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APPLES AND DIABETICS-ARE APPLES GOOD FOR DIABETICS?

Most fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that may have beneficial health effects. As such, increasing the consumption of fruits is recommended for the basic prevention of many chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. The variable content of fiber, antioxidants, nutrients, and phytochemicals can have a combined effect on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in an individual. Also, the glycemic index which represents the quality of carbohydrate, or glycemic load, which represents the quality and quantity of carbohydrate and their interaction, varies for individual fruits. The glycemic index and glycemic load of a fruit influence its ability to spike or suppress blood sugar levels.  

Although apples contain sugars and carbohydrates, eating them and other fruit is not a problem for a person with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Apples contain different kinds of sugar, and they also contain fiber and nutrients. A person with diabetes should be aware of how apples affect them in order to include this fruit in a diabetes-healthy diet.

Nutritional Content and Value (Nutrients).

The shape and color of apples attract many people to them, but they are also very nutritious.

100g serving of raw apple has the following nutrients:

MacronutrientsElemental
Micro nutrients
Vitamin
Micronutrients
Water: 85.56 g
Energy: 52 calories
Protein: 0.26 g
Fat: 0.17 g
Carbohydrate: 13.81 g, including 10.39 g of Sugar
Fiber: 2.4  g
calcium: 6 milligrams (mg)
iron: 0.12 mg
magnesium: 5 mg
phosphorus: 11 mg
potassium 107 mg
sodium: 1 mg
zinc: 0.04 mg
Copper: 0.027
vitamin C: 4.6 mg
vitamins A, E, & K: 5.38 micrograms
Thiamin (B1): 0.017mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.026mg
Niacin (B3): 0.091
Pyridoxine (B6): 0.041mg
Folate, total: 3 micrograms
Cobalamin (B12) & Folic Acid (B9): 0micrograms.

How Apples Help Diabetics.

Most of the sugar in an apple is in the form of naturally occurring monosaccharides fructose, however, this may have a different effect on the body than other sugars. Fructose is different from the refined and processed sugars that occur in packaged foods such as chocolates and biscuits.

A review posted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2017 reveals that glucose or sucrose with fructose led to less sugar and insulin in the bloodstream after a meal.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, a medium apple contains around 4g of dietary fiber, and this fiber may help slow the absorption of sugars in the body, which could help prevent spikes in sugar and insulin. Pairing fruits with a healthy fat or protein can also lower the spike in blood sugar and leave a person feel full for longer.

Apples contain high levels of anthocyanins (Muraki et al., 2013). These anthocyanins enhance the uptake and use of glucose from adipose tissue and skeletal muscle cells. Anthocyanins also reduce the production of glucose by the liver. 

Apples, Diabetes Type 2, and Flavonoids.

Apples, like vegetables and other fruits, are rich sources of phytochemicals like quercetin, catechin, flavonoids, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid, and all these guys are powerful antioxidants. The antioxidant effect of flavonoids serves to prevent the damage or impairment of the functions of the pancreatic beta-cells due to oxidative stress (imbalance between the creation and stocking of oxygen reacting species-ROS in cellular tissues and the ability of the biological systems to detoxify these reacting species) and this has been presumed to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Apples and the glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) compares foods according to the likelihood of them causing blood sugar spikes. Generally, foods score between 0–100, with water having the lowest and glucose the highest score.

Carbohydrates and sugars are absorbed quickly from foods by the body with a high GI score, such as candies. The carbohydrates from foods with a low GI score enter the bloodstream more slowly, and so there is a lower risk of a blood sugar spike.

White bread, for example, scores 75 on the GI, depending on the brand and type. This is a high score. Apples score around 36. This is a low score.

Altogether, apples may have a relatively low impact on the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body, this makes them a suitable fruit for people with diabetes if consumed in moderation.

Counting carbohydrates in apples

In the past, some doctors advised people to count their carbs as a way of managing blood sugar levels. However, current guidelines for diabetes management focus on individual needs and no longer recommend any specific carb intake.

It is still essential for someone to monitor any changes they have after eating an apple, so they know what to expect in their body when they do so. A person with diabetes needs to test their blood sugar levels regularly.

A doctor will advise on how often and what targets a person should aim for, as it will depend on the individual.

Green versus Red apple for diabetics.

Your choice of apple color can lead to differences in blood sugar levels or nutrient composition. Most of the apple’s nutrients are found on the skin.

A large green apple contains 27.5g of sugars and 5.7g of fiber. Thus if you intend to lower blood sugar, the lower carbohydrate content and high fiber are a preferred option for slow absorption of sugars. 

A large red apple contains 35.4g of sugars and 5.5g of fiber. If the guiding principle is to lower blood sugar, then this apple contains more carbohydrates than the green apple. This makes green apples the safer option. However, red apples have more antioxidants than green apples.

To conclude, in the case of diabetes it is advisable to take the green apples which are lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber. The high fiber content slows down the absorption of sugars and enables a consistent supply.

Here are some tips to eat apples in a diabetes diet.

Have them raw with peels on You can tuck into them raw. Make sure you do not take the peels off. They contain immense amounts of fiber and antioxidants. Always wash them well. 

 Salads.

Apple salads are a fun way to experiment with apples. You can chop fresh apples and mix them up with anything you want feta, walnuts, and many different kinds of herbs. Here are five apple salad recipes that diabetics may want to include in their diet. 

Sweet Cravings? Try apple Crumble.

Diabetes and desserts do not go hand in hand. But there is no harm in looking for recipes, which can appease your sweet tooth and yet not topple your blood sugar levels. This oats and apple crumble could be the dessert you were looking for! Full of textures and flavors, this treatment is ideal for days you are craving something sweet. But make sure you do not overindulge as that may hamper your blood sugar levels. 

Avoid Apple Juice.

Always try to have apples fresh and whole. Avoid apple juice. Juicing apple may make you lose out on essential fibers that help prevent blood sugar spikes. The high sugar content of the juice may prove detrimental.

Eat-in Moderation.

This is the golden rule you have to keep in mind at all times. All fruits, no matter how nutritious they are, must be had in moderation. Portion control is key for diabetes management.

Some diabetes-friendly apple recipes.

Below are few recipes recommended for diabetics:

1. No added sugar apple crumble.

Ingredients.Procedure.
¼ cup sugar alternative
2 tablespoons low carb carbalose flour
3 apples-peeled (peeled and sliced)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
-Prepare your baking dish, and preheat the oven to 350° F
-Mix the sugar alternative, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl
-Add your apple slices into this bowl
-Transfer the mix to your baking bowl and bake for 40-45mins

2. Apple and cinnamon cake.

Ingredients.Procedure.
¼ cup wholemeal flour
3 eggs
5 green apples (peel and slice)
1 tablespoon artificial sweetener
A teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon softened butter
3 tablespoon skimmed milk
Prepare a baking bowl and preheat the oven to 350° F
-Add flour, sweetener, cinnamon, and baking powder into a large bowl and mix
-Bore a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then add eggs and milk
-Whisk the mixture and add melted butter
-Add in the pieces of apple to the mixture and fold in
-Pour mixture into the baking bowl and bake for 35 minutes

3. Apple crisp.

Ingredients.Procedure.
½ teaspoon Nutmeg powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
2 tablespoon Softened margarine 
¼ cup All-purpose flour
1 cup oats 
a teaspoon Vanilla extract
¼ cup brown sugar
5 green apples (wash and slice to tiny pieces)
A Non-sticky spray
-Prepare your baking bowl with cooking
spray and preheat the oven to 375° F
-Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, margarine, oats, and vanilla, in a large bowl (mixture should be crumbly).
-Use the sliced apples to make a layer in the baking pan and then sprinkle brown sugar on top evenly.
-Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

4. Apple salad.

Ingredients.Procedure.
5 large apples (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
Put chopped apples in a large bowl and pour in the lemon juice
Add celery and then stir the mayonnaise in
Close your salad and store it in the refrigerator until serving.

5. Crunchy apple salad

IngredientsProcedure
5 large apples (chop to square pieces)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
Mix apples, raisins, walnuts, and celery in a large bowl
Gently stir in the mayonnaise to coat
Cover your crunchy salad and refrigerate till serving

Recap.

Consumption of apples can lower the risk of diabetes mellitus. However, it is preferable to consume the whole fruit than fruit juice. Apple juice is more associated with a higher risk of diabetes due to the loss of essential fibers. Apples can also be incorporated into healthy diabetic diets, to increase variety.

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