Fruits That Prevent Diabetes


Fruits that prevent diabetes should be part of everyone’s diet to prevent cancer and other diseases. Diabetes has emerged as a global epidemic that continues to claim more victims every year. The good news is, fruits (especially berries) can lower our risk of getting this disease.

 The Best Fruits For Preventing Diabetes


In a study published in the BMJ in July 2013, researchers from Harvard University found that eating whole fruits can reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, but some are more effective than others at warding off the disease.

The report used data from three long-running health studies that included 151,209 women and 36,173 men, where participants sent back questionnaires about their lifestyle, diet, and health — specifically any diseases they’d developed — every few years for at least two decades.

The researchers asked about 10 fruits: grapes or raisins, peaches, plums or apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples or pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and blueberries.

Blueberries were most effective in preventing diabetes, followed by grapes and then apples. Bananas and grapefruit were also good. Strawberries did not have much of an effect and cantaloupe slightly increased the risk for type 2 diabetes.

See the chart below:


On the flip side, drinking all kinds of fruit juice, including apple, orange, and grapefruit, was associated with a higher risk of the disease. Replacing three servings of fruit juice each week with blueberries decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 33% on average, according to the study.

People with type 2 diabetes do not make enough of the hormone insulin, which pulls sugar (glucose) out of the bloodstream and into our cells to be stored and released later. Without enough insulin, bloodsugar hits spikes and troughs.

Researchers suggest that blueberries, red grapes, and apples may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes because they contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have been shown to increase glucose uptake in mice with diabetes.

 Foods People Should Eat Every Day to Help Prevent Diabetes

There’s no magical cure for diabetes, but you can take measures to decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A lot of our risk is genetic but lifestyle factors-such as exercise and a healthy diet-can reduce your risk. So what exactly is considered a healthy diet for preventing diabetes? Here are five foods that you can eat every day to reduce your risk.


Nuts and Dried Fruit

Consistently spiked blood sugar is one of the risk factors for diabetes, and the more you snack on refined carbs, the more unstable your blood sugar becomes. To curb those afternoon carb cravings, snack on foods high in protein and fat-such as nuts-to keep you full until dinnertime. Additionally, nuts are high in polyunsaturated fats-which have been linked to slowing the development of type 2 diabetes.


jar of oatmeal with fruit and nuts

With four grams of fiber in a one-cup serving of oatmeal, enjoying a bowl for breakfast will keep you full for a long time-and may even prevent you from snacking before lunch. A recent study found that people who ate the most fiber-more than 26 grams a day-lowered their odds of developing type 2 diabetes by 18 percent, compared to those who consumed the least (less than 19 grams daily). Fiber helps keep blood sugar steady which may help you lower your risk of developing diabetes.


citrus salad

Aside from providing a wealth of vitamins and minerals, eating fruit on a daily basis will decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Since a diet high in fiber has been known to reduce the risk of diabetes, you’ll want to focus on fruits that are high in fiber-such as apples (including the skin!), berries and citrus fruits.


cooked broccoli on a plate

Although all vegetables should have a place in your diet, it’s important to focus on green and non-starchy vegetables when it comes to preventing diabetes. Cruciferous vegetables-such as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts provide you with vitamins and minerals to keep your body running smoothly (and also deliver fiber). Aside from their fiber content, cruciferous veggies contain sulforaphane-an anti-inflammatory compound that may protect against blood vessels damage associated with diabetes and help control blood sugar. Additionally, spinach is a great source of magnesium, which helps your body use insulin to control your blood sugar levels.


chickpea curry

From chickpeas to lentils, legumes are so versatile and great for reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Not only are they packed with fiber that will help stabilize your blood sugar, but they’re chock-full of protein that will keep you full and prevent you from snacking to help maintain your weight-which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Which Foods Should I Eat to Prevent Diabetes?

Which Foods Should I Eat to Prevent Diabetes?

The Best Foods To Prevent Diabetes Don’t Have To Taste Bad!

You have a choice if you know that you have prediabetes or high risk for diabetes. The first option is to do nothing and almost certainly develop diabetes within years. The other option is to do something, and dramatically lower your risk for diabetes. The second choice makes the most sense because prediabetes treatment with healthy eating and other lifestyle choices is so effective at preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes. 

Including healthy foods regularly instead of less healthy ones can help with blood sugar and provide a wealth of other health benefits, such as more energy, a healthier heart, and lower blood pressure. The following foods may help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Almost every choice you make day and night can affect blood sugar levels, and Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can guide you in healthy decisions. This personalized coaching program uses proven methods to lower risk for type 2 diabetes. See if you are eligible below.

1. Whole Grains

Whole Grains

Whole grains may be high in carbohydrates, but research published in European Journal of Epidemiology and other studies have found that high whole grain consumption is linked to lower risk of developing diabetes. Their benefits may be related to their fiber and antioxidants. You do not need to add a ton of carbohydrates to your diet to add whole grains. In most cases, you can substitute whole grains for refined carbohydrates that you are already having. Harvard Medical School has many suggestions for swapping whole grains for refined.

