The vast majority of Americans do not eat enough fruit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 12% of adults eat the recommended daily amount. “Fruits are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Sarah Koszyk, RD, nutrition coach and sports dietitian. He adds that some fruits, such as blueberries, can help optimize brain and heart health, and reduce the risk of other diseases, such as cancer.
One of the reasons some may shy away from fruit is because they fear that the sugar in fruit will have a negative impact on their health. Koszyk says that, unlike the added sugar in overly processed foods, the sugar in fruit occurs naturally and isn’t something to obsess over. However, if you have diabetes or are trying to minimize blood sugar spikes, it can be helpful to know which fruits are low in sugar so you can enjoy their nutritional benefits without spiking blood sugar levels.
To that end, the 11 fruits listed below are low in sugar but high in nutrient density.
11 low sugar fruits
Registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD, says that figs are a great low-sugar fruit to add to your shopping list. Figs are high in fiber, calcium and potassium. She sprinkles cinnamon on top for an added sweetness that will keep blood sugar levels stable.
Kiwifruit is another low-sugar fruit that Rifkin recommends incorporating into your diet. One of the benefits of kiwi is that it is full of vitamin C, which helps support the immune system, which is especially important at this time with another strain of COVID-19 circulating.
Related: 9 Ways Eating Kiwi Benefits the Body, According to Registered Dietitians
If you don’t like kiwi but like the idea of a low-sugar, immune-supporting fruit, Rifkin recommends tangerines. Some canned tangerines can be high in added sugar, so be sure to read the ingredient list if you don’t buy them fresh.
Related: 15 Foods That Support the Immune System
Another low-sugar fruit that Rifkin recommends is apricots, an often underrated fruit. Not only are they low in sugar, but they’re also packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin A, which directly support eye health. Add them to yogurt or oatmeal, or add them to a salad.
Koszyk calls blueberries another fruit low in sugar, but packed with nutrients. They are especially rich in antioxidants, which benefit the heart and brain. Blueberries may be small, but their benefits are big.
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6. Goji Berries
If you’ve never tried goji berries, Koszyk recommends giving them a try. These berries are scientifically linked to helping reduce inflammation. Goji berries have a slightly tart flavor and can add a burst of flavor to salads, bowls of grains, or enjoyed as is.
Another berry that Koszyk recommends is raspberries. One of the benefits of raspberries is that they are high in potassium, which promotes cardiovascular health. They also contain manganese, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
Apples and peanut butter get Koszyk’s stamp of approval as a low-sugar, filling snack. Apples are low in sugar on their own, and she says the fiber and protein in nut butter also help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Related: 25 Types Of Apples (And What To Do With Them) To Keep The Doctor Away
Scientific studies have shown that eating cherries after a workout can help with muscle recovery and may also help with endurance. This is because they are especially rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps blood flow. Who knew a low-sugar fruit could give you an athletic edge?
As you probably know from its name, watermelon has an especially high water content, making it a super hydrating fruit. A cup of watermelon only has nine grams of sugar. This fruit also contains calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Rhubarb is often only thought of in pastry terms, but there are many other ways to enjoy this low-sugar fruit. Incorporating it into barbecues, salads or accompanying it with yogurt are some ideas to try. When you do, you’ll benefit from its nutrients, including vitamin K (good for bone health), fiber, and antioxidants.
Both dieticians reiterate that all fruits are healthy and should not be avoided, even in an effort to cut down on sugar. “Fruit provides key nutrients our bodies need, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and water,” says Rifkin. “By avoiding fruit, one would be missing out on essential nutrition for the body.”
Koszyk says that combining fruit with high-protein foods will help keep blood sugar levels stable. But if he’s looking for fruits that won’t spike blood sugar levels when eaten plain, the list above has him covered. Incorporate them into your diet and the benefits will be, well, fruitful.
Next, can you guess which 20 vegetables registered dietitians say are the healthiest?