sugar and improve insulin levels.[9]Raza, Ahmad, Masood Sadiq Butt, and Hafiz Ansar Rasul Suleria. “Jamun (Syzygium cumini) seed and fruit extract attenuate hyperglycemia in diabetic rats.” Asian pacific journal of tropical … Continue reading

1 jamun will give you 1.4 g of carbs.[10][Java-plum, (jambolan), raw, 1 fruit].University of Rochester Medical Center.

3. Apple

Turns out that old saying may be true – an apple a day may actually keep the doctor away! According to a large study, those who had 2 to 6 apples a week had a 27% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who didn’t consume apples while those who had an apple a day had a 28% lower risk. The researchers suggest that catechins or other polyphenolic compounds present in apples may account for this beneficial effect.[11]Hyson, Dianne A. “A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health.” Advances in nutrition 2, no. 5 (2011): 408-420.

1 large apple (242 g) will give you 34 grams of carbs.[12][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

4. Peach

Peaches are a sweet juicy stone fruit. And these fuzzy fruits may be beneficial if you’re trying to keep your blood sugar under control. Research has shown that peach extracts can improve insulin sensitivity and increase glucose uptake by cells.[13]Fukai, Y., T. Matsuzawa, and K. Sekiya. “The study on the prophylactic effects of agricultural products on lifestyle related diseases, 1: Adipocyte functions and the insulin sensitivity of … Continue reading

1 medium peach (147 g) will give you 15g of carbs.[14][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

5. Apricot

Research indicates that apricots can help lower blood sugar and the risk of diabetic complications in people with type 2 diabetes. One study observed that having 18 grams of dried apricots was effective at reducing blood sugar. Beneficial compounds present in apricots such as anthocyanin, cartenoids, and procyanidin are thought to be responsible for its hypoglycemic activity.[15]Al Rawi, Bilal JM, Louwy MA Al Ani, and Ali K. Alywee. “Study of Dried Apricot Effect on Type 2 Diabetic Patients as a Hypoglycemic Material.” IRAQI JOURNALOF COMMUNITY MEDICINE 25, no. 1 … Continue reading

1 fresh apricot (35g) will give you around 3.9 grams of carbohydrates.[16][Apricot Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.

6. Pear

Juicy pears can be another ally in your fight against diabetes. Research indicates that the consumption of these fruits is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. According to experts, anthocyanins present in pears could account for this effect.[17]Wedick, Nicole M., An Pan, Aedín Cassidy, Eric B. Rimm, Laura Sampson, Bernard Rosner, Walter Willett, Frank B. Hu, Qi Sun, and Rob M. van Dam. “Dietary flavonoid intakes and risk of type 2 … Continue reading

1 medium pear (166 g) will give you 26 grams of carbohydrate.[18][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

7. Kiwi

Kiwi fruits have a low glycemic index (a measure of how much a food can raise your blood sugar).[19][Glycemic index diet: What’s behind the claims].Mayo Clinic. They provide a good dose of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin E, and folate. They’re rich in fiber too. So this nutrient dense fruit can make a good addition for people with diabetes.[20]Richardson, David P., Juliet Ansell, and Lynley N. Drummond. “The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review.” European journal of nutrition 57, no. 8 (2018): 2659-2676. [21][Kiwi Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.

2 medium kiwifruits (148 g) will give you 20g of carbs.[22][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

8. Papaya

Experts suggest that including papayas in your diet can also be helpful if you have diabetes. Though they have not been proven to reduce blood sugar, several constituents of these fruits such as vitamin C, saponins, fiber, and flavonoids have been found to lower blood sugar. They also contain antioxidants and can help tackle oxidative stress which plays a significant role in the development of diabetic complications.[23]Ismawanti, Zuhria, Joseph Benedictus Suparyatmo, and Budiyanti Wiboworini. “The Effects of Papaya Fruit as Anti Diabetes: A Review.” International Journal of Nutrition Sciences 4, no. 2 … Continue reading

1 cup of papaya slices (145 g) will give you 16 g of carbs.[24][Papaya Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.

