The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
I like to think of fruit as nature’s candy. You may have even found that a piece of fruit works wonders in curbing your sweet tooth. But does this strategy apply to those with diabetes and pre-diabetes? After all, shouldn’t these folks be watching their sugar intake?
First, let me clarify that the natural sugar found in fruit is different from the added sugar in breakfast cereal and other processed foods. In addition to a slew of vitamins and minerals, fresh fruit is loaded with dietary fiber, which helps slow the impact on blood sugar. But that doesn’t mean you should eat fruit with wild abandon either because it can still raise blood sugar levels if you’re not careful.
Blueberries, on the other hand, are quite special.
A promising 2020 study suggests that regular consumption of blueberries may lower hemoglobin A1c—a measure of average blood sugar over the past two to three months—in men with type 2 diabetes. The effect is due in part to blueberries being a rich source of anthocyanins, a natural plant compound that offers various health benefits.
It turns out these compounds, referred to as polyphenols, may stimulate the secretion of insulin, the hormone that shuttles sugar from your bloodstream into your cells to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Other polyphenol-rich foods with similar blood sugar-balancing benefits are pomegranates, tea, cacao, cinnamon and currents.
Blueberries are incredibly diverse and can be easily incorporated into a variety of meals.
- Blend them in a smoothie.
- Add them to your morning bowl of Superfood Flax Meal.
- Pop them in your mouth one-by-one for a snack.
- Add to salads or plant-based yogurt.
As your Heinen’s dietitian, I am giving you a personal food prescription (Fx) to enjoy a handful of blueberries in some way, every day. You’re welcome!
- Effect of Blueberry Consumption on Cardiometabolic Health Parameters in Men with Type 2 Diabetes: An 8-Week, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
- Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women
- Polyphenols and Glycemic Control
- Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits