Diabetics have many concerns when it comes to food– what to eat, how much to eat, which foods contain a lot of sugar, which not, etc.
Therefore, knowing the right foods for them can help their everyday meal choices, without further increasing their blood sugar and preventing possible diabetes-related complications.
Overall, the best foods for diabetics are considered to be whole foods, like vegetables and fruits. Their diet should contain lots of lean protein, less of refined carbs, and more good fat. This diet plan prevents and controls high blood sugar, as well as reduces the risk of heart disease.
Here’s a list of the 25 best foods for diabetics that won’t aggravate your blood sugar levels. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are easily available.
The Ultimate List of Foods for Diabetics
Apples are one of the best foods for diabetics. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that consuming at least 5 apples per week reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 23%. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics should include apples rich in fiber in their daily diet. The right way to eat apples and other foods which contain carbohydrates is to spread their intake through the day.
People with diabetes have to pay more attention to the size of their portions. Eating too much can cause spikes in their blood sugar levels, so they have to eat in moderate amounts. In addition, this fruit contains antioxidants which reduce the bad cholesterol levels– the main cause of heart diseases.
This healthy vegetable is abundant in glutathione which is an antioxidant that protects from many diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Asparagus prevents the effects of aging, increases the production of insulin, and helps control blood sugar levels.
The abundant amounts of unsaturated vegetable fats in avocados make them ideal food for diabetics. A 2008 study showed that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women who consumed a lot of good fats was 25% less than in those who consumed good fats in significantly lesser amounts. You can add avocado to your sandwich or different salads.
Consuming a cup of legumes on a daily basis can help reduce the A1C and blood glucose reading, as well as blood pressure. Besides helping you to control your blood sugar, the fiber-rich legumes can also reduce the chances of a first-time stroke.
Blueberries are loaded with fiber which controls and prevents high blood sugar levels and cognitive decline. This fruit reduces inflammation and suppresses tumor growth, thus preventing cancer. Moreover, blueberries contain anthocyanins which decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers, consuming this fruit on a regular basis means 23% less risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain abundant amounts of the sulfur-containing compound glucosinolates. These compounds provide powerful anti-cancer effects, and they also reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
This vegetable is popular for its ability to boost eyesight and immune system due to its high beta-carotene and antioxidant content. It also helps protect against different types of cancer. Its beta-carotene content is said to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in those prone to this disease.
Cranberries are known to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, but they are also a great food for diabetics due to their anthocyanin content which includes phytonutrients. Studies have shown that this fruit contains antioxidants which reduce the bad cholesterol, and increase the good cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in cholesterol and saturated fat, including mackerel, sardines, tuna, lake trout, halibut, salmon, and herring. These fish help lower the risk of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, which can even lead to sudden death. Keep in mind that fish like shark, swordfish, and king mackerel might contain too much mercury. Include fish in your diet plan to lower the risk of stroke caused by diabetes– a risk which can be increased if eating fried fish.
Flaxseeds can help lower the A1C reading in those with type 2 diabetes. A research conducted on type 2 diabetes patients who added flaxseeds in their diet showed a drastic drop in their total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose levels, low-density LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
This is one of the healthiest ingredient in the world. It’s been used for treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, and heart disease for thousands of years. As health experts recommend, let garlic rest for ten minutes before using it in cooking, to boost its cancer-fighting abilities. To improve its active and sulfide compounds, use it chopped or crushed.
The active compound in turmeric– curcumin, helps regulate the fat metabolism, reverse insulin resistance, and reduce high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Turmeric has been used for centuries in the Indian cuisine due to its anti-cancer properties.
Melons, including cantaloupe, watermelon, casaba, honeydew, muskmelon, Persian, Crenshaw, and pepino, are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant which helps prevent cancer and cell damage linked to heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, raw watermelon is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and the richest in lycopene.
Due to their anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-high cholesterol, and anticancer properties, walnuts cans top and reverse diabetes and heart disease. Their content includes many heart-friendly substances including omega-3 fatty acids, L-arginine, vitamin E, fiber, and phytochemicals. Experts recommend consuming 2oz of mixed nuts per day to reduce the bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which delays digestion and provides a barrier to digestive enzymes, thus preventing increase in the blood sugar levels. Moreover, their low glycemic index helps control diabetes.
There are more than 150 varieties of quinoa, the most common being white, black, and red quinoa. It helps delay hunger and prevent blood sugar spikes. Quinoa is loaded with magnesium, folate, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, and manganese, and is very low in sodium.
This fruits, especially its edible seeds, contain lots of dietary fiber. They are packed with ellagic acid which can counter inflammation, reduce blood sugar levels, and prevent insulin resistance. Raspberries are classified as a superfood according to the American Diabetic Association.
18. Red Grapefruit
Another fruit regarded as a superfood by the American Diabetes Association. It’s high in antioxidants, soluble fiber, and vitamin C, which makes them better than white grapefruits. But, since they can interact with anti-arrhythmic medication, statins, and other drugs, it’s good to consult a doctor.
19. Red Onions
This type of onion contains a lot more antioxidants than the white and yellow type. It is loaded with flavonoids, especially quercetin which has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and asthma.
20. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers contain abundant amounts of antioxidants, lycopene, and vitamins A and C. This combination improves the overall health by lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Due to their incredible nutrient content, soy products can reduce serum cholesterol levels. They contain high-quality protein, folate, niacin, iron, potassium, zinc, and the fatty acid ALA which can be converted into omega-3 fatty acids.
The high amounts of beta-carotene present in spinach are used in the production of vitamin A in our body. This antioxidants prevents free radical damage– the main culprit of cancer. Regular consumption of spinach and other leafy veggies lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.
23. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are healthier than the white ones when it comes to controlling blood sugar and high cholesterol levels due to their high soluble fiber content. They are loaded with carotenoids which improve the body’s insulin response. What’s more, the presence of chlorogenic acid in sweet potatoes helps decrease insulin resistance.
Chromium is a mineral which improves the action of insulin, and cinnamon is abundant in it. This is why it helps decrease blood sugar levels. Adding this spice in your daily diet can reduce fasting blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, cinnamon contains high amounts of polyphenols, antioxidants which prevent free radical damage and decrease systemic inflammation, thus preventing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
25. Olive Oil
This is one of the healthiest oils due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Its healthy fat content prevents insulin resistance, thus reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Try to include some of Kate’s food ideas in your diabetes diet plan. They will help control your blood sugar levels, but also prevent various diseases.