Dietary fiber plays a major role in regulating blood glucose as it slows digestion and prevents spikes in blood glucose levels. Dr Subrata Das, senior consultant, internal medicine and diabetology, Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru, recommends incorporating high-fiber fruits with low glycemic indexes such as apples, guava or citrus fruits. High glycemic index fruits such as bananas or mangoes should be avoided. He adds, that one should opt for a whole fruit over juice to avoid consuming excess calories.
Delhi-based nutritionist Avni Kaul says dietary fiber is important for individuals having diabetes as it can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Fiber is majorly found in plant-based food. It slows down the absorption of sugars from the digestive tract. This results in a gradual, more controlled rise in blood sugar after meals, preventing sudden spikes. Research has found that for people who have type 2 diabetes, eating fresh fruit may reduce the risk of vascular complications and overall mortality.
High-fiber fruits for people with diabetes
Here are eight fiber-rich fruits to incorporate into a diabetic diet.
Bhuvaneswari Vidyashankar, a Chennai-based dietician says, guava is a low-GI fruit that contains around 15 grams of carbohydrates (per 100 grams). It is a good source of fiber that prevents a spike in sugar levels (5.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams).
She adds guava is high in vitamin C which helps to boost your immune system. Uncontrolled diabetes can impair the immune system and increase the risk of infections.
According to a review article, guava also has antioxidants such as phytochemicals and flavonoids that can potentially protect against diabetes-related complications.
According to an article published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, guava without peel is found to be more effective in improving HDL and lowering blood sugar, bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Bengaluru-based nutritionist Samreen Sharieff says apple is a good source of high fiber for people with diabetes. It contains about 25 grams of carbohydrates and around 4 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. Though sweet in taste, apple has a low glycemic index of around 36. Apple can be consumed as a morning snack, she adds.
Those with controlled sugar levels can consume fruits in restricted quantities, says Vidyashankar.
Dr Spoorthi Arun, Internal Medicine, Promed Hospital, Chennai, says there are 13 grams of carbs in one cup of papaya and the glycemic index of papaya is around 60 which is considered moderate, and it does not spike blood sugar.
Additionally, papaya is rich in fiber which helps in slowing glucose absorption, preventing spikes in blood glucose levels.
She adds that papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme that helps to break down protein helping in digestion.
100 grams of papaya contains 21.00mg of magnesium. Research shows that supplemental magnesium may help people with diabetes improve their glucose levels and enhance insulin sensitivity in people with a high risk of developing diabetes.
Some people prefer eating papaya for breakfast. There are other diabetic-friendly breakfast choices that don’t lead to spikes in sugar levels.
4. Citrus Fruits (oranges)
Oranges are a good source of vitamin C; they contain 18.2 grams of carbohydrates and around 3 grams of dietary fiber (per 100 grams), says Sharieff. A review of short-term studies suggests that vitamin C supplementation may improve glycemic control and blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes
“Oranges also contain minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium that are considered good for diabetes management,” adds Sharieff.
Palak T Punamiya, a Bengaluru-based nutritionist, says, pears are high in antioxidants and fiber, which makes them a good fruit for people with diabetes. Pear has 3.1g of fiber per 100 grams and is high in vitamins C, A and B.
She adds that pears also include minerals such as potassium that help regulate blood pressure levels. Potassium also helps ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps lower blood pressure.
Vidyashankar says berries are considered good for those with diabetes. They are sweet to taste but have a low glycemic index that will not lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of dietary fiber that helps in glucose absorption and promotes a sense of fullness.
Berries are also packed with antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties.
She adds that berries are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C and minerals like potassium and manganese, both of which are good supplements for diabetes management.
Avocado is a source of healthy fat and fiber, says Kaul. It has a low glycemic index and contains around 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams of serving.
Vidyashankar suggests consuming raw avocado as mid-morning or evening snacks or even making an avocado dip as it is rich in omega 3 and fiber.
High-fiber fruits like kiwi have a low glycemic index and are suitable for people with diabetes, says Punamiya. One can get around 3 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving, she adds. Besides being rich in fiber, kiwi is an excellent source of vitamin C.
A high-fiber diet can help regulate blood sugar levels. The fiber-rich fruits can be a part of a diabetic-friendly diet when consumed in moderation. Consuming high-fiber fruits helps to reach a satiety level soon and helps in avoiding overeating and weight loss.