When your blood sugar is on the rise, fruit is probably the last thing you think about eating due to its sugar content. But some fruits are particularly beneficial for lowering blood sugar or keeping it stable. Just remember to keep your serving to a moderate portion, however. Too much fruit can further elevate your glucose in some cases.
Apples are very low on the glycemic index, making them ideal snacks if you have high blood sugar. The glycemic index ranks foods depending on how quickly they make your glucose go up. Foods at the upper end of the scale, 70 or above, are likely to send your blood sugar through the roof. If an item ranks at 55 or less though, it has more of a stabilizing effect on your glucose, rather than a rapidly increasing effect. An average apple has a score of less than 40, making it unlikely to have much of an impact on your blood sugar.
Avocados are one of the few fruits that are jam-packed with monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs. Often referred to as “good fat,” MUFAs have been shown to improve blood sugar levels. In a research review published in 2010 in “Progress in Lipid Research," researchers compared types of dietary fats and their effects on Type 2 diabetes. After comparing several studies, reviewers found a common factor: Monounsaturated fats tend to improve insulin sensitivity when consumed in place of saturated fats. However, this effect isn’t likely to happen if your overall fat intake is more than 37 percent of your caloric intake, according to researchers.
Oranges and Grapefruits
Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, are some of the optimal ways to stabilize blood glucose. These fruits are high in soluble fiber, which is the kind of fiber that decreases the rate of digestion. A small orange has nearly 3 grams of total fiber, and roughly two-thirds is soluble fiber. Almost 70 percent of the 3.2 grams of total fiber in a medium grapefruit is soluble. Soluble fiber forms a thick slow-moving gel as it collects water droplets. As nutrients, including glucose, get backed up behind this gel, they are absorbed at a more gradual rate. Because of this effect, these citrus fruits can help reduce or stabilize your glucose levels.
In a study published in 2013 in the “British Medical Journal,” researchers compared various fruits and their effects on reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Blueberries, as well as grapes and apples, were superior to other fruits when it comes to reducing Type 2 diabetes risk. Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, or beneficial chemical compounds that may boost glucose absorption, bringing glucose levels down. Additionally, more than 20 percent of the fiber in blueberries is soluble, further helping to improve blood sugar ranges.
- Better Health Channel: Carbohydrates and the Glycaemic Index
- Harvard Medical School: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for 100+ Foods
- Reader's Digest: Avocado
- Progress in Lipid Research: Dietary Fats and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- British Medical Journal: Researchers Find Link Between Blueberries, Grapes and Apples and Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- BBC News Health: Blueberries, Not Fruit Juice, Cut Type-2 Diabetes Risk