Have you also been asking to know What Natural Fruits are Good for Diabetics in Nigeria?
Contrary to the popular belief about diabetic patients avoiding all sugary fruits, there are natural fruits that are actually good for diabetics because they are low in calories, high in fiber and rank low in the glycemic index. However, the sugar content in some natural fruits too can cause a spike in blood sugar level for diabetics.
Studies show that most health risks are linked to the consumption of unhealthy sugars in processed foods not from sugars that are naturally present in fruits .According to World Health Organization (WHO) publication, about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries like Nigeria, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. The analysis done by United Nations suggests that 11.2 million Nigerians( 1 out of every 17 adults) live with this disease.
In this article, I will highlight some of the natural fruits that are good for diabetics in Nigeria. You do not have to eliminate all sugary foods from your diet but you have to keep vigilance over your diet plan as a diabetic.
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What Natural fruits are good for diabetics in Nigeria?
Natural fruits are packed with essential minerals and vitamins which forms an integral part of our diet for overall good health. Whether one is diabetic or not, it is necessary to eat fruits everyday in other to have a balanced diet. An important part of diabetes management is being able to control the sugar level in your blood. Consumption of low glycemic index fruits or low sugar fruits is the best for diabetics. So with that in mind , let’s look at some of the fruits that are good for diabetics in Nigeria.
Grapefruit is an excellent choice in the meal plan for diabetics. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals and its flavour ranges from bittersweet to sour. Grapefruit offers a whole lot of health benefits like improving heart health and blood pressure. It is low in calories but high in nutrients. Grapefruit does not impact a person’s blood sugar levels negatively, hence its low on the glycemic index(measure of how quickly a food raises your blood sugar). It can be eaten whole or as a juice.
Soursop are found mainly in southern Nigeria is high in fibre and contains vitamin C in large quantities as well as other minerals and vitamins. It is a medicinal plant that has been used widely in treating some illnesses naturally. Studies by various researches shows that it is anti-cancerous, anti-diabetes, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-malarial. Among the antioxidants found in soursop is flavonoids which helps to regulate blood sugar. It can be eaten alone or used in combination of other fruits to make fruit ice cream.
3. African Cherry
African Cherry is an excellent choice to include in your diet if you have diabetes. Studies has shown that African cherry popularly known in Nigeria as Agbalumo or Udara, has certain properties that are fruitful in the management of diabetes and heart diseases. The fruit is rich in calcium, fiber, vitamin C and A and several antioxidants that helps the body to fight against diseases. The leaves of African cherry helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
There is a general saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are rich in fiber, vitamin C and several antioxidants. One may think that apples contain carbs but the fiber in them helps to neutralize this effect and maintain the blood sugar level. Fiber helps slow down the digestion process and very slowly releases the glucose in the bloodstream. Its good news for diabetics.
Avocado popularly known as avocado pear in Nigeria is a very common fruit. The nutritious fruit can be eaten alone or used in eating rice. Avocado is high in fiber and low in carb and as such helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and heart healthy fats. Avocado can also help with weight loss and reduce cholesterol in the body
Plums has a delicious and juicy taste and are high in vitamins and minerals, fiber and different antioxidants. Plum is an excellent choice in the diet plan for diabetic patients because it has a low glycemic index. It helps to regulate your blood sugar level due to its fiber content that slows the rate at your body absorbs carbs after a meal hence controlling the blood sugar level. Plums also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Guava is a tropical fruit that originated from America but locally grown in Nigeria. It is an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants and also high in fiber. Research has it that guava regulates blood sugar levels and also improves heart health. Drinking guava leaf tea also helps in reducing blood sugar.
Kiwis are high in nutrients and low in calories. They are excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants and also high in fiber. Kiwifruit has a low glycemic index and is therefore an excellent choice in the diet of diabetics. The high fiber content in Kiwi slows down the uptake of glucose into the bloodstream thereby regulating the blood sugar level. Studies also shows that kiwi improves sleep, heart health and manages blood pressure.
Oranges are common fruits found everywhere. They are popularly grown in all parts of Nigeria. when you think about oranges, vitamin C and citrus come to mind but its more than that. Citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemon, limes and oranges contain vitamin A and Iron. The nutrients in them reduces inflammation and also protects the heart. The folate and potassium helps in controlling diabetes. Rich in Fiber and low glycemic index(GI), they are one of those fruits that slowly gets released into the bloodstream. Its better to eat it whole than to drink the juice.
