If you are looking for the best fruits to incorporate into your diabetes-friendly diet, the best place to begin is at breakfast. Starting your day off with a healthy meal sets you up for success throughout your day. Grapefruits are a breakfast staple, the slightly sweet and bitter taste is loved by many, but are they good for people living with diabetes?
Grapefruit has unique and even occasional negative interactions with at least 85 different drugs, including some common diabetic treatments such as Metformin and statins.
For those unfamiliar with the citrus tree fruit, should know that it is grown all over the world including the southern United States meaning its is commonly available at your local grocery store. Grapefruit is actually a natural hybrid of the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo and they do not require temperature control to be enjoyed at any meal or as a quick snack.
Since they are citrus fruits, you can count on them being an excellent source of Vitamin C. In fact, almost an entire day’s worth of Vitamin C can be found in a single grapefruit. Additionally you will bolster your diet with good levels of Vitamin A, B6, Potassium, and Magnesium. Additionally, they include plenty of antioxidants to boost your immune system while only containing 100 calories, 25g of carbohydrates and over 4g of fiber to make for a fulfilling snack or light meal.
Grapefruit is low on the glycemic index, clocking in at 25. Meaning a single grapefruit will not spike your blood sugar quickly and is relatively easy to dose insulin for. A 2013 study found that eating grapefruit regularly is associated significantly with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Flavonoids are compounds found in citrus fruits and have been shown to significantly lower the risk of stroke among women. The study by the American Heart Association found the risk of stroke was 19% lower among women who consumed the highest amount of citrus fruits, such as grapefruit in their diet.
Additionally, the potassium in grapefruit contributes to lower blood pressure, which can also reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. An important benefit for those with diabetes who are at greater risk.
The healthy fiber in a grapefruit is beneficial for your digestion and keeping you regular. A single grapefruit can meet nearly 20% of one’s daily fiber goal.
For all the benefits of grapefruit, the fruit may not be appropriate for everyone. Because of its unique enzyme-binding ability it may cause certain medication to pass from the GI tract into the bloodstream faster than normal, increasing the amount of medicine in your blood, which could be dangerous.
If you are on medications such as Statins, Corticosteroids, SSRIs, Calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, or immunosuppressive drugs you should consult with your doctor to ensure you can safely incorporate grapefruit into your daily diet. Not every drug in the categories above interacts with grapefruit, the interaction is specific to certain drugs, not drug categories.
Because of grapefruit’s low-carbohydrate, high-fiber content, and its placement on the low end of the glycemic index – it is a suitable snack for those living with diabetes. It contains many important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and can even help to prevent certain cancers. Moderation is key, so be sure to check with your medical care team to ensure it will not negatively interact with any of your medications while keeping your diabetes and overall health goals in mind.