But while it’s true that you should limit certain foods, fruit isn’t one of them.
Yes, sugary foods can increase your blood glucose level. However, eating fruit affects glucose levels differently than eating chocolate cake or cookies. It has everything to do with the nutritional content and makeup of different foods.
So, if you’re a big fan of strawberries, you don’t have to kick this fruit — or berries, in general — to the curb. Eating strawberries and other fruits is important for a healthy diet. Plus, strawberries are low in calories and a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients.
But if you have diabetes, it’s still important to understand how these berries affect blood sugar.
Can I eat strawberries?
If you have diabetes, you can still eat sweet treats like cake, cookies, and ice cream. But moderation is key to preventing blood sugar spikes.
Strawberries aren’t only delicious and refreshing, but they’re the perfect treat because their sweetness can satisfy your sweet tooth.
Eat in moderation
Beware of certain dishes that may seem healthier than they are, simply because they include strawberries.
Some desserts, such as pies and cheesecakes, include strawberries as toppings. Yet, many of these desserts aren’t exactly diabetes-friendly, as the overall sugar content may cause an increase in blood sugar.
Eating strawberries alone is healthy because the fruit is low in calories. On average, one cup of strawberries has about 46 calories.
This is helpful if you’re watching your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower blood sugar naturally and help you reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Strawberries are also a good source of fiber. One cup of whole, fresh strawberries contains about 3 grams (g) of fiber, or roughly 12 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Consuming fiber is important if you have diabetes because it helps slow the absorption of sugar. Not only does fiber improve your blood sugar level, but it can help you feel full longer. This also contributes to healthy weight management.
Vitamins and minerals
Other important nutrients and vitamins found in strawberries include vitamin C and magnesium.
According to research, magnesium can improve insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and improving diabetes control.
In addition, vitamin C has been linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and it may help reduce blood sugar spikes after meals. The antioxidants in vitamin C may even help reduce certain complications of diabetes, such as high blood pressure.
What’s the glycemic index?
When deciding which fruits to eat and limit, you may want to know where they rank on the glycemic index.
The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates according to how fast or how slow they increase blood glucose levels. People with diabetes often aim to eat foods with a low glycemic load, including low-glycemic fruits.
Strawberries fall into this category, as the fruit doesn’t quickly raise glucose levels. You can eat them without worrying about a blood sugar spike.
Knowing the glycemic load of different types of food is helpful. It can help you decide what to eat.
While fruits aren’t off limits for people with diabetes, keep in mind that some fruits do have a higher glycemic load than others. But even fruits with a higher glycemic index are OK in moderation.
Take watermelon, for example. It ranks high on the glycemic index, but it has a low amount of digestible carbohydrates. This means you would have to eat a lot of watermelon for it to have a negative effect on your blood sugar.
Also, it’s important to know that the glycemic index measures how quickly food causes your blood sugar to increase. It doesn’t take into account the nutritional makeup of food.
So, while a food may rank low on the glycemic index, it could be high in fat — and not the best choice if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight.
Healthy eating for diabetes
Good nutrition is essential when maintaining a healthy weight and managing your diabetes. It’s all about balance. This involves eating a mix of nutritious foods, including:
low-fat dairy products
You should also limit any beverages or foods with added fat and sugar. If you’re not sure what to eat, your doctor can recommend a dietitian to help you come up with a healthy eating plan.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, about 45 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
Most women can consume three servings of carbohydrates per meal, while men can consume up to five servings per meal. One serving consists of 15 g of carbohydrates.
When snacking in between meals, limit your carbs to about 15 g. A cup of strawberries falls within this range, so you can enjoy this snack without it affecting your blood sugar too much.
The bottom line
People with diabetes can eat strawberries and many other types of fruit. Fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet, but the key is to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Diabetes is a serious health condition, and it affects millions of people around the world. It is often thought that a piece of fruit might be harmful to diabetics because of its sugar content. However, fruits can still be enjoyed following a few tips.
Since diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels, people with diabetes must carefully monitor their blood sugar. It is important to eat foods that have a good effect on blood glucose control.1 They should be high in fiber and have a low glycemic index (GI).1
Are grapes good for diabetics?
Eating fruits with a low glycemic index, such as grapes, are less likely to spike blood sugar levels.1 Other high-GI fruits should be eaten in low to moderate amounts.
Fruits should be eaten as snacks and not with meals to prevent the overconsumption of sugar.1
Fruit juices should be avoided, because they are stripped of all the fiber needed for blood sugar control in diabetics.1
It is important for diabetics to eat raw non-processed fruits.1 Fresh fruits can provide the most nutrient benefits. Processed fruits likely contain added sugars that can be harmful to health.
