The vast majority of Americans don’t eat enough fruit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 12 percent of adults eat the recommended daily amount. “Fruits are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Sarah Koszyk, RD, a nutrition coach and sports nutritionist. She adds that some fruits, like blueberries, can help optimize brain and heart health and reduce the risk of other diseases, like cancer.
One reason some shy away from fruit is that they fear the sugars in fruit will negatively impact their health. Koszyk says that unlike added sugars in overly processed foods, the sugars in fruit are naturally occurring and not something to obsess over. However, if you have diabetes or are trying to minimize spikes in blood sugar, it can be helpful to know which fruits are low in sugar so you can still enjoy their nutritional benefits without spikes in blood sugar.
To that end, the 11 fruits listed below are all low in sugar but high in nutrients.
11 low-sugar fruits
Registered Dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD, says figs are a great low-sugar fruit to add to your grocery list. Figs are high in fiber, calcium and potassium. Sprinkle cinnamon on top for added sweetness that keeps blood sugar levels steady.
Kiwi is another low-sugar fruit that Rifkin recommends including in your diet. One benefit of kiwi is that it’s packed with vitamin C, which supports the immune system — especially important now that there’s yet another COVID-19 strain circulating.
Also See: 9 Ways Kiwi Benefits the Body, According to Registered Dietitians
If you’re not into kiwi but like the idea of a low-sugar fruit that supports the immune system, Rifkin recommends tangerines. Some canned tangerines can be high in added sugars, so be sure to read the ingredient list if you’re not buying them fresh.
See also: 15 foods that support the immune system
Another low-sugar fruit that Rifkin recommends is apricots, an often underestimated fruit. Not only are they low in sugar, but they’re packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin A, which directly supports eye health. Add them to yogurt or oatmeal, or incorporate them into a salad.
Koszyk cites blueberries as another fruit that’s low in sugar but packed with nutrients. They are particularly high in antioxidants, which benefit the heart and brain. Blueberries may be small, but their benefits are big.
6. Goji berries
If you’ve never tried goji berries, Koszyk recommends giving them a try. These berries are scientifically linked to reducing inflammation. Goji berries have a slightly tart flavor and can add a flavor explosion to salads, grain bowls or enjoyed on their own.
Another berry that Koszyk recommends is raspberries. One benefit of raspberries is that they are high in potassium, which supports cardiovascular health. They also contain manganese, which helps keep blood sugar levels steady.
As a filling, low-sugar snack, apples and peanut butter receive the Koszyk seal of approval. Apples themselves are low in sugar, and she says the fiber and protein in nut butters also help keep blood sugar levels steady.
Related: 25 Types of Apples (And What to Do With Them) to Keep the Doctor Away
Scientific studies have shown that consuming cherries after a workout can help with muscle recovery and could also help with endurance. That’s because they’re particularly high in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that aids in blood flow. Who would have thought that a low-sugar fruit could give you an athletic advantage?
As you can probably tell from its name, watermelon has a particularly high water content, making it a super hydrating fruit. A cup of watermelon has only nine grams of sugar. This fruit also contains calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Rhubarb is often only thought of in association with cakes, but there are many other ways to enjoy this low-sugar fruit. Incorporating it into grilled dishes, salads or pairing it with yoghurt are some ideas to try. When you do, you’ll benefit from its nutrients, which include vitamin K (good for bone health), fiber, and antioxidants.
Both nutritionists emphasize that all fruits are healthy and should not be avoided, even as efforts are made to curb sugar. “Fruit provides important nutrients our bodies need, like fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and water,” says Rifkin. “By not eating fruit, you would miss out on important nutrients for the body.”
Koszyk says combining fruit with protein-rich foods will help keep blood sugar levels steady. But if you’re looking for fruit that doesn’t raise blood sugar levels when eaten alone, the list above is for you. Incorporate them into your diet and the benefits will be, well, fruitful.
Next, can you guess which 20 vegetables registered dietitians say are the absolute healthiest?