In addition to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, fruits are recommended in moderate amounts in diabetic diets and provide several benefits through their nutritional status. The same is true for raw apricots which can make a great addition to a diabetic diet, even though intake is meant to be limited to small servings. Prevention of hypoglycemia – low blood sugar, better vision, better energy levels, a stronger immune system as well as minor benefits for wound healing and diabetes associated neuropathy and hypertension are some of the main benefits to be enjoyed from eating fresh apricots.
How are apricots good for diabetes more exactly? Benefits include the following:
1) With a little over 9 g of simple sugar from a total of 11 g of carbohydrates (determined for 100 g of fruit), apricots raise blood sugar levels and help prevent and reverse hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. If you haven’t eaten in a while and feel unwell, nauseous, like you are about to faint, start trembling or get cold sweats – all common signs of low blood sugar, you can have a couple of small apricots to restore your levels to normal values.
2) Good for skin and wound healing from vitamins A, C and E. If diabetes is not well managed, skin problems are bound to occur, including poor healing wounds. Vitamin A supports the production of new skin cells for skin regeneration and is efficient against dry skin. Vitamin E not only has antioxidant, reparative properties, but also helps skin cells retain moisture. Lastly, vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent essential to wound healing. Above 500 mg a day, it’s been shown to reduce wound healing time, a major benefit for diabetics experiencing poor healing ulcers.
Of course, 100 g of apricots has only a little over 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C and about 5-6% of vitamin E, which is something, but not very much. And, as a diabetic, you can’t just have more fruit because you have a limit to how much carbs you can eat in a day. So apricots alone are not enough to meet your daily requirements of vitamins and other nutrients, especially not in the limited amounts a diabetic person can eat them.
As such, you need a varied and balanced diet to get you all of the nutrients you need every single day. But apricots remain a smart choice as they contribute towards your daily requirements and don’t affect blood sugar too much because of their low glycemic index and low glycemic load values (when eaten in limited amounts, of course). Find out more on the glycemic index and the glycemic load and how they affect diabetes in the article Can Diabetics Eat Apricots?
3) Minor benefits for diabetes-associated nerve damage (neuropathy). Diabetes is basically a continual state of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Over time, blood sugar levels above normal values causes damage to tissues, organs and nerves. Apricots contain small amounts of most B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9) which help maintain nervous system health and may contribute towards limiting nerve damage associated with diabetes. Of course, it is imperative to manage blood sugar as well.
4) Minor benefits for diabetes-associated hypertension. With 259 mg of potassium and 10 mg of magnesium per 100 g of whole fruit, apricots are good for lowering blood pressure, a common concern in diabetes. While their potassium and magnesium content is low, it does contribute towards meeting daily requirements of the two minerals in view of better cardiovascular health.
5) Good for eyesight. With over 10% of the daily requirements of vitamin A from carotenoid antioxidants, apricots are good for eye health, an aspect of major concern for diabetics. In diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, the likelihood of blindness is increased due to damage to the optical nerve from elevated blood sugar levels. Vitamin A protects eye health and improves both night vision and color vision, contributing towards better eyesight overall.
6) Good for digestion and weight management. Dietary fiber is plant material that passes undigested through the gastrointestinal tract. It serves many purposes and functions, including regulating digestion and bowel movements, relieving constipation and managing weight. 100 g of apricots, which is almost 3 small apricots, provides 2 g of dietary fiber, only 48 kcal and less than 0.4% fat. The lower energetic value and extremely low fat content further contribute to better weight management and even support weight loss, a key aspect of diabetic health.
7) Stronger immune system. Vitamins A and C are strong antioxidant vitamins with an immune-system boosting action. Having a sufficient intake of both strengthens the immune system long-term which provides benefits for diabetes as well such as shorter wound healing time or lesser frequency of infections. And while the contribution of apricots to immunity is minimal given the fruit’s low content of the two vitamins and the limited intake tolerated in a diabetic diet, it is still a source of good health.
8) Tonic, energizing effects for a healthier lifestyle. With a varied B vitamins and minerals profile, apricots have an energizing, revitalizing action and contribute to good general health. Eating them with diabetes supports a healthy lifestyle and represents a step towards healthier eating.
And they don’t raise blood sugar levels excessively. While it doesn’t qualify as an actual benefit, probably the number one reason why apricots are well tolerated in a diabetic diet in limited amounts is because they have a low glycemic index (30) and don’t raise blood sugar levels excessively. Despite the 9 g of simple sugars in 100 g of apricots, the fruits have minimal effects on blood sugar metabolism when eaten in small servings thanks to the fiber which slows down the rate of sugar absorption into the bloodstream.
Conclusion: Apricots are good for diabetes because they provide benefits for skin, eyesight, nervous and immune systems, digestion, energy metabolism, blood pressure and work to improve wound healing. Even with a significant carbohydrate and sugar content, they don’t raise blood sugar levels too high too much, provided of course intake is limited to small servings and tailored to each diabetic patient’s individual nutritional requirements and the restrictions of their condition.