Here is a list of healthy foods to eat to prevent diabetes:

Instead of…Try…
White bread, rolls, buns, pita, bagels, tortillas, or English muffins.Whole wheat or whole grain bread, rolls, buns, pita, bagels, tortillas, or English muffins
White pasta and riceWhole-grain pasta and brown rice or another whole grain, such as quinoa or barley
Refined breakfast cereal or cream of wheatWhole-grain cereal, such as shredded wheat, bran flakes, or oatmeal
White crackersWhole grain crackers
Potato or tortilla chipsPopcorn
Regular baked goodsBaked goods substituting whole wheat flour for half of the white flour in recipes.

2. Broccoli

What to Do with That Broccoli

Eating more vegetables of any type can lower risk for type 2 diabetes, and broccoli is among the healthiest. It and other cruciferous vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, have fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium, according to Linus Pauling Institute. Some people find that they have a bitter taste, but you can try cooking them longer to reduce that taste.

Try these ideas for getting more cruciferous vegetables!
Use broccoli in tofu, chicken, or shrimp stir fry with other vegetables.
Roast Brussels sprouts or cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
Make coleslaw with shredded cabbage, shaved brussels sprouts, or broccoli slaw mix and lemon juice, paprika, crushed garlic, black pepper, and olive oil.
Add cooked broccoli and cauliflower florets to pasta sauce and casseroles.
Make “broccomole” using pureed cooked broccoli plus mashed avocado in guacamole.
Use broccoli florets when making cheese omelets.
Add shredded cabbage to fish tacos or tuna salad.
Make whole-grain pasta salad with broccoli florets, olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.

3. Spinach


The more vegetables, the better for preventing diabetes, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce are excellent choices. They are not only sources of fiber, calcium, and vitamin A, but also are low enough in calories to help with weight loss. You can eat kale and spinach raw or cooked and still expect a wealth of benefits. Iceberg lettuce is lower in most nutrients, but romaine, radicchio, endive, and spring mix are all nutrient-rich.

Ways to Eat SpinachWays to Eat KaleWays to Eat Lettuce
Raw in salads instead of lettuce or cooked as a simple side dishAs chips baked with a drizzle of olive oil and (optional), lime, paprika, chili powder, parmesan cheese, and/or a dash of sea saltAs a side salad with tomato, cucumber, and a splash of dressing
In scrambled eggs or omelets with feta or other cheese or baked into egg white muffinsShredded and massaged with sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seedsGrill a romaine heart with olive oil and lemon juice
In dips, such as cooked and blended with garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, and cumin to make hummusIn soup with beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, low-sodium broth, and any other vegetablesAs a main course salad with other raw vegetables, nuts or seeds, and cheese, tofu, beans, chicken, or tuna
In pasta sauce or tossed with whole-grain pasta or spiralized zucchini, cooked chicken breast, and olive oilIn a salad with quinoa or whole-grain couscous, avocado, bell pepper, Dijon mustard, and olive oilAs full leaves as sandwich fillings or shredded to top burritos and tacos
Added to soups and stews near the end of cooking so it just wilts.As a salad with edamame (green soybeans), baked salmon, and Asian dressingInstead of buns for burgers and instead of tortillas for wraps

4. Blueberries


Blueberries regularly appear on various “Superfoods Lists,” and that trend continues with this list. Research has found a lower risk of diabetes in people who eat more blueberries. Grapes, apples, pears, peaches, plums, and apricots were also linked to lower risk in research published in British Medical Journal. Nutrients in these fruit include fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and countless antioxidants that together may protect against heart disease and Alzheimer’s along with diabetes. Choose fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit, since high fruit juice consumption may actually increase diabetes risk. Read more about which foods can spike your blood sugar and your glycemic index.

Fruit Morning, Noon, and Night
For BreakfastFor Snack and DessertFor Lunch and Dinner
Amp up oatmeal with blueberries and chia seed, banana and walnuts, or apple and cinnamonMix peaches or blueberries into cottage cheese or yogurtStir blueberries or banana slices into whole-wheat pancake batterFresh fruit makes a simple snack.Add nuts or seeds to fruit saladBake cored apples or pears with cinnamonFreeze grapes for a snackPuree frozen chunks of banana to have as a healthy ice cream swapAdd a handful of grapes or blueberries to a main course saladMake fruit salsa with peaches and cooked pear and serve over fishTop a whole-grain English muffin with peanut butter and apple or plum slices

5. Grapefruit


Grapefruits and oranges are both linked to lower risk for diabetes as are citrus fruits as a group.These fruits include tangerines, mandarins, clementines, lemons, and limes. They are known for their vitamin C content, and they also have flavonoids and soluble fiber, which is the type that lower cholesterol. Citrus fruits are lower-glycemic than many types of fruit, so they do not cause such a spike in blood sugar levels. Ask your doctor before eating grapefruits if you are on any medications because a compound in grapefruits can interact with certain cholesterol, blood pressure, allergy, and other medications.

