Are you diagnosed with diabetes recently and looking for a way to manage it naturally? Picking out the foods for diabetes to include in your diet can be a tricky affair. Although you will be under the supervision of a health care professional to treat diabetes, altering your diet and some lifestyle changes can control your blood sugar levels and prevent any further complications caused by it.
Therefore improve the overall well-being and prevent further complications of diabetes by balancing certain foods in your dietary plan. We present you with some of the best foods that help manage diabetes.
Healthy Foods For Diabetes Patients:
Here is the list of foods that are beneficial in managing the blood glucose levels in your body.
1. Fatty Fish:
Fatty fishes like salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel are considered the healthiest foods rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. People with diabetes have an increased risk for heart disease and stroke, and regular consumption of these fats is significant for people with diabetes.
Fatty fishes will help you feel full and help stabilize blood sugar levels since it is an excellent source of high-quality protein (1). According to a study conducted on overweight adults, people who consume fatty fish have a significant improvement in post-meal blood sugar levels than people who consumed lean fish (2).
Squash is one of the healthiest vegetables that come in many varieties, and they have a low GI, reasonably low in calories, and have beneficial antioxidants. According to research, Pumpkin polysaccharides decreased serum glucose levels and improved insulin tolerance in rats (3). However, there is a need for more research on humans to determine the health benefits of squash.
- Some of the winter varieties of squashes include acorn, butternut, and pumpkin, and they have a hard shell.
- Common types of summer squash are zucchini and Italian squash, which have a soft peel.
3. Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds are low in digestible carbs and high in fiber, making them one of the perfect foods for people with diabetes. It has viscous fiber that slows down the rate at which food moves through your gut and is absorbed, thereby lowering your blood sugar levels (4).
Consumption of chia seeds supports weight loss and helps maintain reasonable glycemic control in adults with obesity or overweight and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (5).
4. Flax Seeds:
Flax seeds are gaining popularity among health enthusiasts for their health-benefiting properties. It has mucilage, a gel-forming fiber that prevents glucose release onto the blood by slowing down digestion. According to some studies, diabetic patients may reduce fasting blood sugar levels by 20% with flaxseed supplementation (6). According to some preliminary studies, flaxseeds may reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes and delay the onset of type 2 diabetes since it has a compound called SDG (7).
5. Low-fat Yogurt/Milk:
Yogurt or milk with low amounts of carbs and high amounts of protein is best suited for people with diabetes. Consumption of low-fat milk or yogurt will provide your body with the required amount of vitamin D. Diabetics have low GI scores that are well-balanced with these foods.
Broccoli is considered one of the nutritious vegetables that are a perfect addition to your dietary routine. According to studies, broccoli helps lower insulin levels and protects against cellular damage in people with diabetes (8). This low-calorie, low-carb veggie has a chemical called sulforaphane that helps reduce blood glucose levels.
7. Shirataki Noodles:
Shirataki noodles are translucent and gelatinous noodles that are traditionally used in Japanese cuisine. These noodles promote the feeling of fullness and improve blood sugar management because of a fiber called glucomannan (9). According to some animal studies, glucomannan reduces the level of fasting blood glucose, serum insulin, and cholesterol (10).
Bananas are a fruit that is available in all seasons and filled with nutrients. Although this fruit has a low GI and is a rich fiber source, people with diabetes need to eat this fruit in moderation. Since banana is high in carbs, it is effective when taken in limited amounts.
Caution: Diabetics should not consume bananas daily, and consuming them twice or thrice a week seems safe.
Grapes can be beneficial for your health since it has several essential nutrients and potent plant compounds. They don’t appear to raise blood sugar levels since they have a low GI. Keeping the nutritional profile in mind, grapes can be a good choice when consumed in moderation. These fruits have a phytochemical called resveratrol that affects how the body secretes and uses insulin by modulating the blood glucose response.
Melons such as watermelon, honeydew, and muskmelon have all the necessary vitamins to be a healthy addition to your diet. When you have diabetes, it becomes essential to monitor your blood sugar levels and watch what you eat. Watermelon naturally has sugars that might have an impact on your blood sugar levels. Therefore depending upon your overall diet, make sure you have controlled portions of this fruit.
11. Bitter Gourd:
Bitter gourd and bitter melon help bring glucose into the cells for energy since it has properties that act like insulin. It may block the conversion of nutrients into glucose, and consuming bitter gourd also helps move glucose to the muscles, fat, and liver efficiently. According to a study, bitter gourd consumption effectively reduces the fructosamine levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and the prescribed medication (11).