Fruits should be eaten according to portion sizes as recommended by a healthcare professional. Especially for dried fruits. They contain more carbohydrates than non-dried fruits.1
Grapes are a healthy fruit choice for diabetics that can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Health benefits of grapes for diabetic
In 151 grams of grapes there are 27.3 grams of carbs, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, and 1.4 grams fiber.2
Their high fiber content makes them a good fruit choice for diabetics.3 Fiber helps with health management because it is not absorbed by the body. Instead, it passes through the stomach and intestines. For diabetics, it can normalize bowel movements, remove “bad” cholesterol, and slow down how much sugar is taken into the body.3 Grape fiber can also help with obesity-related diabetes. As an energy-dense low-calorie food, it improves the feeling of fullness.3
Grapes are packed with lots of essential vitamins and minerals. They are filled with vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as thiamine, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese.1 Vitamin K is good for proper blood clotting, and vitamin C is a great antioxidant source.1
Antioxidants are important compounds for protecting against free radical damage that cause oxidative stress.4
Grapes hold most of their antioxidant chemicals in their seeds and outer skin.4 Depending on the type of grape they will have different antioxidants that give them their unique colors and health benefits.4
Grapes carry many antioxidants, such as resveratrol, anthocyanins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and others.4
Anthocyanins are an anti-inflammatory compound found in foods.4 Grapes are full of anthocyanins, along with other things that help decrease the amount of inflammation in the body.4
Control blood pressure
Grapes contain 6% of the daily recommended potassium intake (in 151 grams).2 Potassium is a key mineral for regulating blood pressure.5 The potassium from grapes can decrease blood pressure in the vessels of the heart and protect against disease and stroke.5
Lower blood sugar
Resveratrol is a chemical compound known to regulate the way the body handles sugar after a meal.6 Grapes contain resveratrol and for this reason, they can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels.
A study done in 2015 showed that men who consumed 20 grams of grape extract a day had lower blood glucose levels, than those who did not.6
The purpose of the GI is to show how much or how little carbohydrates spike blood sugar.
The sugar in grapes, and other fruits, is called fructose.
One cup of grapes contains 23 grams of fructose.1 Although this may seem high, a single serving of grapes has a glycemic index of 25.4 This is a low score compared to other types of fruits. Grapes can be beneficial for diabetics because they rank lowly on the glycemic index.
When eaten in moderation, grapes can provide great health benefits for diabetics.
The polyphenols (nutrients from plants) found in grapes can help to control cholesterol levels.7 One study, involving 69 participants, has shown that eating three cups of red grapes was able to lower “bad” and total cholesterol levels in people.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to create a meal plan that’s right for you.
Everyone experiences an upset stomach and indigestion, or dyspepsia, from time to time after eating or drinking. The condition is usually no cause for concern, and it is often possible to treat the symptoms using home remedies.
Common symptoms of an upset stomach and indigestion include:
heartburn, or acid reflux
belching, sometimes bringing up bitter or foul-tasting fluid or food
bad-smelling or sour breath
hiccupping or coughing
This article looks at 21 of the most popular home remedies for an upset stomach and indigestion. We also explain when to see a doctor.
21 home remedies for Upset Stomach
Some of the most popular home remedies for an upset stomach and indigestion include:
1. Drinking water
The body needs water to digest and absorb nutrients from foods and beverages efficiently. Being dehydrated makes digestion more difficult and less effective, which increases the likelihood of an upset stomach.
In general, the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) recommend that:
women should have around 2.7 liters (l), or 91 ounces (oz), of water a day
men should have about 3.7 l, or 125 oz, of water a day
Around 20 percent of this will come from food, with the rest coming from beverages. For most people, a good figure to aim for is approximately 8 or more cups of water a day. Younger children require slightly less water than adults.
For those with digestive issues, it is imperative to stay hydrated. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration very quickly so people with these symptoms should keep drinking water.
2. Avoiding lying down
When the body is horizontal, the acid in the stomach is more likely to travel backward and move upward, which can cause heartburn.
People with an upset stomach should avoid lying down or going to bed for at least a few hours until it passes. Someone who needs to lie down should prop up their head, neck, and upper chest with pillows, ideally at a 30-degree angle.
Ginger is a common natural remedy for an upset stomach and indigestion.
Ginger contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that can help speed up stomach contractions. This may move foods that are causing indigestion through the stomach more quickly.
The chemicals in ginger may also help to reduce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
People with an upset stomach could try adding ginger to their food or drinking it as a tea. Some all-natural ginger ales may also contain enough ginger to settle an upset stomach.
In addition to sweetening the breath, the menthol in mint may help with the following:
preventing vomiting and diarrhea
reducing muscle spasms in the intestines
Researchers have found that mint is a traditional treatment for indigestion, gas, and diarrhea in Iran, Pakistan, and India.
Raw and cooked mint leaves are both suitable for consumption. Traditionally, people often boil mint leaves with cardamom to make a tea. It is also possible to powder or juice mint leaves and mix them with other teas, beverages, or foods.
