Gestational diabetes is a common medical condition that can occur during pregnancy. It is important for pregnant women to understand the effects of their diet on this condition and how it may impact themselves and the fetus.
This article will provide an overview of the five best and worst fruits for gestational diabetes, including information regarding nutrient content, glycemic index, and potential side effects. The aim is to provide expectant mothers with helpful knowledge so they are able to make informed decisions about which fruits could be beneficial or detrimental in relation to gestational diabetes.
What Should I Consider When Selecting Fruits For My Gestational Diabetes Diet?
When selecting fruits for a gestational diabetes diet, it is important to consider their glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). Fruits with a low GI and GL are recommended as they have a lower impact on blood sugar levels. Examples of these include berries, cherries, apples, and pears.
It may also be beneficial to adopt an overall plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean Diet in order to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Such diets have been associated with improved insulin efficacy and metabolic control due to increased intake of vegetables, fibers, and fruits which can reduce inflammation by enhancing antioxidant compounds. 1234
Ultimately, when making food choices during pregnancy individuals should consult with their doctor or medical professional to ensure that all nutritional needs are met safely.
What Fruits Are Recommended For Gestational Diabetes?
Fruits are an essential part of any healthy diet, especially for pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
The following fruits are recommended to help control glucose levels2:
Cherries reportedly have a glycemic index of around 22 which is a really low glycemic index and is among the fruits with the lowest glycemic index. So, have plenty of cherries.
It will not only help with the hunger issue but cherries have other properties as well. They help to lower your blood pressure in case you have high blood pressure, lower the weight in overweight people, help you to sleep well, and also lower the chances of heart disease and a heart attack which is increasingly seen in people with high uncontrolled blood sugar. And most importantly, being a woman, your first priority must be to look younger and cherry possesses anti-aging properties and is just perfect!
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“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”
Seems like this age-old saying is not completely untrue after all! Apples have a glycemic index of 36 which is a low glycemic index and hence safe for you to eat. Also, apples have good amounts of fiber in them to ease your bowel movement, and plenty of antioxidants to help defend your body better by promoting a good immune response.
Apples lower your blood pressure and lower the chances of you developing cancer and cardiovascular complications. So, grab that apple and take a bite now!
Next comes oranges with a glycemic index of 40 which is a low glycemic index as well. Oranges are found to decrease that blood sugar level effectively so it is highly recommended for gestational diabetes.
It has vitamin C, raises the body’s immunity level, keeps that high blood pressure under control in hypertensive individuals, decreases cholesterol levels and hence prevents heart diseases. Also, it is good for the skin and so indulge yourself in orange without delay!
Who doesn’t like these pretty red fruits? We all do! And now you have a reason to eat them even more. Strawberries have a glycemic index of just 41 which is quite low. In addition, they have more actually more vitamin C content than even oranges! And not only that they also have vitamin B9 and antioxidants.
Being so packed with nutrients and still managing such a low glycemic index makes it a huge favorite among diabetics!
They up your body’s immune game and also watch that sugar level. So, what are you waiting for? Grab them now while they are still fresh!
Next in line comes grapes with a low glycemic index of 53. This particular fruit item has got so many benefits that it’s so much difficult to state all of them at once. Grapes are rich in so many vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants.
In short, they help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar levels, protect against certain infections, strengthen your bones, protect against cancer, and so on and on.
They are also good for your eyes and delay your aging. Do you need any more reasons as to why you should finish that bowl of grapes immediately? I guess not.
Are There Any Fruits That Should Be Avoided For Gestational Diabetes
It is important to note that some fruits should be avoided for gestational diabetes, according to recent studies1.
Yeah, nothing better than a juicy ripe, and preferably chilled watermelon on a hot summer afternoon. I am inclined to totally agree with you here. But on a more serious note, watermelons have a glycemic index of around 76 which is quite high, and hence absolute moderation is essential when it comes to watermelons.
They level up the blood sugar level quite a bit and quickly and hence are best avoided in gestational diabetes. But if you really must eat then do keep a check on the portion size you intake and club it with other fiber-rich and healthy foods.
Just the smell of a ripe pineapple even gets the mouth-watering. Everyone loves this juicy and sweet fruit.
Pineapple has a bitter side to it too and that is, it has a moderate glycemic index of around 59, which makes it a zone diabetics do not really want to enter. It might have Vitamin C but the sugar content is high enough to cancel the beneficial effects.
Frozen pineapple though has a lower glycemic index and is a good substitute if you compulsorily want to eat it. But again, let me remind you that moderation is essential even here. So, you have to watch the portion sizes and eat it with other healthier options.
3. Overly ripe mangoes
Summers are incomplete without this king of fruit! We wait all year for this particular fruit. But if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes then it is better if you just let this summer go without consuming this fruit.
Overly ripe mangoes have a moderate glycemic index of around 56. The riper the fruit the more is the sugar content and hence more glycemic index.
Mangoes in general also have very high carbohydrate content and as such, it is in the best interests of a diabetic to avoid them. So, make an effort and say NO to ripe mangoes for just one summer. It is pretty much doable, right Mommy?
But there’s no harm in indulging in the unripe ones! Have that spicy mango pickle no problem and give us a smile.
