Whether you have Type 1 or 2 diabetes, you are going to have to make some changes to your life, and this is truer with your diet than anything else. So, in this article, we will discuss the twelve best foods to control diabetes.
Before you start imagining a life full of dry crackers and water, do not despair. You may be surprised by the number of different diabetic foods you can eat to control diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you may need to find the best way to lose weight. As long as you are sensible with what you eat, there is no reason that this should be a problem.
Fruit and vegetables are some of the best diabetic foods to control diabetes and are exactly the sort of thing you need to eat for a healthy diet, to lose weight, and to lower blood sugar levels. Now, let’s look at the list of foods for people with diabetes.
Table of Contents
Best Foods to Control Diabetes:
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are highly nutritious, extremely low in calories and very low in digestible carbs. These should generally be avoided as eating digestible carbs will cause blood sugar levels to rise dramatically.
Leafy greens also contain vitamin C, which is beneficial for muscles and works as an anti-inflammatory. According to a study, raising vitamin C intake reduced inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure (1).
According to studies (2, 3), broccoli is one of the best diabetic food to control diabetes. Because, it contains vitamin C and magnesium, which are beneficial in lowering insulin levels.
Additionally, if you need to lose a few pounds, it is very low in calories, Finally, like leafy greens above, it contains antioxidants, which will help combat diseases common to people suffering from diabetes, such as cataracts and prevent eye diseases (4).
We haven’t looked at any fruit yet so I’m opting for strawberries. Apart from being absolutely delicious, they are also very healthy.
Packed full of vitamin C (for extra anti-inflammatory benefits), they are also high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is why strawberries are red. This antioxidant reduces cholesterol and insulin (5, 6, 7).
One such study that is inconclusive is for cinnamon. While some studies (8, 9, 10) have shown that cinnamon can cut levels of blood sugar and cholesterol, the jury is still out.
Still, since there is nothing better than adding cinnamon to baked goods and whole-grain bread are good options for diabetics, mixing the two together seems like a good plan to control diabetes.
There is an active component in turmeric called curcumin which may be particularly beneficial to diabetes sufferers. According to the research, curcumin can reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, while decreasing heart disease risk (11, 12, 13).
Studies have shown that curcumin not only reduces blood sugar levels but may also be beneficial for other complications. Research has also shown that it may even prevent diabetes although these studies are inconclusive (14, 15).
Finally, we have to mention garlic. As with the two spices above, the studies for garlic are inconclusive and results mixed. Still, garlic is great for cooking, and if you add it to your balanced diet, whatever its benefits for diabetes, your food will taste great no matter what.
Some studies have confirmed garlic can boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, blood sugar level, and LDL cholesterol in a patient with type 2 diabetes (16, 17, 18). Additionally, garlic may also be very efficient at reducing blood pressure (19, 20).
7. Extra Virgin Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an excellent addition to your diet. Great for cooking and salads, not only is EVOO packed full of nutrients, it has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease (21). Extra virgin olive oil also contains oleic acid which has benefits for blood pressure and heart health.
Flaxseeds contain something called lignan which has been shown to improve heart health and blood sugar control (22, 23). In fact, in a study for Type 2 diabetes sufferers who took flaxseed for 12 weeks improved their hemoglobin levels (24). Additionally, flaxseed is a great food for stroke patients with diabetes.
9. Shirataki Noodles
And to round off this list of diabetic foods, one of the very best to control diabetes is Shirataki Noodles. These noodles are free of carbs and fat, help to lower blood sugar levels, and delay stomach emptying, meaning they prevent blood sugar spikes (25, 25, 26, 27).
10. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is higher in saturated fat than ‘ normal’ yogurt but the fat in it is helpful in preventing spikes in blood glucose if eaten with other carbs. Greek yogurt shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk, perhaps partly due to the probiotics, it contains (28, 29, 30, 31).
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has numerous health benefits. A 2007 study found that two Tbsp ACV before bed reduced resting blood sugar by 4-6% but they only had 11 study participants (32). Another study of 19 found ACV before meals helped the insulin-resistant lower blood sugar after meals (33).
Chicken can be an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Chicken is high in protein and low in fat. Of course, you have to prepare it in a healthy way so the deep-fried chicken is out.
When prepared in a healthy way, chicken can be a great ingredient in a healthy diabetic eating plan. Also, chicken meat is an excellent food for kidney patients with diabetes.
And there you have it; foods to control diabetes. As you can see, with just a little bit of forethought, you really do not need to make a huge amount of changes to your life. You can still enjoy a varied diet full of delicious foods; the choice is yours.