Sucking on mint candies might be another way to help reduce the pain and discomfort of heartburn.
5. Taking a warm bath or using a heating bag
Heat may relax tense muscles and ease indigestion, so taking a warm bath may help to ease the symptoms of an upset stomach. It could also be beneficial to apply a heated bag or pad to the stomach for 20 minutes or until it goes cool.
6. BRAT diet
Doctors may recommend the BRAT diet to people with diarrhea.
BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These foods are all starchy, so they can help bind foods together to make stools firmer. This may decrease the number of stools a person passes and help ease their diarrhea.
As these foods are bland, they do not contain substances that irritate the stomach, throat, or intestines. Therefore, this diet can soothe the tissue irritation resulting from the acids in vomit.
Many of the foods in the BRAT diet are also high in nutrients such as potassium and magnesium and can replace those lost through diarrhea and vomiting.
7. Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking can irritate the throat, increasing the likelihood of an upset stomach. If the person has vomited, smoking can further irritate the tender tissue already sore from stomach acids.
As a toxin, alcohol is difficult to digest and can cause damage to the liver and stomach lining.
People with an upset stomach should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol until they are feeling better.
8. Avoiding difficult-to-digest foods
Some foods are harder to digest than others, which increases the risk of an upset stomach. Anyone with an upset stomach should avoid foods that are:
fried or fatty
rich or creamy
salty or heavily preserved
9. Lime or lemon juice, baking soda, and water
Some studies suggest that mixing lime or lemon juice in water with a pinch of baking soda can help to relieve a variety of digestive complaints.
This mixture produces carbonic acid, which may help to reduce gas and indigestion. It may also improve liver secretion and intestinal mobility. The acidity and other nutrients in lime or lemon juice can help to digest and absorb fats and alcohol while neutralizing bile acids and reducing acidity in the stomach.
Most traditional recipes recommend mixing the following quantities:
1 tablespoon (tbsp) of fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon (tsp) of baking soda
8 oz of clean water
Cinnamon contains several antioxidants that may help ease digestion and reduce the risk of irritation and damage in the digestive tract. Some of the antioxidants in cinnamon include:
Other substances in cinnamon may help to reduce gas, bloating, cramping, and belching. They may also help to neutralize stomach acidity to reduce heartburn and indigestion.
People with an upset stomach could try adding 1 tsp of good-quality cinnamon powder, or an inch of cinnamon stick, to their meals. Alternatively, they could try mixing the cinnamon with boiling water to make a tea. Doing this two or three times daily may help to relieve indigestion.
Cloves contain substances that may help to reduce gas in the stomach and increase gastric secretions. This can speed up slow digestion, which may reduce pressure and cramping. Cloves may also help to reduce nausea and vomiting.
A person with an upset stomach could try mixing 1 or 2 tsps of ground or powdered cloves with 1 tsp of honey once a day before bedtime. For nausea and heartburn, they could combine the cloves with 8 oz of boiling water instead to make a clove tea, which they should drink slowly once or twice daily.
Cumin seeds contain active ingredients that may help by:
reducing indigestion and excess stomach acids
reducing intestinal inflammation
acting as an antimicrobial
A person with an upset stomach could try mixing 1 or 2 tsps of ground or powdered cumin into their meals. Alternatively, they could add a few teaspoons of cumin seeds or powder to boiling water to make a tea.
Some traditional medical systems suggest chewing a pinch or two of raw cumin seeds or powder to ease heartburn.
Figs contain substances that can act as laxatives to ease constipation and encourage healthy bowel movements. Figs also contain compounds that may help to ease indigestion.
A person with an upset stomach could try eating whole fig fruits a few times a day until their symptoms improve. Alternatively, they could try brewing 1 or 2 tsps of fig leaves to make a tea instead.
However, if people are also experiencing diarrhea, they should avoid consuming figs.
14. Aloe juice
The substances in aloe juice may provide relief by:
reducing excess stomach acid
encouraging healthy bowel movements and toxin removal
improving protein digestion
promoting the balance of digestive bacteria
In one study, researchers found that people who drank 10 milliliters (ml) of aloe juice daily for 4 weeks found relief from the following symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD):
flatulence and belching
nausea and vomiting
acid and food regurgitation
Yarrow flowers contain flavonoids, polyphenols, lactones, tannins, and resins that may help to reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces. They do this by acting on the main digestive nerve, called the vagus nerve. A reduction in stomach acid levels can reduce the likelihood of heartburn and indigestion.
A person with an upset stomach could try eating young yarrow leaves raw in a salad or cooked in a meal. It is also possible to make yarrow tea by adding 1 or 2 tsps of dried or ground yarrow leaves or flowers to boiling water.
Basil contains substances that may reduce gas, increase appetite, relieve cramping, and improve overall digestion. Basil also contains eugenol, which may help to reduce the quantity of acid in the stomach.