9. Dates

One animal study looked at the effect of date extracts on rats with type 2 diabetes. It was found that treatment with date extracts resulted in significant improvement in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in comparison to the untreated group. They were also found to protect kidneys from diabetic nephropathy. Research also indicates that dates can improve liver functions in diabetic rats. Flavonoids and phenolic compounds present in dates as well as its antioxidant properties are thought to contribute to these beneficial effects.[25]El-Mousalamy, Amani MD, Abdel Aziz M. Hussein, Seham A. Mahmoud, Azza Abdelaziz, and Gehan Shaker. “Aqueous and methanolic extracts of palm date seeds and fruits (Phoenix dactylifera) protects … Continue reading [26]Hussein, Abdelaziz M., Amani MD El-Mousalamy, Sahar AM Hussein, and Seham A. Mahmoud. “Effects of palm dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.) extracts on hepatic dysfunctions in Type 2 diabetic rat … Continue reading

1 date (8g) will give you 6 grams of carbohydrates.[27][Date Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.

10. Mango

Delicious mangoes can also be helpful for those with diabetes. One study looked at the effect of having 10 g of ground freeze-dried mango pulp per day for 12 weeks on obese individuals. And they found that it significantly lowered fasting blood glucose. A bioactive compound called mangiferin is thought to be primarily responsible for its blood sugar lowering properties.[28]Evans, Shirley F., Maureen Meister, Maryam Mahmood, Heba Eldoumi, Sandra Peterson, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Stephen L. Clarke, Mark Payton, Brenda J. Smith, and Edralin A. Lucas. “Mango … Continue reading

1 cup of mango pieces (165g) will give you 25g of carbohydrates.[29][ Mango Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.

11. Watermelon

One study looked at the effect of administering watermelon juice on diabetic rats and found that it significantly reduced the fasting blood glucose levels. Watermelon has been found to inhibit α-glucosidase and α-amylase. These are enzymes involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are normally broken down into simple sugars and released into the blood stream by your body. By inhibiting the breakdown of carbohydrates, you can reduce the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream. In fact, α-glucosidase inhibitors are used as oral anti diabetic medicines for people with type 2 diabetes.[30]Ajiboye, Basiru Olaitan, Moturayo Tawakalt Shonibare, and Babatunji Emmanuel Oyinloye. “Antidiabetic activity of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) juice in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” … Continue reading [31]Nair, Sindhu S., Vaibhavi Kavrekar, and Anshu Mishra. “In vitro studies on alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase inhibitory activities of selected plant extracts.” European Journal of … Continue reading

2 cups of diced watermelon (280 g) will give you 21 g of carbs.[32][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

12. Grapes

Grapes contain many beneficial compounds such as resveratrol, quercetin, catechins, and anthocyanins which have anti-diabetic effects. Experts suggest that they, particularly the darkly colored varieties, may help regulate insulin and glucose metabolism. They can also help tackle oxidative stress.[33]Zunino, Susan J. “Type 2 diabetes and glycemic response to grapes or grape products.” The Journal of nutrition 139, no. 9 (2009): 1794S-1800S.

3/4 of a cup of grapes (126 g) will give you 23 grams of carbs.[34][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

13. Oranges

One study found that both oranges as well as orange juice were effective at significantly reducing HOMA-IR in people without diabetes. HOMA-IR is an index that measures insulin resistance.[35]Papandreou, Dimitrios, Emmanouella Magriplis, Myriam Abboud, Zainab Taha, Eleftheria Karavolia, Christos Karavolias, and Antonis Zampelas. “Consumption of Raw Orange, 100% Fresh Orange Juice, … Continue reading Insulin resistance can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes and also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and conditions like stroke. Antioxidants and phytochemicals present in oranges may be partly responsible for their beneficial effects. Having oranges instead of orange juice means that you also get the benefits of fiber.

1 medium orange (154 g) will give you 19 g of carbs.[36][Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.

14. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are another fruit with proven anti-diabetic effects. Research indicates that it can reduce insulin resistance as well as fasting serum glucose levels. Organic acids present in pomegranates such as ellagic, gallic, oleanolic, ursolic, and uallic acids are thought to contribute to these beneficial effects.[37]Banihani, S. A., S. M. Makahleh, Z. El-Akawi, R. A. Al-Fashtaki, O. F. Khabour, M. Y. Gharibeh, N. A. Saadah, F. H. Al-Hashimi, and N. J. Al-Khasieb. “Fresh pomegranate juice ameliorates … Continue reading Ayurveda also advocates the consumption of this fruit for people with diabetes.[38]Pk, Prajapati. “Diet and lifestyle guidelines for diabetes: Evidence based ayurvedic perspective.” Romanian Journal of Diabetes Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases 21, no. 4 (2014): 335-346.

100 grams of pomegranates will give you 18.7 g of carbs.[39][Pomegranates, raw].USDA.

How to consume

  • Eat it whole, avoid juices: When it comes to including fruits in your diet, whole fruits are your best option. Research shows that while the consumption of whole fruits is linked to a lower risk for diabetes having fruit juices can actually increase your risk.[40]Muraki, Isao, Fumiaki Imamura, JoAnn E. Manson, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, Rob M. van Dam, and Qi Sun. “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective … Continue reading

Precautions

  • Fruits are typically safe in amounts that are normally consumed as food. However, if you have any food allergies or intolerances do take that into account while including them in your diet.