Pears are very tasty and a great choice for your diet if you have diabetes. Their nutritional benefits can actually help in managing the condition. They help to regulate the blood sugar level because of their low glycemic index. Pears are also rich in nutrients and vitamins that have several health benefits like fighting inflammation and helping with digestion. Make sure to eat the fruits whole without peeling off the back because most of the nutritional goodness comes with the fruit jacket.
11. Blueberries & Strawberries
Strawberries and blueberries are nutritious fruits that are packed with vitamins and minerals. They contain more vitamin C than oranges. Berries have low glycemic index and are totally safe for diabetics. They have several nutrients like antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C and are perfect to kill those sweet tooth cravings. They are also known for their detox properties that makes the immune system strong.
Grapes are sweet fruits that are rich in several nutrients and antioxidants. Studies show that these antioxidants – resveratrol and quercetin found in grapes may protect against heart disease, high blood sugar levels and cancer. It is a good choice to include in your diet if you have diabetes because it ranks low in the glycemic index which means it will not spike your blood sugar level. But it should be eaten in moderation.
Fruits to avoid in diabetics
These fruits are not totally bad but you can have them as an occasional treat as a diabetic, maybe on your birthday or wedding anniversary. They should not form part of your daily diet plan. Below are some of these fruits;
Banana is an excellent choice of food for your morning breakfast. It helps you to stay active throughout the day. Diabetics should avoid them though its healthy for everyone else. Bananas are high in carbs, sugar and calories. Eating it causes a spike in blood sugar. Although it is rich in fiber, it is not advisable for diabetics to eat it because a medium sized banana contains 14g of sugar.
Pineapples are referred to as one of the healthiest fruits on earth. They are high in vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants. But unfortunately, they are not good news for diabetics. They rank high in the glycemic index and can cause spikes in blood sugar. If you still wish to take this fruit, do it occasionally and with foods low in carbohydrates. Keep watch on your total carbohydrate intake for a wholesome balanced diabetic diet.
Mangoes are often referred to as the king of the fruits. It is a nutritive and tropical fruit that is rich in essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. But sadly, it is a no-go for diabetics. They are high in carbs, calories and sugar which can cause spikes in blood sugar. But if you still wish to eat it, go for the firm ones not pulpy ones and eat it occasionally.
Watermelons offer several health benefits and a variety of nutrients and minerals ranging from vitamin A, B and C to folate, fiber and magnesium. They are loaded with antioxidants and contain lots of sugar. If eaten in large quantities can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. With a glycemic index of 72, it should be completely avoided or eaten in moderation.
Papaya generally known as pawpaw in Nigeria is a tropical fruit that is rich in essential amino acids, high in vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. It is common, popular and its color varies from yellow to red. Paw paw are fleshy fruits that can be eaten alone or used in the combination of other fruits in fruit salad and smoothies. Though healthy for everyone else, it should be eaten in moderation by diabetics. With a medium Glycemic Index, it can cause spikes in blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantiles. Eat occasionally if you wish to eat it.
Over the years, date has become a popular alternatives to sugar. Being dried , they are highly concentrated with calories and sugar. Just 1/4 cup of dates has 100 calories therefore a no go for diabetics. Dried fruits have higher sugar content than fresh fruits so consume fruits in their fresh state.
Living with diabetes comes with a lot of challenges but it doesn’t mean death sentence. You only need to keep vigilance on what you eat along with getting a good amount of exercise. Sticking to low glycemic natural fruits will help you keep your blood sugar level in check.
Also read: Nigerian Foods for Diabetics
Importance Of Constant Check On Your Blood Sugar Level
In other to manage your diabetes effectively, there is need to monitor your blood sugar level regularly. By so doing you will be able to make changes in your diet plan where necessary, know what works for you, fruits to incorporate in your meal plan and those to avoid, drugs to take and the kind of fitness program to imbibe. All of these will help forestall long-term complications associated with diabetes like blindness, kidney disease, stroke, heart attack and amputation. Your health care provider will advice;
- when and how often to check your blood sugar levels depending on your age and other underlying health conditions.
- on what your target blood sugar range should be in other to minimize the ugly symptoms of high or low blood sugar.
- If there are patterns that suggest the need to change your diabetes treatment.
- the meaning of the figures you get.
- on the areas you need to improve in your diabetes management.
You can save your results with most of the blood sugar meters. Though there are different kinds of meters, they all work the same way.
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