Basil also contains high levels of linoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
A person with an upset stomach could try adding 1 or 2 tsps of dried basil leaves, or a couple of fresh basil leaves, to meals until their symptoms lessen. For more immediate results, they could mix half a teaspoon of dried basil, or a few fresh leaves, with boiled water to make a tea.
Licorice root contains substances that may help to reduce gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining, as well as inflammation relating to peptic ulcers.
Someone with an upset stomach could try drinking licorice root tea several times a day until their symptoms improve. Licorice root teas are widely available online, but it is also possible to make them at home by mixing 1 or 2 tsps of licorice root powder with boiling water.
Like mint, spearmint is a common remedy for many digestive complaints, including:
stomach and intestinal spasms
Most people find that the easiest way to consume spearmint is to drink prepared herbal teas in which spearmint is the primary ingredient. There are many such teas available online.
It is usually safe to drink spearmint teas several times daily until symptoms improve. Sucking on spearmint candies may also help to reduce heartburn.
Plain rice is useful for people with many types of stomach complaints. It can help by:
adding bulk to stool
absorbing fluids that may contain toxins
easing pain and cramps, because of its high levels of magnesium and potassium
Someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea could try slowly eating half a cup of plain, well-cooked rice. It is best to wait until at least a few hours after the last episode of vomiting. The person may continue to do this for 24–48 hours until diarrhea stops.
Rice is also part of the BRAT diet that doctors often recommend.
20. Coconut water
Coconut water contains high levels of potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help to reduce pain, muscle spasms, and cramps.
Coconut water is also useful for rehydrating and is a better option than most sports drinks as it is also low in calories, sugar, and acidity.
Slowly sipping on up to 2 glasses of coconut water every 4–6 hours could ease upset stomach symptoms.
Bananas contain vitamin B6, potassium, and folate. These nutrients can help to ease cramps, pains, and muscle spasms. Bananas can also help by adding bulk to loose stools, which can alleviate diarrhea.
An upset stomach and indigestion should not usually cause concern. For most people, symptoms should go away within a few hours. As older adults and children can become dehydrated much more quickly, they should seek medical attention for vomiting and diarrhea that lasts for more than a day.
People with severe, frequent, or persistent stomach problems should talk to a doctor. It is also best to seek medical attention if the following symptoms are present:
continual or uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
bloody stool or vomit
inability to pass gas
dizziness or lightheadedness
unintentional weight loss
a lump in the abdomen or stomach
history of iron-deficiency anemia or associated conditions
Fresh and seasonal fruits are an intrinsic part of a healthy diet. They are rich in a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients that are essential to carry out various body functions. Health experts often emphasize on the need of including fruits of all types and colors in one’s diet. But if you happen to be a diabetic, you need to be a little cautious of what you have on your plate, even when it comes to fruits. Fruits that have high sugar content or glycaemic index like chikoo and melons are not very advisable for diabetics. Whereas, consuming fruits like guavas and tomatoes has been linked to lowered blood sugar levels. Oranges too, are said to be beneficial for diabetics. Read on to know why.
Diabetes Management: Why Should You Add Oranges To Diabetes Diet
The American Diabetes Association has listed citrus fruits among Diabetes superfoods. According to the association, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons are full of fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium, which would help benefit a healthy diabetic eating plan.
Oranges are full of fibre. Fibre takes longest to break down and digest. This enables the slow release of sugar into the bloodstream, which would further ensure that your blood glucose levels are stable for a long period of time. Moreover, the glycaemic index of raw oranges is just about 40-43. The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbs with low GI value (55 or less) are digested, absorbed and metabolized slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood glucose. Diabetics are advised to include more low GI foods in their diets.
Diabetes Management: Eat Whole, Don’t Juice It
Make sure you have the fruit raw and whole for maximum benefits. Drinking its juice may cost you some healthy fibres and shoot up the blood sugar levels. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care, revealed that eating citrus fruits could lower the risk of diabetes in women, but drinking the fruit juice may prove detrimental to their blood sugar levels.
The GI score of unsweetened orange juice is also around 50, as compared to the GI score of whole orange (40)
While no specific food can cure sickness, sometimes, eating the right thing can relieve symptoms and help you feel better. But keep in mind that what works for one person might not work for another. The best thing you can do when you don’t feel well is to focus on what helps you and what sounds appealing.
Here, dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD, breaks down what foods to eat and drink when you’re feeling under the weather.
Foods to eat when sick
Dunn says that when you think about what foods to eat when you’re sick, think about it as three basic categories:
What to eat or drink when you’re dehydrated (or to avoid becoming dehydrated).
What to eat or drink when your gut is sick (like diarrhea).
What to eat or drink when you feel nauseous (or have a stomachache).
