For diabetic patients, figuring which foods are best to eat can be difficult, keeping in mind to control your blood sugar levels. In this blog, we have listed the best food for diabetes that you can include in your diet, for people who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
15 Best Foods for Diabetes
Fatty fish is recognized as the healthiest food, having major benefits for heart health. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring and anchovies. If you can get enough of these fats from your daily diet, you can control your blood sugar levels, ultimately cutting down the risk of heart stroke and several other cardiac issues.
EPA and DHA protect the cells in your blood vessels, which reduces inflammation markers and improves the functioning of your arteries after eating. In several observational studies, it has been found that people consuming good amounts of fatty fish on a regular basis have lower risk of heart disease or heart failure.
Various other studies inferred that older women and men who eat fatty fish five to seven days in a week for around 3 months regularly have noticeable reductions in inflammatory markers and triglycerides.
Fish is also a good source of protein, making you feel full and improving your metabolic rate.
If you have diabetes but you don’t include leafy vegetables in your diet, start doing it from now. These foods are highly nutritious and counted in low-calorie foods. They are quite low in digestible carbs, which is the reason behind increased blood sugar levels. Kale, spinach and other leafy greens are significant sources of several minerals, vitamins like Vitamin.
In a study, increasing the amount of Vitamin C foods in your diet reduces fasting blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers for people suffering from type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Not only this, leafy vegetables have strong antioxidant properties in form of zeaxanthin and lutein. The antioxidants in these vegetables protect eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration, which are general complications for diabetes patients.
Not many people know, but cinnamon is a healthy spice having potent antioxidant activity. In many studies, it has been found that cinnamon has the ability to reduce blood sugar levels and boost insulin sensitivity.
For controlling long-term diabetes, tests like measuring hemoglobin A1c are performed that gives your average blood sugar level of 2-3 months.
In one of the many studies conducted to observe the best foods for diabetes, it was noted that people consuming cinnamon for around 3 months regularly had double reduction in hemoglobin A1c as compared to those who don’t.
A recent combined analysis of ten studies inferred that cinnamon also helps in reducing your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
However, that doesn’t mean you should have very high intake of cinnamon. You need to balance the intake of cassia cinnamon, a type of cinnamon found in almost every grocery store. Do not take more than 1 teaspoon a day. It consists of coumarin which is a beneficial ingredient but an overdose might lead to several health problems. You can have Ceylon cinnamon instead, as it has less amount of coumarin.
Eggs offer great health benefits and is counted in the best tummy-filling foods. When you consume egg daily, it can help in reducing the risk of heart disease in various ways. Eating eggs decreases inflammation. Boosts the good HDL cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity and modify the shape and size of the bad LDL cholesterol.
In a study, people consuming 2 eggs on a regular basis as part of their high-protein diet saw improvements in their blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
Additionally, eggs also contain antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein that prevents against eye disease.
Note: Eat whole eggs always. The main nutrient content is in its yolk.
Chia seeds are another important food to be included in your diet, if you have got diabetes. They are rich in fiber and have low-digestible carbs. Eating 28 grams of chia seeds will get you 11-12 grams of fiber in its carbs content, which will not raise your blood sugar levels.
The fiber content in chia seeds is capable of lowering your blood sugar levels. How? It slows down the movement of the food to reach the gut and get digested, which keeps you feel full for longer. Fiber is a good source in reducing the amount of calories you take from other food items in the same meal.
Turmeric has curcumin, an active ingredient that can lower blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers. This in turn, reduces the risk of cardiac issues. It takes care of your kidney health, if you are diabetic.
Monitoring your kidney health is very important for diabetic patient, as they are more vulnerable to kidney diseases than non-diabetics. To get the maximum benefits of curcumin in turmeric, consume it with piperine (in black pepper). It helps in faster absorption of curcumin.
For diabetes patients, Greek yogurt is the most beneficial diary product to include in the daily diet. It improves your blood sugar levels, minimizing the risk of cardiac issues. It contains probiotics which helps in controlling weight and improves your body composition (type 2 diabetes patients).
According to research, the CLA (conjugated linolic acid) and high calcium in dairy products are helpful in balancing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Greek Yogurt consists of 6-8 grams of carbs only in one serving, which is much lower than regular yogurt. Additionally, it is rich in protein that promotes weight loss, ultimately decreasing the calorie intake.
This nutritious and delicious food item is high in fiber and low in digestible carbs – the best combination food for people with diabetes.
Below is the amount of digestible carbs in every 28 grams of nuts:
- Almonds:6 grams
- Pecans:2 grams
- Walnuts:2 grams
- Brazil nuts:4 grams
- Macadamia:5 grams
- Cashews:7 grams
- Hazelnuts:2 grams
- Pistachios:5 grams
Research carried out on several types of nuts shows that daily consumption of nuts can reduce blood sugar, inflammatory markers, LDL levels and HbA1c.
