Can I Eat Fruit if I Have Diabetes?

FruitsFruit is not off-limits if you have type 2 diabetes. It has too many good things going for it, such as fiber and nutrients, as well as its natural sweetness.

These fruits are good choices. Keep in mind that fruit gives you carbs, and “as with any carbohydrate, it’s important to be mindful of serving sizes,” Shira Lenchewski, RD, says. Pairing fruit with some protein, such as nonfat or low-fat yogurt or a few nuts, also helps.

Cantaloupe

“This super fruit literally has it all,” says Lynn A. Maarouf, RD, nutrition educator at the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “It supplies enough beta-carotene and vitamin C to meet your daily requirements and is an excellent source of potassium (an antioxidant which can help lower blood pressure).”

Nutritional Info: 60 calories, 15 grams of carbs

Strawberries

One serving of strawberries gives you 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

“Also, these sweet berries contain potassium, which help keep blood pressure down, and fiber, which makes you feel full longer while keeping blood sugar levels in check,” Maarouf says.

In a recent study, people who ate strawberries along with white bread needed less insulin to steady their blood sugar, compared to people who ate just the white bread.

“The research suggests it’s the polyphenols in strawberries that may slow down the digestion of simple carbohydrates, thereby requiring less insulin to normalize blood glucose,” Lenchewski says.

Portion Size: 1 cup

Nutritional Info: 60 calories, 15 grams of carbs

Clementine

These tiny tangerine hybrids are high in both vitamin C and folate, which has been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

“They fit nicely into a backpack or briefcase, and they have a peeling that slides off easily, making them a simple afternoon snack that’s sweet enough to keep you away from the vending machines,” Maarouf says.

Portion Size: 2

Nutritional Info: 70 calories, 18 grams of carbs

Tomatoes

Considered a vegetable or a fruit (depending on whom you ask), one thing is sure — this red member of the nightshade family is loaded with lycopene, a natural chemical that gives the tomato its bright color. Cooked tomatoes are richer in lycopene than raw tomatoes.

“It’s a powerful antioxidant that is associated with lowering LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease, two diabetes-related conditions,” Lenchewski says.

Portion Size: 1 cup

Nutritional Info: 30 calories; 8 grams of carbs

Avocado

“While avocado may not come to mind when we think of fruits, it’s a wonderful low-sugar option,” Lenchewski says. “Although avocado is high in fat, it’s mostly polyunsaturated fat, which provides a variety of anti-inflammatory benefits.”

Portion Size: half an avocado

Nutritional Info: 140 calories, 8 grams of carbs

Blackberries

These dark-colored berries are rich in anthocyanins. “Since these antioxidants protect body tissues from oxidative damage, they play an important role in maintaining heart health,” Lenchewski says.

Maarouf adds that the anthocyanin compounds can help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol while lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

“Blackberries are also a fantastic source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber — nearly 8 grams, which means it contains more fiber than most cereals and breads on the market,” she says.

Portion Size: 1 cup

Nutritional Info: 70 calories, 15 grams of carbs

Banana

When people with diabetes are looking for something good to eat, they’ll think “anything but the banana,” Maarouf says. “While a whole banana (depending on the size) may be a shade over 30 carbs, it could be just 10 carbs more than a flour tortilla or an average slice of bread,” she says.

“Looking at the bigger picture, bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium, which can also help keep your blood pressure under control.”

Similar to the clementine, the banana comes neatly packaged by nature. You can toss it into a bag as-is. “And if you add a cereal bar, you have a breakfast with enough carbs to keep your blood sugar — and your brain — from crashing before lunch time,” Maarouf says.

Portion Size: 1 medium banana (about 7 inches long)

Nutritional Info: 105 calories, 27 grams of carbs

By Amy Capetta                                                     © 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

How to Treat Bladder Problems

Embarrassed About Bladder Problems?

No one likes to talk about it, but incontinence is common. Here’s what you can do to minimize accidents and how your doctor can help.

incontinenceTake Charge

Don’t let fear of bladder accidents keep you from an active life filled with work, friends, and family. Incontinence isn’t a normal part of aging, or something you just have to live with. There are plenty of things you can do. The sooner you call your doctor, the faster you can get treated.

First Steps

It’s not easy to talk about incontinence. That’s why women wait, on average, 6 years before they get help. Take the first step and call your doctor. He might refer you to a specialist who treats urinary conditions. At your first visit, ask if your diet, health problems, or medicine could be causing the problem.

What Type of Incontinence Is It?

Before your doctor can treat it, he needs to know what kind it is. If you release urine when you cough, laugh, or sneeze, that’s likely stress incontinence. If you have a sudden need to go before leakage happens, that’s probably urge incontinence. Some people have a combination of the two.

Your Doctor Visit: What to Expect

He’ll examine you and ask about your health, symptoms, medicines you take, and the type of accidents you have. He might suggest you keep a diary to record every time you go to the bathroom or have wetness.

Tests to Diagnose Incontinence

Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and rule out any other medical conditions. He may order tests to check for infections or other problems, as well as a bladder stress test.

Kegel Exercises

Squeezing muscles you already use several times a day can help prevent leaks. Kegel exercises work the ones in your pelvis that you use to start and stop the flow of pee. 

To do a Kegel, squeeze and hold for about 10 seconds. Then release. Do about 10 sets three to five times a day. It may take up to 3 months before you notice a change.

Retrain Your Bladder

Want more control? Schedule your bathroom visits at regular intervals — for instance, every 2 hours. If you have to go before the time is up, use Kegels or relaxation techniques to hold it in until the urge passes. After a while, you’ll train yourself to go less often, with longer and longer periods between restroom breaks.

Medicine

Drugs can treat urges related to overactive bladder. Some control its contractions, others keep it relaxed. Side effects may include dry mouth, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Other Treatments

Women can insert a pessary device into the vagina that helps control leakage.

Another option: Doctors can inject collagen and other bulking substances to thicken tissues around the bladder neck and narrow the opening.

You could also consider getting sling or suspension surgery, which lifts the urethra and bladder neck back into place. For urge incontinence, painless nerve stimulation can stop your body from telling you your bladder is full.

Pick Your Protection

You can buy products designed for bladder protection in stores and online. You’ll find disposable and reusable versions. Some are specially fitted for men or women.

For light to moderate wetness, a liner or pad that attaches to your underwear may be all you need. Fitted briefs or protective underwear can handle more liquid.

Get Back Out Into the World

A few routine changes can help prevent leaks and get you back to your favorite activities. Don’t stop drinking fluids — you’ll get dehydrated. Limit each drink to 6 to 8 ounces, and don’t have them within 2 to 4 hours of bedtime.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners, which increase the urge to go. If you’re overweight, drop a few pounds to ease pressure on your bladder. And don’t smoke. It’s bad for your bladder, too.

Treatment for Men

Men can become incontinent after an illness or injury, or when an enlarged prostate gland  blocks the regular flow of urine from the bladder. Like women, men can often get relief with bladder retraining, lifestyle changes, and Kegels.

Medications can help relax or shrink the prostate if that’s the problem. Your doctor may also suggest surgery, like artificial sphincters or male slings, which support the urethra and keep it closed when necessary.

© 2015 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.