What to eat when you’re dehydrated
When you’re sick and don’t feel well, you might not have an appetite or you might feel like you can’t keep anything down. But if you’re not eating or drinking, dehydration can quickly set in.
“Oftentimes when we’re sick and don’t feel good, dehydration is a big part of it,” explains Dunn. “It might be because you’re throwing up or running to the bathroom every five minutes. Or you might feel so sick that you just don’t have an appetite.”
But dehydration is one of the biggest reasons why people end up in the emergency room when they’re sick.
You might be so dehydrated that you can’t walk or you pass out and hit your head. Moderate to severe dehydration needs quick medical attention. If left untreated, dehydration can cause urinary or kidney problems, seizures and can even be life-threatening.
Here’s what to eat and drink when you’re dehydrated or to avoid becoming dehydrated:
Beverages. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot, cold or room temperature – any type of liquid is going to help combat dehydration. Just try to sip liquids steadily throughout the day. Aim for water, electrolyte or sports drinks, coffee, teas, juice, soda or carbonated water.
Soup. There’s a reason that chicken noodle soup is most people’s go-to when they don’t feel well. It’s typically more filling than plain water since it contains more calories, protein and vitamins. It’s also a good source of liquids and electrolytes. But if this traditional soup doesn’t sound appealing to you, try out other types of soups and broths for additional calories and hydration. Plus, soup in general can act as a natural decongestion when served hot.
Foods that are mainly liquid. If you’re having a hard time drinking fluids, aim for foods that are mainly liquid, but served cold or frozen. Try foods like ice cream, popsicles, Jell-O and pudding.
Fruit. Fresh fruit contains many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs – even when you’re not sick! Eating fruit when you’re feeling under the weather can provide a nutrient boost, as well as hydration. Aim for juicy fruits that are made up of mostly water, like melons, berries, oranges and grapes.
What to eat when your gut is sick
Diarrhea is when food is moving too quickly through your body. You’ll want to focus on eating foods that can slow that process down, which means choosing foods that contain soluble fiber. This type of fiber acts as a thickening agent and adds form to the stool to help slow it down.
Dunn says that when your gut is sick, you’ll want to avoid or limit caffeine and sugar alcohols. Caffeine can overstimulate your digestive system and make diarrhea worse. Sugar alcohols don’t get absorbed in the gut and instead hang out in your large intestine, which can lead to bloating, stomach pain and more diarrhea.
Here’s what to eat and drink when your gut is sick:
Anything on the BRAT diet. Mom was right. Eat a diet that follows the acronym, BRAT – bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Most people suffering from diarrhea can tolerate a few of these simple foods.
Bland foods. Although not super exciting, very plain and bland foods can help ease symptoms. Try pasta, dry cereals, oatmeal, bread and crackers. But bland doesn’t mean you can’t add protein or veggies into the mix if you’re feeling up for it! Try eating rice and baked chicken breast or cheese and crackers.
Some fruits and vegetables. Try to add in boiled or baked potatoes, winter squash, baked apples, applesauce or bananas.
What to eat when you’re nauseous or have a stomachache
From the stomach flu, to food poisoning, to pregnancy – feeling nauseated can derail your entire day. And nausea can run the full spectrum, from vomiting, to feeling an overall sense of queasiness, to dry heaving.
“When you’re feeling nauseous or have a stomachache, you should really try to eat every couple of hours,” says Dunn. “Eating small amounts more frequently can help get a little food at a time into your system.”
Here’s what to eat and drink when you’re nauseous:
Ginger. This spice is well-known for its anti-nausea effects. Try ginger snaps, ginger ale, ginger tea or sucking on a few pieces of ginger candy. You can even try crystallized ginger, which is more soft and chewy and lightly coated in sugar.
Dry foods. Try nibbling on a few pieces of dry foods every couple of hours when you’re battling nausea. Try pretzels, dry cereal, toast or plain crackers like saltines.
Cold foods & foods with little odor. Because smells can trigger nausea (especially in pregnancy), cold foods might be a good choice. Try Jell-O, ice cream, frozen fruit, yogurt or popsicles. Even sucking on an ice cube is a good way to replenish fluids.
What do you need to keep on hand for sick days?
When you’re hit with the flu, a cold or general crud, the last thing you’ll want to do is leave your home or go to the store and spread your germs. Instead, stock up on food now to have on hand in case you or someone in your house gets sick.
Stock up on:
Canned fruit (packed in its own juice).
Put a few pieces of bread in the freezer so you have it on hand.
The last few years have seen a rise in the home workout space. Not only does this allow for no commute to the gym, saving money, and increased convenience for your schedule, but it also allows you to get creative with your workout routine. You might not have the fancy cardio equipment a gym offers, but you can perform cardio exercises in and right outside your house with a small investment on your part.
The following are cardio exercise options broken down by level. You can make any of them more challenging by doing them for longer periods and picking up your speed.