Bittergourd is a healthy addition to your well-rounded diet and not a replacement for diabetic medication.
Okra is one of the vegetables that have high fiber content and low in calories. It also has several nutrients such as potassium, vitamins B, C, folic acid, calcium. It is one of the vegetables suggested to manage blood sugar levels. Diabetes management with okra is still in the early stages and needs more human trials. According to an animal study on pregnant rats, okra water has improved sugar levels with gestational diabetes (12).
13. Tomatoes For Diabetic Patient:
Tomatoes are a non-starchy food that is one of the best addition to the diet of diabetic patients. It help your body in various functions since it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can easily add this food to your diet, and it has a very low GI making it a good option for diabetes.
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We all heard the phrase, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples have all the necessary vitamins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants that significantly lower blood sugar levels, making them a perfect fruit for diabetic patients. Apples have high concentrations of beneficial antioxidants that help prevent type 2 diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels stable when you consume them regularly (13).
If you are looking for a diabetes superfood, beans are the perfect option. Beans help manage blood sugar levels compared to other starchy foods since they are low on the glycemic index. It reduces the speed with which glucose enters your blood, spiking your sugar levels by controlling hunger pangs with high levels of fiber (14).
16. Berries Food For Diabetes Patients:
All the berries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are healthy sources of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They are an excellent snacking option for people with diabetes since they are low on glycemic index. By including all these berries in moderation and a balanced diet, you can benefit to the maximum (15).
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Oats tops the list of diabetic foods. It has high amounts of fiber that not only helps absorb accumulated fat and regulates body functions. Oats are among the best whole grain foods for diabetes and high fiber options that slow down the rate of glucose absorption, thereby maintaining the proper blood sugar levels in your body (16).
18. Citrus Fruits:
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are a perfect option for diabetic patients full of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. These fruits are vitamin c foods for diabetes that help balance the GI scores of your body by providing it with the necessary fiber. It builds a robust immune system without adding extra glucose to your body by providing essential vitamins to your body.
19. Nuts & Seeds Are Best Food To Control Diabetes:
The omega 3 fatty acids present in nuts like walnuts and almonds and seeds like flax seeds making it a perfect addition to a diabetic diet. They also help balance your body’s sugar levels since it provides you with various minerals and essential vitamins.
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20. Leafy Greens:
Leafy greens are a perfect way to create a balanced diet for a diabetic patient and are among the best plant-based foods for diabetes. Spinach, kale, collard greens are plant-based calcium, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and protein sources. The high antioxidant content and starch-digesting enzymes present in leafy greens are helpful for people with diabetes.
Avocados are creamy and delicious fruits that help maintain a healthy body with fiber, vitamins, and nutrients; it is one of the best high-fat foods for diabetes. According to multiple studies, the dietary fiber in avocado may lower the fasting blood in diabetics (17). It reduces complications caused by diabetes by using insulin in your body more efficiently. But to be sure, you can consult your doctor before adding it to your diet.
Compared to many other grains, the dietary fiber is relatively high in quinoa. The high fiber and protein content of quinoa helps keep blood sugar under control, making it very beneficial for diabetes (18). It also provides your body with essential amino acids and is nutritionally rich. It is a quick-fix meal and keeps your hunger pangs at bay for extended periods.
The medicinal properties and flavor it adds make it a regularly used ingredient in Indian cuisine. The addition of garlic to your diet regularly will help you deal with chronic issues like cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. According to recent studies, garlic also plays a significant role in tackling diabetes (19). You can crush two cloves of garlic and consume them for quick results.
24. Whole-Grain Bread:
Replacing white bread with whole-grain bread is the perfect option for people with diabetes. Whole-grain bread helps maintain the blood sugar levels’ stability, preventing blood glucose spiking (20). It is one of the best-known diabetic foods that efficiently deal with the risk of diabetes.
25. Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolates have antioxidant properties in the form of polyphenols that protect your body from harmful molecules. The polyphenols present in dark chocolate may improve insulin sensitivity, thereby controlling your body’s blood sugar. It may also prevent the onset of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
See More: High Sugar Content Foods
26. Carrots Can Reduce Diabetes:
Carrots are known to reduce diabetes and sugar control risk since they are rich sources of beta-carotene. It is a non-starchy vegetable with essential nutrients like vitamin A and fiber that benefit blood sugar levels. To reap the maximum benefits of this vegetable, consume them raw.
