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Dry fruits or dehydrated fruits are a powerhouse of nutrients and also a treat for your taste buds. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and dietary fibres and are also well known for their long shelf-life. Dry fruits are also rich in phenolic antioxidants that have numerous health benefits.
Nuts, on the other hand, are rich in proteins and healthy fats. Together, they form a healthy snack for diabetics. Let’s find out how dry fruits and nuts are beneficial in lowering your blood sugar levels and take a look at the most recommended ones for diabetics.
What are Dry Fruits and Nuts?
Dry fruits are fruits that have been dried to remove their water content. This is done naturally, through sun drying, or by using specialized dryers or dehydrators. Dry fruits retain the nutritional value of fruits and therefore arebeneficial for your health. Raisins are the most commonly known dry fruits, followed by dates, prunes, figs, and apricots.
Nuts can be categorized as a fruit, a legume or a seed. Botanically they are classified as a fruit that have a single edible seed with a hard outer shell. Nuts that are commonly consumed include almonds, cashews, walnuts and Brazil nuts.
Dry fruits and nuts can be consumed as a snack or can be mixed with your favourite dishes. But is it ok to have them regularly if you have diabetes? Let’s find out.
Are Dry Fruits and Nuts Good for Diabetics?
Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. It occurs when your body is unable to produce or utilize the hormone insulin efficiently. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and it helps your body regulate blood sugar levels. Having a nutritious diet plays a crucial role in managing diabetes. Dry fruits or nuts can be a healthy addition to your diet (especially as a snack) and can help you control your blood sugar levels.
Dry fruits and nuts are highly nutritious and have a low glycemic index (GI). Glycemic index refers to a value assigned to a food based on how much and how quickly it raises your blood sugar levels after consumption. They are also rich in fibre. Fibrous foods help keep you full for longer, preventing frequent snacking and thereby, reducing your calorie intake. These factors make them a perfect snack for diabetics.
Though diabetics can consume most dry fruits and nuts, here are a few common ones, listed with their benefits.
Top 6 Dry Fruits and Nuts for Diabetic Patients
Raisins are dried grapes with a sweet and sour flavour. They are rich in antioxidants and in dietary fibre that help in keeping you full for longer. This curbs your hunger pangs and controls your blood sugar levels. Raisins are also a good source of iron and therefore can prevent anaemia (a condition where you lack a sufficient amount of healthy red blood cells). Anaemia can put you at risk of developing complications from diabetes such as heart and kidney diseases. You can consume them raw or add them to yoghurt, cereals, or salads.
Dates are a rich source of vitamins (such as vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B5), and minerals like iron and magnesium. Magnesium plays an important role in keeping your blood sugar levels in check by improving insulin sensitivity. The high fibre content in dates keeps you satiated for long periods and also slows down the absorption of glucose. Dates can thus be a perfect snack for diabetics. They can be consumed raw or can be added to your cereals, salads, or smoothies.
Regular consumption of cashews helps reduce your blood sugar levels as they have a low GI index of 25 and the oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid) content in them increases the good cholesterol levels in your body. It can thus reduce the risk of heart diseases. Moreover, the amino acid arginine found in them also decreases blood pressure. Cashews can also fulfil the daily requirement of copper, an important mineral required by the body. Cashews can be relished in raw form or can be added to your salads or snacks.
These are rich in protein and fibre. Almonds not only help control the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients, but one serving of this dry fruit also fulfils the daily requirement of magnesium. Low levels of magnesium are associated with insulin resistance and increase the risk of diabetes. They can be consumed raw or can be soaked overnight and eaten the next day. You can also add them to your smoothies, cookies, or protein bars.
Walnuts are low in carbohydrates, the nutrient that raises blood sugar levels more than nutrients such as protein and fat. Additionally, walnuts are loaded with protein, healthy fats, and fibre, which may help to limit the “sudden spike” in blood sugars. that can occur after eating foods high in carbohydrates. These factors make them a nutritious snack for diabetics. You can soak walnuts overnight and consume them in the morning. You can also add them to your salads, cereals, or yoghurt.
Having pistachios can be a great option for diabetics to maintain the targeted levels of blood glucose. Studies suggest that these nuts are rich in natural phenolic compounds and in magnesium, both of which may contribute to their anti-glycemic effects. This helps reduces the HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) levels in diabetics and can also effectively reduce their cholesterol levels. They are rich in proteins and healthy fats too. They can be consumed raw or can be added to your cereals, salads, yoghurt, or smoothies.[Note: Avoid dry fruits or nuts with added salt, sugar, caramel syrup, honey or chocolate coating, etc., since they are high in carbs and not the best option when you have diabetes.]
Glycemic Index and Serving Size of Dry Fruits and Nuts
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Risks of Overconsumption of Dry Fruits and Nuts in Diabetic
Dry fruits, no doubt have a high nutritional value, but consuming more than the recommended quantities per day can cause unwanted complications such as:
- Problems with digestion: As dry fruits have high fibre content, they promote regular bowel movements, but consuming them in excess may disrupt your digestive system. It can lead to problems such as bloating, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and constipation.
- Hyperkalemia: Dry fruits are high in potassium. Consuming too much potassium can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia (kidney disorder), especially in those who have advanced kidney disease. It is a condition that affects the normal functioning of your kidneys where they are unable to remove the excess potassium in the body.
- Weight gain: Dry fruits are much higher in calories when compared to their fresh counterparts. Therefore, if you do not keep an eye on your portion size, it can lead to weight gain.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Dry fruits or dehydrated fruits are a powerhouse of nutrients and also a treat for your taste buds. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and dietary fibres and are also well known for their long shelf-life. Nuts, on the other hand, are rich in proteins and healthy fats.
- Dry fruits and nuts can be a healthy addition to your diet and can help you control your blood sugar levels.
- Dry fruits or nuts have a low glycemic index (GI). Glycemic index refers to a value assigned to a food based on how much and how quickly it raises your blood sugar levels after consumption.
- They are also rich in fibre. Fibrous foods help keep you full for longer, preventing frequent snacking. These factors make dry fruits and nuts a perfect snack for diabetics.
- You can include dry fruits like raisins, dates and nuts such as, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts in your daily diet to control your blood sugar levels.
- Make sure to avoid dry fruits or nuts with added salt, sugar, honey or caramel syrup, in order to avoid a spike in your glucose levels. Also, keep a watch on the portion size.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Friendly Asked Questions
Dry fruits and nuts are high in fibre and have a low glycemic index which makes them an ideal snack for diabetics. With diabetes, you can consume almonds, dates, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts or raisins.
It is recommended to avoid dry fruits that are artificially sweetened or coated. These are usually high in carbs and can lead to an increase in your blood sugar levels or blood pressure.
Yes, diabetics can consume dry fruits as they are highly nutritious, loaded with fibre, and have a low glycemic index. If you a diabetic, you can add raisins and dates to your daily diet.
Kaju or cashews are good for diabetics as it contains healthy fats, and is also rich in dietary fibre. It supports weight loss and also controls your blood sugar levels.
Badam or almonds form a healthy snack for diabetics as they help control the rise in your blood glucose levels after food. They are high in fibre and can slow down the absorption of glucose in the body.
You can consume 6 to 8 almonds in a day. These are highly recommended for diabetics as they are rich in protein and fibre. They can be consumed raw or can be soaked overnight and served the next day. You can also add them to your smoothies, cookies, or protein bars.
Cashews do not raise your blood sugar levels, it in fact lowers your blood glucose. They are high in dietary fibre and have a low glycemic index.