Strawberries for diabetes: Is it healthy?

Sweet fruits are often restricted in a diabetes diet because they may spike blood sugar levels. But what about strawberries? Are these healthy for diabetics?

Strawberries boast a vibrant red colour, juicy texture, and delightful sweetness. In fact, the aromatic fragrance makes them more appealing. From cheesecakes to salads and smoothies, strawberries enhance the flavour of almost every dish. Rich in vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants, they are not only delicious but also nutritious. But because they are sweet, people who have diabetes avoid eating strawberries. Yet, according to a nutritionist, diabetics can enjoy strawberries in moderation, offering benefits worth exploring further. Read on to learn why strawberries for diabetes might not be a bad idea!

Are strawberries beneficial for those with diabetes?

Strawberries have a sweet and tart flavour. Being an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, they are widely enjoyed for their taste and nutritional benefits. This fibre-rich fruit is low in calories and high in nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants, which is why strawberries are considered beneficial for people with diabetes. Here are 5 ways in which strawberries can help manage diabetes:

1. Low glycemic index (GI)

Despite their natural sweetness, strawberries have a low glycemic index. This means they can help prevent spikes and crashes in blood glucose levels.

strawberry
Strawberries are packed with a plethora of health benefits. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. High in fibre

Strawberries are rich in dietary fibre, which slows down the absorption of sugar and improves blood sugar levels. Additionally, fibre also promotes digestion and satiety, helping to manage weight, another important factor in diabetes management.

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3. Antioxidants

A study published in Food and Nutrition suggests that strawberries are packed with antioxidants, such as anthocyanin, which may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties. “Anti-inflammatory effects in strawberries are known to decrease insulin resistance,” says Nutritionist Dr Rohini Patil.

4. Weight management

Obesity is a leading cause of diabetes. Eating strawberries can help manage weight because they are low in calories and have a high water content.

5. Promotes heart health

Diabetes increases the risk of heart problems. Strawberries can support heart health by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, reducing oxidative stress, and improving blood vessel function.

All of these benefits of consuming strawberries can be beneficial for people with diabetes.

So, can a diabetic eat strawberries?

Yes, diabetics can consume strawberries as part of a balanced diet. However, it’s essential to be mindful of portion size. Since strawberries contain carbohydrates, they can cause a spike in blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities.

Woman eating strawberry
Try strawberries to improve your diabetes. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

“One cup of sliced strawberries contains approximately 11 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2.9 grams are dietary fibre. Hence, including strawberries in moderation, along with other low-glycemic index foods, can help individuals with diabetes by managing their blood sugar levels effectively,” suggests Patil.

How to consume strawberries to manage diabetes?

Strawberries can be part of your balanced diet, even if you have diabetes. Here’s how to eat strawberries the right way:

1. As a snack

Eating fresh strawberries is one of the simplest ways to enjoy this fruit. Wash them thoroughly with salt or vinegar and enjoy them as a snack.

2. Add to recipes

You may also incorporate strawberries into salads, yoghurt, or oatmeal for added flavour and nutrition.

2. Pair them with protein

“Pairing strawberries with protein-rich or healthy fat-containing foods can help minimise the impact on blood sugar levels. For example, enjoy strawberries with a handful of nuts or seeds, or pair them with cottage cheese or Greek yoghurt for a satisfying and balanced snack,” advises Patil.

When enjoying strawberries, steer clear of adding additional sugar or sweeteners and avoid paring them with sweet fruits such as mangoes. The most important thing – eat strawberries in moderation!

Other tips to manage diabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains, while limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Add low-glycemic foods to your regular diet, as they have a gradual and steady increase in blood sugar levels compared to high-GI foods.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to control blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay well hydrated.
  • Practise meditation and yoga to manage your stress levels.
  • Follow prescribed medication and insulin regimen as directed by your healthcare professional.
  • Monitor blood sugar levels regularly and attend regular check-ups to detect and address any fluctuations.