Best Beginner Cardio Workouts
If you are new to exercise or live a sedentary lifestyle, these beginner cardio workouts can help you adjust your body to movement.
Indoor Cardio Workouts
Step ups: If your home has stairs, you can plant your feet on the floor and then step up on the first step with both feet. Then return to the start. Using the floor as your starting point can help you stay balanced.
Marching in place: You can get creative with marching. If you have fast-paced songs you enjoy, you can make a playlist and march to the varying beats for 30 minutes.
Dancing: For your favorite dance songs, you can create a Spotify playlist and use headphones to dance to them. Dancing can burn 90 to 125 calories in 30 minutes.1
Outdoor Cardio Workouts
Circuit training: You can set up your own circuit workout in which you move quickly between exercises. For example, station one is jumping rope for five minutes, station two is ab exercises (planks, crunches, and scissor kicks) for five minutes, and station three is pushing your kids around in a laundry basket across the lawn. You can even get your kids involved and have them work out with you, letting them decide on three exercises for the day.
Walking: Start with a 15-minute walk and work up to longer sessions; 2.5 hours of walking a week can cut your risk of heart disease by 30 percent.2 You could walk around the yard, block, or park—anywhere you can find space and feel safe.
To get the most out of a walking workout, try to do the following:3
Stand tall and swing your arms and shoulders
Try to keep a pace of at least three miles per hour
Purchase appropriate walking shoes. They should last for about 500 miles.
Best Intermediate Cardio Workouts
Once you build up your endurance, you can move on to intermediate workouts that require more stability and are longer in length.
Indoor Cardio Workouts
Using a YouTube video: You can find cardio-based YouTube exercise videos that follow high-intensity interval training, moving through many different exercises with little rest time, such as jumping jacks to planks to running in place (three minutes for each exercise).
Jumping jacks: Although you have done these since elementary school gym class, jumping jacks elevate your heart rate and use both upper and lower extremities.
Walking lunges:Find a hallway or an area of your house that has a bit of length and do walking lunges. Lunge forward with one leg, bending at the knee and keeping your knee in a straight line with your ankle. Do three sets of five lunges on each leg.
Outdoor Cardio Workouts
Run/walk combination: Find a safe neighborhood block to run and walk, walking for three minutes and then running for one minute. Walking allows you to catch your breath and build up your endurance. Do this for 30 minutes, five days a week; try to increase your distance each week.
Laps around a park: On grass, which is harder to walk on than a sidewalk, try running, skipping, and walking for 30 minutes. This challenges more muscles than a walk/run combination on concrete. You can alternate the movement (skip, walk, and run) every three minutes.
Best Advanced Cardio Workouts
Once you can easily do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise without losing your breath, you should start incorporating more advanced workouts into your regime.
Indoor Cardio Workouts
Kickboxing:You can choose to follow a YouTube video or make up your own routine using high
kicks, punches, and uppercuts. This is a good upper body workout that you do not find often in cardio workouts and can burn 300 to 420 calories in 30 minutes.1
High knees:Rather than simply running in place, try kicking up your knees as high as you can toward your chest. This will provide both a cardio workout and work your abs.
Stair exercise:Rather than only step up to the first step, try stepping up an entire staircase and back down for 30 minutes, keeping a steady pace for an entire half hour.
Outdoor Cardio Workouts
Hill running:Pick a nearby hill that is about a quarter mile in length. Try running or walking at a fast pace, going up and down the hill two times.
Sprints:Pick two spots in your backyard or at a park. Sprint between the two as fast as you can, three times. Rest for one minute, then do it again for three sets.
Other Cardio Workouts at Home
Anything that raises your heart rate can provide a cardio workout, even household chores you would already do. If you can do them faster, you will increase your heart rate. These include the following:
Mowing the lawn
Scrubbing the floors and walls
Safety is always the number one priority in exercise. If you feel unsteady, weak, or don’t have a good feeling about a particular exercise, you should skip it. Here are other safety tips to follow:
Develop a good base before moving on to advanced moves. This helps keep you from getting injured and burned out.
Build up to long workouts. Beginners should start with 10-minute cardio sessions.
Hydrate. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the amount of total water for women is about 11.5 cups per day and for men, it is about 15.5 cups.4
Eat something before your workout for energy. Bananas, a piece of wheat bread with peanut butter, or eight ounces of Greek yogurt should work.
Chlorogenic acid: Helps your body use sugar more efficiently (18, 19).
Phlorizin: Slows down sugar absorption and lowers blood sugar levels (20, 21).
The highest concentrations of beneficial antioxidants are found in Honeycrisp and Red Delicious apples (22).
BOTTOM LINE:Eating apples on a regular basis may help prevent type 2 diabetes, as well as keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Should Diabetics Eat Apples?
Apples are an excellent fruit to include in your diet if you have diabetes.
Most dietary guidelines for diabetics recommend a diet that includes fruits and vegetables (23).
Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.In addition, diets high in fruits and vegetables have repeatedly been linked to lower risks of chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer (24, 25, 26).
In fact, a review of nine studies found that each serving of fruit that was consumed daily led to a 7% lower risk of heart disease (27).
While apples are unlikely to cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, they do contain carbs. If you’re counting carbs, be sure to account for the 25 grams of carbs an apple contains.
Also, be sure to monitor your blood sugar after eating apples and see how they affect you personally.
BOTTOM LINE:Apples are highly nutritious and have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. They are safe and healthy for diabetics to enjoy on a regular basis.
How to Include Apples in Your Diet
Apples are a delicious and healthy food to add to your diet, regardless of whether you have diabetes or not.
Here are some tips for diabetics to include apples in their meal plans:
Eat it whole: To reap all of the health benefits, eat the apple whole. A large part of the nutrients is in the skin (2).
Avoid apple juice: The juice does not have the same benefits as the whole fruit, since it’s higher in sugar and missing the fiber (28, 29).
Limit your portion: Stick with one medium apple since larger portions will increase the glycemic load (11).
Spread out your fruit intake: Spread your daily fruit intake throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Both sugar and sugar substitutes have been shown to put people at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes—that is, until now. New research suggests that one sugar substitute may not play any part in causing diabetes in healthy adults at all.
According to a new study published in the journal, Microbiome—led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University College of Medicine—says that saccharin is one such artificial sweetener that should no longer be of concern regarding diabetes prevention. The study was funded by The National Institutes of Health and The National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Why do artificial sweeteners get a bad reputation in the first place?
Saccharin is one of eight artificial sweeteners that are currently approved by the FDA, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, award-winning nutrition expert, and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook.
If you’ve ever sprinkled Sweet n’ Low in your cup of coffee, for example, you’ve tried the hyper-sweet substance. However, due to the increased use of non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NCAS) and sugar alcohols—which are used in a lot of keto-friendly and other sugar-free food products and beverages—research has repeatedly questioned the safety of these alternative sweeteners.
Aside from the fact that many are turned off by the word “artificial” and are inherently skeptical about whether or not they could cause harm to the body, there is also science that backs up these fears.
“Some epidemiological, and a handful of intervention studies, have shown positive correlations between NCAS consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes and other adverse metabolic outcomes,” George Kyriazis, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State and senior author of the study, tells Eat This, Not That!
Kyriazis says one high profile study, in particular, conducted primarily in mice showed that NCAS rapidly induced glucose intolerance—which causes high blood sugar levels—as indicated through direct and adverse changes in the composition of certain gut bacteria.
“However, from a scientific viewpoint, these variable outcomes and ambiguity may reflect differences in the NCAS used, the characteristics of the studied population and the accompanied diet, or other methodological considerations related to these reports,” Kyriazis explains. “So, our group set to isolate these external variables and design a study using both humans and mice that explores the independent effects of saccharin feeding on gut microbiota and glucose regulation.“
“In addition, the European Food Safety Authority, FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, U.S. FDA, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and Health Canada all find saccharine, and the additional seven low-calorie sweeteners, to be safe,” says Amidor.
What did this study find?
Researchers asked 46 healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 45 with body mass indexes of 25 (the cap for the normal range) to take one of three capsules every day over the course of two weeks. Participants either took the maximum acceptable daily amount of saccharin, lactisole (which inhibits the tongue from tasting something sweet), saccharin with lactisole, or a placebo.
“We found no effects of saccharin supplementation on glucose regulation and no changes in gut microbiota of participants,” says Kyriazis. “It is important to note here that the saccharin intake we used in our study is practically more than double the average intake of the most avid consumers of saccharin in the U.S.”
For context, the maximum acceptable daily amount of saccharin is 400 milligrams, which is far more than anyone would consume on a regular basis as the artificial sweetener is significantly sweeter than table sugar.
“Because it is 200-700 times sweeter than sugar, you only need a touch to deliver the same sweetness as sugar,” says Amidor. “This study looked at the maximum amount of saccharine, which is much greater than any person would consume at once.”
Kyriazis adds that it’s also important to identify that their findings didn’t necessarily contradict previous reports showing some harmful metabolic effects of NCAS intake.
“Together, they highlight that high NCAS consumption may exert negative health outcomes accommodated by other physiological or dietary parameters,” he explains. “Consequently, more interventional studies are needed that concentrate in isolating and identifying the underlying physiological or lifestyle conditions that potentially makes NCAS use harmful.”
In short, healthy adults who eat foods or drink beverages that are sweetened with saccharin from time to time shouldn’t be too concerned about adverse, long-term side effects.
What if you concentrated on eating more foods that are good for you rather than trying desperately to completely avoid the bad ones? Can you actually eat more and still lose weight?
Registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, says you can. Here’s how it works.