27. Olive Oil:
The importance of olive oil in cooking has been gaining popularity in recent decades. It helps prevent diabetes and heart disease with its antioxidant properties and rich source of nutrients. Olive oil helps keep your insulin levels from plummeting because of the good fat present in it (21).
28. Red Onions:
Compared to their white and yellow counterparts, red onions are considered a flavorful and healthy addition to a diabetic diet chart. It is packed with nutrients like potassium, folate, and rich fiber and antioxidants, helping control the blood sugar levels efficiently (22). Depending upon your taste, you can either consume them raw or cooked.
29. Black Or Green Tea For Avoiding Diabetes:
Green and black tea are both beneficial for maintaining your health when taken moderately. The higher levels of polyphenols present in these teas help deal with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, cholesterol levels, etc. Consuming four to five cups of the black or green tea of your choice can make a world of difference.
30. Red Peppers:
Red pepper has several essential nutrients like lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C that promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. It have high amounts of antioxidants that can help keep your body healthy, and their GI is also low, making them a safe option for people with diabetes.
Barley is one of the fiber-rich foods for diabetes that reduces blood sugar and insulin levels efficiently. It slows down sugar absorption by binding it with your digestive tract since it is an excellent soluble fiber beta-glucan source. It not only keeps you feel full but also maintains stable blood sugar levels.
32. Peanut Butter Make You Diabetic Free:
Peanut butter is another favorite protein-rich snack with all the essential nutrients essential for a diabetic patient. It is better to consume peanut butter in moderation since it is high in calories. Peanut butter also can reduce the risk of diabetes since it has high amounts of fiber. It is a heart-healthy food, but make sure to keep in mind the quantity you consume.
33. Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet potatoes have high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and low GI, making them perfect for diabetes patients. It keeps your blood sugar levels stable by slowing down digestion. It also has specific carotenoids, which aids in reducing insulin resistance by helping your body respond to insulin.
34. Eggs For Diabetic Patient:
Eggs are high in cholesterol and provide high amounts of protein, and are among the best protein foods for diabetes. One egg has half a gram of carbs, and therefore, they will not affect the blood sugar levels, making them a healthy addition to a diabetic diet. Make sure you are either boiling and scrambling your eggs, especially if you have diabetes.
35. Beef -Food For Diabetes Patients:
Many might be surprised, but beef is indeed a recommended food for people with diabetes. It helps retain your muscle mass and keep your blood sugar levels in check by keeping your metabolism high.
Caution: Ensure you restrict your beef servings to 1/4th of your meal and consume only lean meat.
Worst Foods For Diabetes:
- Balancing high and low GI foods is one way to manage diabetes with a diet. You need to pair protein or healthy fat when choosing high GI foods since they make you feel full longer and reduce blood sugar.
- Some of the foods that are high on GI are:
- Puffed rice.
- White bread, white pasta, white rice.
- White potatoes.
- Limit the intake of carb-heavy foods.
- Control the consumption of fruits high-GI such as melons and pineapple.
- Reduce the intake of saturated and trans fats such as baked goods, chips, processed foods, etc.
- Avoid using refined sugar.
- Reduce the intake of salty foods.
- Stop drinking sugary drinks.
Eating healthy and following a proper diet will potentially impact managing the blood sugar levels in your body. These food additions to your diet are additional tools that will help you manage diabetes while getting proper treatment from your doctor. There are also several apps available in the market that will help you track your food intake.
Disclaimer: The content present in this article is for informational purposes and not a replacement for medical advice. It is always better to consult a medical professional before you start trying out anything new on your body.
1. Is it necessary to follow a low-carb diet if you have diabetes?
Ans: Although carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet, you need to watch the portion size when you have diabetes. It is necessary to get vital carbs from foods like yogurt, low-fat milk, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. People with diabetes also need to consume enough calories to maintain a healthy weight by having high-fiber foods low-fat foods while counting their carb intake.
2. Can we consume foods that are sugar-free if we are diabetic?
Ans: When taken in small amounts, sugar-free foods can be part of a healthy meal plan for diabetes patients. But these sugar-free foods may still affect your blood glucose levels since some of their foods still have carbs. Make sure you read the labels of the sugar-free products you consume since they have lots of fat, carbs, and calories.
3. How important is it to keep a check on the blood sugar levels?
Ans: Diabetes is a manageable disease only when you regularly check your blood sugar levels and follow dietary restrictions and lifestyle changes. Vision issues, kidney disease, neuropathies, heart attacks are complications that can result from high levels of blood sugar levels.