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Living healthy: can diabetics eat raisins?
Well, yes! Raisins are a healthy way of getting that sweetness into your body without upsetting your blood sugar levels.
There are many misconceptions about which foods are safe for diabetics. If you depend on hearsay, you’ll find yourself abandoning a huge chunk of your diet plan. The truth is that diabetes can enjoy the meals that they are used to, they only need to make few adjustments. Portion control is also of importance. Avoid overindulging because this can make even seemingly harmless meals make your blood sugars spike.
Watching what one eats is very important for a diabetic. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, damaged vessels and organs, and loss of sight. It is, therefore, very important to keep insulin and sugar levels at the right levels.
Glycemic index of raisins
The glycemic index is a measure of the effect that carbs can have on your blood sugar. Foods that rank low in the glycemic index have a lesser effect on blood sugar levels.
Raisins have a low to medium glycemic index, of around 49 and 64. The gi of raisins, therefore, make them safe for a diabetic. Many fruits rank low on the glycemic index because they contain fiber and fructose. Other fruits that fall in the same category as raisins include cranberries, dates, melons, and pineapples.
Many fruits tend to be low in calories and high in nutritional value; raisins are no different.
Here is the nutritional value of ¼ cup o raisins:
- Calories 120g
- Dietary fiber 2g
- Calcium 25mg
- Potassium 298mg
Raisins also contain sugars, and like all foods containing carbs, they have an effect on blood sugar when taken in plenty. Count it as part of your carb intake for the day, even when you are eating it as a snack.
Diabetic people are advised to take one serving of about 2 tablespoons of raisins. This makes up 15g of carbohydrates.
Since this is such a small serving, consider taking raisins as part of a meal or as a snack in between meals.
The calcium in raisins helps in the formation of strong bones while potassium helps improve your nervous system and promote muscle strength.
Whole grapes might be a better option since they rank even lower on the glycemic index. The drying process concentrates the sugars in raisins making them rank higher on the glycemic index.
Health benefits of raisins for diabetics
- Effect on blood sugar. Raisins have been proven to have magnificent effects on blood sugar. They help increase insulin sensitivity so that sugars can be absorbed into the body at higher levels. They also help lower blood sugar levels after meals. According to a study published by the “international journal of sports nutrition and exercise metabolism”, taking raisins before an exercise session resulted in lower blood sugar when compared to taking an energy bar.
- Improve blood sugar levels. Whole food snacks such as raisins, peanuts, and bananas have been proven to help improve blood sugar levels in diabetics, compared to highly processed snacks such as energy bars, soft drinks, and chips that fall within the same glycemic index. This is because raisins contain fiber and a much lower level of processing. Raisins also give you a feeling of fullness for longer periods, therefore, eliminating the need to keep snacking. This can help you stay within your daily carb intake.
- Help stabilize blood sugar. When diabetics take foods with a low glycemic index with foods with a high glycemic index, the low gi foods tend to minimize the effect n blood sugar. Foods such as raisins allow you to eat foods that can spike your blood sugar levels as long as you consume the right portions. For instance, adding raisins to cereal or cornflakes makes it safer for a diabetic.
There are many other health benefits of raisins for diabetics such as; it acts as an oxidant, it promotes bone growth, helps cleanse the digestive system, curing constipation, and prevent muscle degradation.
How to include raisins in your diabetic diet
Raisins can be added close to anything you take; there are no rules regarding this. Here is a list of ideas of how to include raisins in your diabetic diet;
- Salad. Which better way to make salad interesting other than including raisins! Other fruits that you can tp your salad with include apple slices, cranberries, or oranges.
- Bagel. You can top your bagel with raisins to get that edge you have been looking for!
- Pancakes. Instead of maple syrup, try topping your pancakes with fresh berries. Mix your raisins with your batter and get cooking!
- Cereal or yogurt. Make your cereal interesting by topping with some raisins or fresh berries. Raisins are also surprisingly good in yogurt.
- Popcorn. Popcorn is not advisable for a diabetic. However, adding a couple of raisins will slow its digestion and add flavor to your movie night!
- Icecream. Raisins can be used as a chocolate substitute. Add raisins to your low-fat ice cream for a taste explosion!
- Last, you can take raisins as a go-to snack. Remember to keep it at 15g of carbs for snacks.
Just like many other fruits, raisins are considered safe for a diabetic. However, due to their carb content, it is smart to eat them in moderation.
When it comes to the question, “can diabetes eat raisins?” Here are the key takeaways;
- Keep your raisin portion at 15g carbs, which is approximately ¼ cup
- Accompany high glycemic index foods such as oatmeal and cereal with raisins. Raisins will help stabilize blood sugar
- Raisins are fruits and also have some carb content. They do diabetes if taken in large proportions
- Raisins have fiber which helps minimize their effect on blood sugar levels
- It is better to take natural sugars eg one found in fruits than sugar found in processed and refined foods such as energy bars