Most trendy diets include some sort of restriction — such as cutting out carbohydrates, gluten or dairy products — which makes them hard to sustain. Typically, once you stop following the diet’s restrictions, the weight comes right back.
“However, if you focus on adding more nutritious foods to your meals, as opposed to restricting foods, you’ll be more likely to lose weight and keep it off,” says Zumpano. “You won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself, so you’ll be more likely to maintain healthy eating habits.”
And, if you concentrate on incorporating a certain amount of healthy food into your meals every day — like aiming for between five and seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables — you may find that you’ll naturally limit the not-so-healthy choices.
Which healthy foods are best to add?
Zumpano recommends these foods to eat to lose weight and to improve your health in general:
Fruits and vegetables.
Legumes like dried beans, peas and lentils (they also can be canned or frozen for convenience).
Plant based oils such as olive, avocado, sunflower, grapeseed or peanut.
Nuts and seeds.
Lean sources of protein like fish, shellfish, white meat, eggs or egg whites and tofu.
Calcium-rich foods like low fat yogurt, cottage cheese and milk.
When adding fruits and vegetables to your meals, try to eat those first. They’ll help you feel fuller so you can cut back on your main-course portions to accommodate the extra calories.
“Keep in mind that healthy foods tend to have a lot fewer calories than other foods, so you can eat the same amount of food overall and still lose weight,” says Zumpano.
Quick tips for easily adding nutritious foods
Add something good to every meal: Start by adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast and a salad or other vegetable to your lunch and dinner.
Be prepared: Rinse and cut up fruits and vegetables during the weekend or at the beginning of the week. Then store them in containers in the refrigerator for easy use throughout the week.
Make it easy on yourself: If it helps you stay on track, you can buy fruits and vegetables that are already cut up and salad that is pre-washed and bagged. Or, buy frozen fruits and veggies to keep in your freezer so you always have them on hand. Try a fruit or veggie tray for convenience to snack on or pack up for meals.
Go for easy add-ins: Boost the nutrition in your salads by adding diced vegetables, seeds and nuts and using an oil-and-vinegar dressing. Try balsamic vinegar, lime or lemon juice for extra flavor.
Swap bad foods for healthier options
After you start working more healthy foods in, take a look at the unhealthy foods you eat and see if you can come up with healthier alternatives. Here are a few examples:
If you typically eat hot dogs a few times a week but also like roasted chicken breast, swap out hot dogs in favor of chicken most of the time.
Replace ice cream with frozen yogurt or sorbet.
Replace milkshakes with fruit-and-yogurt smoothies.
Snack on a handful of nuts or seeds instead of potato chips.
Try whole-grain toast or cereal instead of pastries.
Commit to changing your dinner entrée from red meats to fish once or twice a week.
Opt for beans instead of potatoes in several meals each week.
Health benefits of adding nutritious foods to your diet
Eating additional nutritious foods and fewer foods that are unhealthy can do more than help you lose weight. It can also:
Decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.
Help regulate your digestion.
Lower your cholesterol.
Help improve your mood and reduce depression.
Allow yourself a few treats.
“It’s unrealistic to expect people to eat healthy all the time,” says Zumpano. “But if you want to lose weight and keep it off, aim to eat healthy foods at least 75% to 80% of the time. Allowing yourself to have some unhealthy foods will help you stay on track.”
When indulging in an unhealthy treat, try to choose food items that won’t exacerbate any chronic conditions you have, such as high cholesterol or diabetes. If you’re unsure which foods are safe and which you really should avoid, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
While nuts may not have historically been considered a good option for diabetes-friendly diets, almonds are rich in heart-healthy fats and filling fiber that helps keep blood sugar balanced.
High in Good Fats
Almonds have an especially high concentration of monounsaturated fats, a heart-supportive fat that has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
They also are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E and the minerals magnesium (which improves the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body) and potassium (which is an important electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and muscle contraction).
Benefits for People With Diabetes
For people with diabetes, incorporating almonds into meal plans appears to decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar and insulin.
Furthermore, eating almonds along with a high-glycemic-index food significantly lowers the glycemic index of the full meal and lessens the rise in blood sugar after eating.
One study found that replacing 20 percent of dietary calories with almonds led to improved markers of insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol levels in adults with prediabetes.
Tips for Adding Almonds to Your Diet
Have a handful of almonds as a snack with a piece of fruit.
Try almond butter in place of peanut butter on whole-wheat toast or bread.
Top salads with almonds that have been lightly toasted in the oven.
Chop almonds and add to rice, pasta, or sautéed vegetables for added crunch.
Use finely chopped almonds in place of bread crumbs on top of baked casseroles.
Use unsweetened almond milk in diabetes-friendly shakes, sauces, eggnog, and other recipes.
Almond flour (also known as almond meal) can be used in many diabetes-friendly recipes.