The Best Summer Fruits and Vegetables For Diabetics

Published on July 16, 2020

In summer there is an abundance of delicious fresh produce to choose from, what are the best summer fruits and vegetables for diabetics?

When you live with diabetes, following a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables will help manage healthy blood sugar levels whilst maintaining a healthy weight. Eating seasonal produce can help you further as this means that your ingredients are fresher and contain more nutrients that help to keep you fit and healthy. 

What fruits are good for diabetics?

The best summer vegetables and fruits for diabetics are fresh fruits and vegetables!  Fresh whole fruit is higher in fibre and vital nutrients so including it in your diet is a sensible food choice.  The important factors to remember are portion size and preparation.

Eat fresh or frozen fruit wherever possible because in its natural form it will contain more of the vital nutrients that your body thrives upon.

The NHS advises eating 5 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables for diabetics every day as part of a healthy diet.  A portion of fresh fruit is generally one that can fit into the palm of an adult hand.  You can find more information on portion sizes on the NHS Choices website.

Summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries can be eaten as a healthy snack or added to your morning porridge oats for a tasty and nutritious breakfast that will not cause a spike in blood sugar. 

An often overlooked but very tasty British fruit is rhubarb, which contains lots of calcium and vitamin C – great for bone health and your immune system.

You could also try stewing some British cooking apples with cinnamon and adding them to a bowl of yoghurt – a real treat that contains healthy nutrients.

What fruits are low in sugar?

Sugar in vegetables is, for diabetics, one of the most common frequently asked questions. It is a common misconception that some high sugar fruits should be avoided by diabetics but in fact, the type of sugar found in fresh fruit is different to the processed sugars present in fizzy drinks, cakes and sweets.  Whole fruit (fresh fruit in its natural form) does not count towards free sugars.  Free sugar is the type of sugar that is added to foods and can also be found in fruit juices or syrups.  It is called free sugar because it is not found inside the cells of the foods we eat and is therefore not natural sugar.

However, if you prefer to stick to fruits that are low in sugar and also great in summer you could try raspberries, watermelon, clementines, or avocados.

Can diabetics eat bananas?

People often ask are bananas good for diabetics.  The answer is yes, as long as they are fresh, and processed or preserved bananas are avoided wherever possible.  Therefore, bananas and diabetes can go hand in hand!  You can enjoy them whole or sliced onto natural cereal or yoghurt, they are also delicious when frozen and mashed as an alternative to ice cream!

What are the best vegetables for diabetics?

Vegetables are higher in fibre, and fibre is important for diabetics.  The NHS has also advised that vegetables with a lower GI (Glycaemic Index) can be a suitable option for diabetics as they can help to stabilise blood sugar levels more effectively than foods with a higher GI.  Lower GI foods are those that can be broken down more slowly by the body which is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugars.  They also help you to feel fuller for longer so can prevent snacking between meals. 

Low GI foods include non-starchy vegetables – these are vegetables that are good for diabetes and lots of them are plentiful in British summer time!  They include leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, and watercress.  You can also enjoy root vegetables like carrots and radishes and squashes like courgettes and cucumbers.  For a longer list of fruit and vegetables that are best for a diabetic diet visit diabetes.co.uk.

What foods to avoid with Diabetes

Having diabetes does not mean that you must avoid the foods you enjoy.  However, there are some points to be mindful of when making food choices and when it comes to understanding the best summer fruits and vegetables for diabetics to avoid, the advice is to eat fresh when possible, and to avoid a high intake of preserved or processed fruits and vegetables.

When food is preserved, dried, or canned it becomes a processed food which makes it lose many of it’s more nutritional benefits and gives it a higher sugar content – your body will absorb these sugars more quickly, causing higher blood sugar levels.

Smoothies, fruit juices, and sweetened fruit or vegetables contain more concentrated sugars which can also cause a spike in your blood sugars.

Diabetics can eat most foods, if they are included within a healthy, balanced diet so the key tips to take away are to eat seasonally, vary your choices, manage your portion sizes and be mindful of processed foods – fresh is always best!

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