3 Citrus Fruits for Better Type 2 Diabetes Management
When trying to manage type 2 diabetes (T2D), my clients often ask me, "Is fruit okay to eat?" Often, fruit gets a bad reputation. While it may be considered "nature's candy," it also comes packed with health benefits like fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals – especially in citrus.1
Check out 3 fruits that deserve to be your "main squeeze" as part of a balanced type 2 diabetes eating plan.
Blood oranges for type 2 diabetes
While this fruit may look like a plain old orange on the outside, its dark red interior helps add an antioxidant-rich boost to every bite. Red foods such as blood oranges are rich in anthocyanins – a group of antioxidants that help improve cognition.1
Research shows that anthocyanins may help improve insulin sensitivity and overall disease risk among people with T2D. This powerful phytonutrient also contains anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Finally, anthocyanins may also positively affect cardiovascular disease risk, which people with T2D are more likely to have.1
If you find the benefits of blood oranges "a-peel-ing," check out these tasty ways to add them to your daily routine.
Sweet salads with blood orange
Create a refreshing and colorful salad by combining blood orange with navel orange, shaved fennel, slivered almonds, pomegranate seeds, and a tangy vinaigrette.
Sipping a blood orange spritzer
Cut down on your fruit juice or soda consumption by creating an irresistibly fruity mocktail. For a crafty way to stick to your health goals, simply combine a splash of blood orange juice with sparkling water and your favorite herbs, such as:
For those who prefer a sweet treat, add a pinch of stevia. Serve in a fancy glass.
Lemon juice's benefits for T2D
Lemon juice can help improve your health while adding a tang to your tastebuds. Research shows that lemon juice may help control blood sugar (glucose) by flattening out the spikes that typically follow a meal. Specifically, it helps block an enzyme responsible for breaking down starches.2
This slowed digestion ultimately helps stabilize blood sugars, decreasing possible problems with your blood vessels that the spikes may cause. In other words, adding lemon juice to your favorite starchy meal may be a tasty yet effective way to control blood sugar.2
Not to mention, lemons are also rich in vitamin C and can help protect endothelial function important in managing blood pressure. If you want to reap the benefits of lemon juice, here are some tasty ideas to try!3
Salad dressing with lemon juice
Swap out creamy dressings for a tangy twist! Add a citrus flare to your greens by combining lemon juice with olive oil, salt, ground pepper, and herbs. Homemade dressings can help you avoid the hidden sugars often found in premade salad dressings. My clients love mixing tahini with lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and stevia or maple syrup. You can control the carbs while personalizing the flavor.
Refreshing lemon sorbet
Enjoy a refreshing sorbet by combing lemon juice with shaved ice and stevia. Personally, I love including mint as an extra-refreshing way to elevate the flavor profile. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite!
Small and nutritious kumquats
This citrus fruit may look like an orange but is approximately the size of a grape or olive. Don't be fooled by their small size! Kumquats pack a powerful punch of nutritious goodness. For starters, they are an excellent source of fiber, containing approximately 6.5 grams of fiber per 5 fruits.4
Diets high in fiber can help improve blood glucose control, mealtime satiety, weight management, cardiovascular health, and bowel function. Kumquats are also abundant in antioxidants, which may help reduce chronic inflammation and disease risk. Like lemons, kumquats are an excellent source of vitamin C – helping to control blood glucose and maintain healthy bones, skin, and blood vessels. Check out the ideas below to enjoy more kumquats!4
Elevate your breakfasts with a kumquat jelly. You'll avoid the sugars often found in many store-bought jams while also adding a healthy twist! Add it to your oatmeal, yogurt, or whole-grain toast.
Cooked kumquats are a true culinary experience. Simply slice up the fruit, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss in the oven. Include them as a topper to your favorite lean protein or paired with other roasted veggies. It's an easy way to add a delicious and nutritious citrus treat to any meal.
Do you enjoy any of these citrus fruits? Share in the comments below!
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