The best foods for diabetes are most often non-processed whole foods, like fruits and vegetables. Many fruits are proven to have good nutritional value for diabetics – apples, grapes, peaches, and different kinds of berries. Cherries also seem to be one of the best fruits for people with diabetes. Known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, cherries contain a lot of vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids, each of which may have a role in cancer prevention.
So, what makes cherries an excellent food for people with diabetes?
The Fruit with the Lowest Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) tells you how quickly foods containing carbohydrates impact your sugar levels. Combined with the glycemic load (which takes into account the grams of carbs), it can be a good indicator of how a certain food will affect your blood sugar. The fruits with the lowest GI and GL values are considered the best fruits for diabetics.
Although they pack a tasty combination of sweet and sour, cherries are the fruit with the lowest glycemic index. With a GI of 22 and a GL of 6, cherries are number one, followed by grapefruit (GI=25, GL=3) and dried apricots (GI=39, GL=9).
Research suggests that inflammation inside the body may play an important part in the development of type 2 diabetes. Insulin impacts the fat cells around our internal organs, and those cells release chemicals that might lead to inflammation.
Cherries are known for their anti-inflammatory ability and may benefit our immune system in the long run.
The Effect of Anthocyanins
Another reason why cherries are one of the best fruits for diabetics is a group of chemicals called anthocyanins. Research shows that they can be useful in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, impacting the insulin levels in the cells of rodents. And guess which fruit is extremely anthocyanin-rich? That’s right – cherries.
When confronted with a choice between canned or fresh cherries, always go for fresh ones. Canned fruit often have added sugars that can spike your blood sugar levels. Additionally, you want to consider pairing all your fruit with some nuts, to balance the glycemic load.