Grapefruits, Oranges, and Tangerines are Everywhere!

  • Eat citrus fruit for snacks or with your breakfast or lunch
  • Toss tangerine or clementine segments into a salad with spinach or arugula, blue cheese, beets, and red onion…or any salad of your choice
  • Make citrus salsa with oranges, lime zest, tomato, diced onion, vinegar, cilantro, and olive oil, and serve over chicken, tofu, or fish
  • Use lemon juice in salad dressings and dips such as hummus
  • Use lime juice in salsa, guacamole and marinades, and add to soup just before serving
  • Stew chicken with oranges, olives, low-sodium broth, fennel, and tomatoes
  • Add slices of orange, lime, lemon, or grapefruit to ice water

6. Plain Yogurt

Is Yogurt a Healthy Food?

Dairy products fall out of favor occasionally in the media, but the evidence generally supports the benefits of yogurt, including for preventing diabetes, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Yogurt is rich in calcium and high-quality protein, and though it contains sugar, the only kind of sugar in plain yogurt is natural. Yogurt with active cultures also contains probiotics, which support a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. If you have been avoiding dairy products because of lactose intolerance, you may be surprised to discover that some people can handle a bit of yogurt. Try Greek yogurt to start since it has less lactose. Choose plain rather than flavored yogurt to avoid added sugars or artificial sweeteners, and look for nonfat yogurt to keep calories down.

Eat Yogurt out of the Container……Or Use It in Recipes
Plain as a snack anywhereWith fruit or nuts mixed inInstead of sour cream as a topping for baked sweet potatoesIn a parfait layered with fruit and oats, unsweetened shredded wheat, or other whole-grain cerealIn marinades for chicken or fishIn chicken, egg, or tuna salad or coleslaw instead of mayonnaiseInstead of sour cream when making creamy salad dressingsAs a base for dips, such as a vegetable dip with garlic, dill, and lemon juice

7. Water

Vitamin water

Water is not technically a food, but it is a nutrient. More important is that researchers have found a high amount of evidence linking it to lower diabetes risk. Water naturally increases energy and since it is calorie-free, drinking water instead of caloric beverages such as juice may help with weight control. You may get double benefits if you choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, and sweetened coffee drinks, since these are independently linked to higher diabetes risk.

Tips for Drinking More WaterAlternatives to Plain Water
Set a timer to remind you to drink every hourFill a 32-oz. water bottle and drink it before lunchtime. Repeat in the afternoon.Set a pitcher of water on your desk or in the fridge where you will see itIce waterWater with lemon or lime wedges, basil or mint leaves, or cucumber or peach slicesHot or cold unsweetened decaffeinated green or black teaDecaffeinated black coffee

8. Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo and other beans, lentils, soybeans, and split peas have nutrients that can improve cholesterol profiles and lower blood pressure. Rich in fiber, protein, and more, these legumes can have the added benefit of substituting for fatty and processed meats, which are foods that raise diabetes risk. The uses for legumes are nearly limitless.

Ways to Eat Legumes

  • Use vegetarian sausage or bacon instead of the real thing.
  • Choose veggie burgers instead of beef patties, and soy crumbles instead of ground beef in chili, meatballs, meatloaf, and
  • Snack on roasted garbanzos or soybeans
  • Toss beans into salads as your protein source
  • Snack on fat-free refried beans with melted cheese, or serve over salad for a meal
  • Make lentil, bean, and pea soup for a burst of fiber and antioxidants

9. Carrots


Consumption of dark yellow vegetables are linked to lower risk for diabetes. These include carrots, winter squash such as butternut and acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. While it may be surprising that these higher-carb vegetables make the list, their impressive fiber, potassium, and vitamin A content helps explain it. Furthermore, you can often use these vegetables instead of potatoes, which are separately linked to higher diabetes risk.

Make Yellow Veggies Count by Skipping……And Eating…
Potato chips with dipCarrot sticks with dip
French fries or hash brownsBaked sweet potato strips drizzled with olive oil
Mashed potatoes with butterPureed acorn or butternut squash with almond milk and nutmeg
Leek and potato soup with creamButternut squash soup with leeks and milk
Potato pancakes Carrot, zucchini, and sweet potato pancakesPotato frittata Sweet potato and mushroom frittata

10. Avocados


These creamy fruits are high in fat, high in calories, and oh, so healthy. In one study, people who ate avocados regularly not only had a healthier overall diet, but also lower body weight and 50% lower risk for high blood sugar and other symptoms that make up so-called metabolic syndrome. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, along with antioxidants. Nuts and peanuts are similarly high in fat and provide some fiber, and also may improve weight and certain aspects of metabolic syndrome. Just stick to a small serving size of ¼ cup for avocados and 1 ounce for nuts and peanuts.

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