Great question and what we hear the most is eat more! But which fruits and vegetables are going to have the least impact on blood glucose? The benefits of a healthy diet are key to your overall success in managing your diabetes.
Using a tool called the glycemic index may be helpful in determining which fruits and vegetables are best. The glycemic index is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood glucose levels. It measures how much each gram of available carbohydrate in a food will raise a person’s blood glucose level following consumption. Pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100, so choosing from the lower end of the glycemic index of foods is a good choice. Keeping your choices at a low-medium glycemic index may be the perfect tool for you. A lower glycemic index number denotes a slower rate of digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate from the food, therefore, less of a rise in blood glucose overall.
Remember to check your blood sugar after a meal (1-2 hours after a meal-depending on your physician’s recommendation) to determine how the foods that you ate impacted your blood glucose. We are all different and you may find that a food that tends to raise the blood sugar of a friend or family member doesn’t seem to have the same impact on you.
Non-starchy vegetables are generally lower in carbohydrate and, when consumed in raw form, we can have a nice size serving of usually 1 cup. Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals-chemical compounds found naturally in plants that have the potential to positively affect many disease states, i.e. cancer, stroke and metabolic , to name a few. Here is the list of low-medium index vegetables-note that these vegetables are usually higher in water content than their starchier counterparts-for example: dried beans/peas/legumes; potatoes; sweet potatoes; winter (hard-shelled squash; corn; carrots, to name a few.
The list for low glycemic index fruits is not long but there are still a variety of fruits to choose from and most people will benefit from eating fruit on a daily basis. Fruit is easy to digest and offers a quick source of energy. Fruit also provided fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Checking your blood glucose and choosing foods wisely is the best advice. Some people find that having fruit in the context of a meal has less of a negative impact on blood sugar. Dried-fruit will have higher sugar content and less water than the fresh varieties, so choosing fresh is usually a better choice.
A website listing the glycemic index of fruits and vegetables can be found here: http://www.lowglycemicdiet.com