In a study, diabetic people who included walnuts (30grams) in their diet regularly for over a year, lost weight and had improved body compositions. In addition to this, their insulin levels were also under control.
Among so many vegetables and its types, broccoli is one of the healthiest. Eating half a cup of broccoli daily gives you only 3 grams of digestible carbs and 27 calories, along with healthy nutrients like magnesium and Vit-C.
In many studies, diabetics have notably seen that broccoli consumption can lower the insulin levels and prevents the cells to develop free radicals during metabolism.
Not just this, the vegetable also contains good amount of zeaxanthin and lutein, which are essential antioxidants to prevent eye diseases.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
An extremely beneficial product for improving heart health, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil has to been our list of best foods for diabetes. It has oleic acid, a kind of monounsaturated fat that improves the levels of HDL and triglycerides, which is quite higher in patient having type 2 diabetes.
It also boosts fullness hormone GLP-1. In a broader analysis combining inferences of 32 studies, it was noted that olive oil showed reduction in the risk of heart disease.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil also consist polyphenols, an antioxidant that is known for reducing inflammatory markers, protecting the cells in your blood vessel lining, decreasing blood sugar levels and keeping your LDL cholesterol from getting damaged by oxidation.
It is unrefined oil, which retains the properties of its antioxidants and other elements, making it a healthy food option for diabetics. However, make sure you get extra-virgin olive oil from a trusted source, as many stores sell cheaper and mixed varieties of olive oil, like soy and corn.
Like chia seeds, flax seeds are also high in fiber and a part of its insoluble fiber is composed of lignans that has the ability to control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiac issues. In a study, people having type 2 diabetes who had flaxseed lignans for a period of three months noticed notable improvement in their hemoglobin A1c.
In another study, it was seen that flaxseeds can also lower the risk of heart strokes and potentially lower the need of medication to treat blood clots.
Flax seeds have a high content of viscous fiber that can improve insulin sensitivity, gut health and keeps you feel full. Our body is not capable of absorbing whole flaxseeds. SO it is better buy ground flaxseeds or you can also grind it at home. Make sure you keep it covered tightly in the refrigerator to protect them against rancidness.
If you are diabetic and like eating fruits, include strawberries in your daily diet. It is considered to be a healthy fruit, containing anthocyanins, an antioxidant that gives it the red color.
Anthocyanins show reduction in insulin and cholesterol levels post a meal. They also balances your blood sugar levels and minimizes the risk of cardiac diseases in people having type 2 diabetes.
In a cup of strawberries, there are 1 gram of carbs (3gms of which is fiber) and 49 calories. It offers 100% of the RDI for Vit-C, which has got anti-inflammatory benefits for better heart health.
Garlic is one of the tastiest herbs with amazing health benefits. In various studies, it has been seen that eating garlic can reasonably reduce blood sugar levels, inflammation and LDL cholesterol in patients of type 2 diabetes.
Garlic is also an effective choice for people who look forward to reducing their blood pressure.
Studies inferred that consuming aged garlic everyday for over 3 months showed 10-point reduction in blood pressure of people having the problem of uncontrolled high BP. One clove of raw garlic consists of 1 gram of carbs and 4 calories.
Squash is considered as one of the most beneficial vegetables for diabetics. These are found in abundance during winters and include varieties like acorn, butternut and pumpkin. Summer squash has got a soft peel that can be had raw. Its most popular types are Italian squash and zuchhini.
Like various other vegetables, squash consists of useful antioxidants, mainly zeaxanthin and lutein that protects you against macular degeneration and cataracts. Using squash in animal studies showed significant reductions in insulin and obesity levels.
Although not much research have been done on humans, in one it was found that people having type 2 diabetes who consumed winter squash Cucurbita ficifolia, saw notable reductions in their blood sugar levels.
Note: Winter squash is high in carbs as compared to summer squash.
Shirataki noodles are a perfect option for weight control and diabetes. They are rich in glucomannan, a fiber that is extracted from the konjac root. The plant is mostly grown in Japan and given the shape of rice or noodles called shirataki.
Glucommannan is a kind of viscous fiber that keeps you satisfied ad full for longer. It reduces the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
In studies, it has shown impressive results of low blood sugar levels in diabetes and lowers the risk factors of heart disease in people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
In 100 gram serving of shirataki noodles, there’s only 2 calorie and less than one digestible carbs.
The noodles are packed in a liquid that smells fishy and you must rinse them properly before cooking. Also make sure to cook it for long in skillet over high flame to give it s noodle-like appearance. Do not add fat.
An important message
Having uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high risk of various health complications and diseases. If you are diabetic or anyone in your family or friends, make sure foods that keep blood sugar levels in control, reduces insulin sensitivity and the inflammatory markers are included in the daily diet.
We hope this list of our best food for diabetes will come to your help.
Stay fit, stay healthy.