References

References
1, 40 Muraki, Isao, Fumiaki Imamura, JoAnn E. Manson, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, Rob M. van Dam, and Qi Sun. “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.” Bmj 347 (2013).
2 Du, Huaidong, Liming Li, Derrick Bennett, Yu Guo, Iain Turnbull, Ling Yang, Fiona Bragg et al. “Fresh fruit consumption in relation to incident diabetes and diabetic vascular complications: a 7-y prospective study of 0.5 million Chinese adults.” PLoS medicine 14, no. 4 (2017): e1002279.
3 [Carb Counting].Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4 [Diabetes diet: Should I avoid sweet fruits?].Mayo Clinic.
5 [Fruit and Vegetables].NHS.
6 Rocha, Daniela Mayumi Usuda Prado, Ana Paula Silva Caldas, Bárbara Pereira da Silva, Helen Hermana Miranda Hermsdorff, and Rita de Cássia Gonçalves Alfenas. “Effects of blueberry and cranberry consumption on type 2 diabetes glycemic control: A systematic review.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 59, no. 11 (2019): 1816-1828.
7 Belwal, Tarun, Seyed Fazel Nabavi, Seyed Mohammad Nabavi, and Solomon Habtemariam. “Dietary anthocyanins and insulin resistance: When food becomes a medicine.” Nutrients 9, no. 10 (2017): 1111.
8 [Blueberry Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.
9 Raza, Ahmad, Masood Sadiq Butt, and Hafiz Ansar Rasul Suleria. “Jamun (Syzygium cumini) seed and fruit extract attenuate hyperglycemia in diabetic rats.” Asian pacific journal of tropical biomedicine 7, no. 8 (2017): 750-754.
10 [Java-plum, (jambolan), raw, 1 fruit].University of Rochester Medical Center.
11 Hyson, Dianne A. “A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health.” Advances in nutrition 2, no. 5 (2011): 408-420.
12, 14, 18, 22, 32, 34, 36 [Raw Fruits Poster (Text Version / Accessible Version)].FDA.
13 Fukai, Y., T. Matsuzawa, and K. Sekiya. “The study on the prophylactic effects of agricultural products on lifestyle related diseases, 1: Adipocyte functions and the insulin sensitivity of extracts from 5 fruits including peach, apple, plum, grape (Kyoho) and apricot.” Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology (Japan) (2000).
15 Al Rawi, Bilal JM, Louwy MA Al Ani, and Ali K. Alywee. “Study of Dried Apricot Effect on Type 2 Diabetic Patients as a Hypoglycemic Material.” IRAQI JOURNALOF COMMUNITY MEDICINE 25, no. 1 (2012).
16 [Apricot Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.
17 Wedick, Nicole M., An Pan, Aedín Cassidy, Eric B. Rimm, Laura Sampson, Bernard Rosner, Walter Willett, Frank B. Hu, Qi Sun, and Rob M. van Dam. “Dietary flavonoid intakes and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 95, no. 4 (2012): 925-933.
19 [Glycemic index diet: What’s behind the claims].Mayo Clinic.
20 Richardson, David P., Juliet Ansell, and Lynley N. Drummond. “The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review.” European journal of nutrition 57, no. 8 (2018): 2659-2676.
21 [Kiwi Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.
23 Ismawanti, Zuhria, Joseph Benedictus Suparyatmo, and Budiyanti Wiboworini. “The Effects of Papaya Fruit as Anti Diabetes: A Review.” International Journal of Nutrition Sciences 4, no. 2 (2019): 65-70.
24 [Papaya Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.
25 El-Mousalamy, Amani MD, Abdel Aziz M. Hussein, Seham A. Mahmoud, Azza Abdelaziz, and Gehan Shaker. “Aqueous and methanolic extracts of palm date seeds and fruits (Phoenix dactylifera) protects against diabetic nephropathy in type II diabetic rats.” Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access 5, no. 2 (2016): 5-2.
26 Hussein, Abdelaziz M., Amani MD El-Mousalamy, Sahar AM Hussein, and Seham A. Mahmoud. “Effects of palm dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.) extracts on hepatic dysfunctions in Type 2 diabetic rat model.” World J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci 4 (2015): 62-79.
27 [Date Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.
28 Evans, Shirley F., Maureen Meister, Maryam Mahmood, Heba Eldoumi, Sandra Peterson, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Stephen L. Clarke, Mark Payton, Brenda J. Smith, and Edralin A. Lucas. “Mango supplementation improves blood glucose in obese individuals.” Nutrition and metabolic insights 7 (2014): NMI-S17028.
29 [ Mango Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits].Verywell Fit.
30 Ajiboye, Basiru Olaitan, Moturayo Tawakalt Shonibare, and Babatunji Emmanuel Oyinloye. “Antidiabetic activity of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) juice in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders 19, no. 1 (2020): 343-352.
31 Nair, Sindhu S., Vaibhavi Kavrekar, and Anshu Mishra. “In vitro studies on alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase inhibitory activities of selected plant extracts.” European Journal of Experimental Biology 3, no. 1 (2013): 128-132.
33 Zunino, Susan J. “Type 2 diabetes and glycemic response to grapes or grape products.” The Journal of nutrition 139, no. 9 (2009): 1794S-1800S.
35 Papandreou, Dimitrios, Emmanouella Magriplis, Myriam Abboud, Zainab Taha, Eleftheria Karavolia, Christos Karavolias, and Antonis Zampelas. “Consumption of Raw Orange, 100% Fresh Orange Juice, and Nectar-Sweetened Orange Juice—Effects on Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels on Healthy Subjects.” Nutrients 11, no. 9 (2019): 2171.
37 Banihani, S. A., S. M. Makahleh, Z. El-Akawi, R. A. Al-Fashtaki, O. F. Khabour, M. Y. Gharibeh, N. A. Saadah, F. H. Al-Hashimi, and N. J. Al-Khasieb. “Fresh pomegranate juice ameliorates insulin resistance, enhances β-cell function, and decreases fasting serum glucose in type 2 diabetic patients.” Nutrition research 34, no. 10 (2014): 862-867.
38 Pk, Prajapati. “Diet and lifestyle guidelines for diabetes: Evidence based ayurvedic perspective.” Romanian Journal of Diabetes Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases 21, no. 4 (2014): 335-346.
39 [Pomegranates, raw].USDA.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information pertaining to your personal needs please see a qualified health practitioner.

About the Author

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Dr. Ninny Sunny (KAA Expert)

With 6+ years of experience as a medical nutritionist, Ninny Sunny has worked with hospitals and brands like HealthifyMe and CureFit to guide people on lifestyle and nutritional issues. She is an expert in evaluating the nutritional status of people and can advise a balanced nutritional plan for optimizing overall health and wellness.

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