Get Head-On with Diabetes with Best Fruits and Veggies - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Get Head-On with Diabetes with Best Fruits and Veggies

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 2 May 2016 - 11:26


Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the world, doubling the risk of stroke and heart attack. Although it cannot be reversed, it can be controlled and prevented by taking a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Research studies show that people with type 2 diabetes can maintain their blood sugar levels well within the normal range through diet and exercise. An article published by American Diabetes Association on ‘Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women’ says, “Fruits and vegetables contain many beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals that are thought to protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

Top 3 Fruits for Diabetics:

As per guidelines, Nutritionists recommend consuming a minimum of 4 to 5 fruit servings per day for diabetics. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), fruits are laden with vitamins, fibre and minerals, all of which are required for a healthy balanced diet. Having said that, make sure you check your intake of carbohydrates.

Quick Tip: Keep a check on the size of portions and stay as far as you can from canned fruits as they contain plenty of added sugar.

Top 3 low-GI fruits that are considered good for diabetes –

1.       Papaya – Rich in Vitamins and Nutrients

Being hypoglycaemic in nature, papaya works amazingly in controlling high levels of blood sugar. Studies reveal that eating papaya regularly have relatively better control over diabetes, thus reducing insulin shots. Papaya also prevents diabetic heart disease to an extent. It is loaded with nutrients, vitamins (A, B & C) and carotene and is rich in “papain”, an enzyme that equips and arms diabetics to fight against harmful free radicals.

Quick Tip: Since most diabetics stand high risk of contracting heart diseases owing to their irregular levels of blood sugar, the anti-oxidants in papaya block further cell damage. This keeps the heart and other nervous ailments under control.

2.      Peaches – Rich in Potassium

Juicy peaches are great for diabetics as they are low-GI, rich in potassium, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins A & C. A ripe and juicy peach is a great treat for summer. You can enjoy them fresh and keep away from syrupy and canned peaches.

Try this Recipe: For a juicy treat, you can toss them into iced tea or make yourself a quick smoothie by pureeing slices with zero-or low-fat buttermilk with a dash of ginger or cinnamon.

3.      Apples – Rich in Vitamins

Apples are perfect for diabetics as they are low in GI. An apple a day surely keeps the doctor away as they are loaded with vitamins and fibre. Make sure you don’t peel apples as the skin is most nutritious and rich in antioxidants. Apples contain high pectin levels, a soluble fibre that helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol. The best part is that apples have an anti-inflammatory affect that helps diabetics recover faster from infections.

*Important: Apples are rich in quercetin, a strong antioxidant present in high amounts in apple skins, reportedly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Other important fruits for diabetics include cherries, pears, grapefruit, plums, oranges, guavas, grapes, kiwi, black jamun, papaya, pomegranate and jackfruit.

Nuts & Seeds:  Nuts are reportedly low in GL and play a vital role in development of insulin resistance. According to a Nurses’ Health Study, 27% of who consumed at least five servings of nuts every week, showed reduced risk of diabetes.

Top 4 Healthy Vegetables for Diabetics

Diabetes diets relying solely on grains and meat for major calorie source is just not enough and in fact have serious drawbacks. Instead, the optimal foods must include lots of vegetables that are rich in nutrients and of course with a low glycemic load, which work toward preventing diabetes. Here are top 3 vegetables that are considered great for diabetics –

1.      Green Vegetables: Make sure you include lots of green vegetables that are rich in nutrients - cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and other green vegetables. Research reports claim that consuming a high content of green vegetables reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, a recent meta-analysis shows that intake of large amount of leafy greens is associated with decrease in risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%.

2.      Beans: The legume family, beans and lentils are the ideal source of carbohydrates. Beans are low in glycemic load, thanks to their abundant fibre and moderate protein and resistant starch. Studies have linked consumption of legumes and beans to reduced risk of colon cancer and diabetes. This is because colon bacteria ferment the calories absorbed from beans plus the resistant starch, thus forming cancer-protecting products.

3.      Non-starchy vegetables: Abundant intake of non-starchy vegetables is recommended highly for people with diabetes. Vegetables like onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, etc. are essential components of a diabetes-optimal diet. This is because these foods have negligible effects on blood glucose as they are loaded with phytochemicals and fibre.

4.      Bitter Gourd: This vegetable is a must-have for diabetics as it contains hypoglycemic-like substance that helps reduce urine sugar levels and blood sugar levels. Constant consumption of this vegetable keeps a diabetic’s sugar levels well under control.

Did-you-know Fact: Onions are known to have anti-diabetic properties helpful in fighting diabetes type I and type II. Its hypoglycemic properties helps keep blood sugar levels under control while improving glucose tolerance.

3 Practical Tips to Keep Diabetes under Control

1.      Spread your intake throughout the day. Start with a portion of fruit/vegetable like

  • A medium-sized apple/banana/pear
  • A handful of grapes
  • 3 portions of raw vegetables
  • 1 tbsp. of dry fruits
  • A bowl of salad

2.      Some breakfast tips:

  • Add tomatoes and mushrooms to cooked breakfast
  • Have a fruit-salad topped with low-fat yoghurt
  • Try steaming/microwaving instead of frying and add some spices and herbs

3.      Check the Fat

  • Choose unsaturated fats and oils, particularly monounsaturated fats
  • Use skimmed/semi-skimmed milk & low-fat dairy products

4.      Lower Glycemic Index: This is how you can lower your glycemic load while improving the overall quality of your diet.

                     Eat More of:

                        Eat Less of:

Healthy Fats – olive oil, raw nuts, fish oils, whole milk diary, flax seeds.

Trans fats from deep-fried foods


Fruits & Vegetables – preferably fresh, include a variety of colours, ideally whole fruit rather than juices.

Fast foods and packaged foods, bake foods, desserts, chips, sweets

High-quality – eggs, milk, beans, unsweetened yoghurt, cheese.

Low-fat/replaced fat with added sugar – fat-free yoghurt

A recent study conducted on type 2 diabetics who followed a specific diet found that 90% participants could come off all diabetic medications - A diet of vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, nuts & seeds can prevent, possibly even reverse diabetes while having a significant impact on the life-span.


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