4. Overly ripe bananas
Bananas are an irreplaceable component of a healthy morning breakfast along with that buttered toast and boiled egg. Yeah, and I cannot blame you! But overly ripe bananas that are bananas having brown spots over them have a wide range of glycemic index values and the minimum is 54.
The glycemic index varies widely and can be even 70 or more. So, it is better avoided by diabetics or preferably eaten in moderation. You can also substitute overly ripe bananas with those that have a green outer cover and make sure to eat them before they turn yellow and get those brown spots. That is just an indicator of increased sugar content and so eat wisely!
5. Dried apricots
Dried apricots may seem all sweet and good but diabetics should really steer clear of dry fruits and most importantly dried apricot. The glycemic index of dried apricot is around 53 which is moderately low. But the problem lies elsewhere.
Dried fruits just are devoid of water content which tends to make us eat more of them to feel full and as a result that might significantly increase the blood sugar level and it is particularly dangerous if you have gestational diabetes.
It is always better not to take any risks when you are pregnant so we have to cut these off for a bit too. And if you really must eat them then please consciously make an effort to limit the number of dried apricots you choose to consume. That is all about the top 5 bad fruits that should be avoided as much as possible in gestational diabetes.
How Many Servings Of Fruits Should I Consume If I Have Gestational Diabetes?
If you have gestational diabetes, it is important to monitor your consumption of fruit. Eating too much can lead to elevated blood sugar levels and other health complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming 2-4 servings of fruit per day1 for those with gestational diabetes:
- Have one portion (about the size of a tennis ball) measured out at each mealtime as part of a balanced diet;
- Choose fresh, frozen, or canned fruits without added sugars;
- Avoid drinking smoothies, juice, or other sugary beverages; and
- Limit yourself to no more than three portions of fruit in total per day.
It is essential to eat the fruit in moderation when living with gestational diabetes since eating too much can raise blood glucose levels and cause problems with pregnancy weight gain. If you notice any changes in your overall health while consuming higher amounts of fruit, consult your doctor immediately to make sure that everything is under control.
Can Too Much Fruit Lead To Complications In Gestational Diabetes?
Recent studies have provided conflicting results on the association between fruit consumption and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
It is important to note that moderate intake of all types of nutrient-dense fruits can form part of an overall balanced diet during pregnancy.
Healthcare professionals should be consulted for individualized advice about eating habits and GDM risk management.
Additionally, dietary guidance from an accredited practitioner could help pregnant women determine appropriate portions and recommended types of fruit for their specific needs.
Eating too much or too little fruit can negatively affect a person’s health; therefore, moderation should be considered when it comes to fruit consumption.
Should Bananas Be Avoided In Gestational Diabetes?
Pregnant mothers with gestational diabetes must be mindful of their diet to ensure they are not putting themselves at risk. Fruits, in particular, can be a tricky subject as some provide great health benefits while others may contain more simple sugars than necessary and cause complications for those with gestational diabetes.1
Bananas are one example of fruits that should be consumed carefully by pregnant women with gestational diabetes. Eating bananas in moderation can bring many good benefits to the body:
- Bananas contain a rich source of nutrients
- The amount of starch in bananas increases insulin sensitivity which reduces symptoms and harmful effects of gestational diabetes
- Bananas help regulate metabolic rate when entering the body
However, it is important to remember that too much sugar from eating an excessive amount of bananas or consuming them alongside other sweets such as cakes and candies could increase blood sugar levels leading to further complications. Therefore, if mothers wish to eat bananas with their meals, it is recommended that half a cup of rice should be cut down and replaced by this fruit.
What Other Dietary Changes Can Help Manage Gestational Diabetes?
In addition to dietary changes, other lifestyle modifications can help manage gestational diabetes.
Increasing physical activity is a key component of managing GDM and maintaining optimal glycemic control. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise in pregnant women with GDM can improve maternal insulin sensitivity, reduce the risk of macrosomia (large birth weight), prevent excessive gestational weight gain, and lower triglyceride levels. Furthermore, studies suggest that moderate-intensity physical activity during pregnancy may improve overall health outcomes for both mother and baby. 12
It is important to note that each individual situation should be discussed with a healthcare professional prior to engaging in any form of exercise program.
Finally, it is also recommended to monitor blood glucose regularly throughout pregnancy. Self-monitoring helps individuals understand how food choices affect their personal glucose levels and provides an opportunity for adjusting dietary intake as needed. Healthcare professionals can provide guidance on appropriate testing frequency based on individual needs and goals. 13
When done properly, self-monitoring has been found to be effective at reducing neonatal complications associated with poor glycemic control; thus highlighting its importance when managing GDM in pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes can be managed with dietary changes and lifestyle modifications.
The best time of day to eat fruit is in the morning or afternoon, as it will help maintain healthy blood glucose levels throughout the day.
Nutrient-rich foods such as legumes, nuts, and seeds should also be incorporated into a gestational diabetes diet.
Supplements may play an important role in helping to regulate blood sugar levels but their use should always be discussed with a doctor first.
Lastly, making small lifestyle improvements like incorporating exercise and reducing stress can have a positive effect on one’s overall health during pregnancy.
As gestational diabetes often resolves after delivery, these strategies could potentially reverse this condition without relying solely upon pharmaceuticals – thus allowing mothers to give birth to thriving babies who are bursting with life like a blooming flower!