Today, we’ll be going over the top 10 best foods for diabetes control. These are the foods that help manage your roller-coaster blood sugar, and even reverse type 2 diabetes while helping you melt away stubborn belly fat. Make sure you read till the end to learn ONE thing you can do before meals to lower post-meal glucose.
Number 10. “Healthy Fats”.
Healthy oils and fats are key to good health. A diet rich in Omega-threes (wild salmon, sardines), alpha-linolenic acid (flaxseed, walnut), and monounsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds) is anti-inflammatory, and beneficial for our blood sugar and overall health. Many studies show that a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease by up to 50 percent.
Recent research suggests it is not cholesterol and saturated fats in our diets that contribute to heart attacks. But a combination of high blood sugar and insulin from too much sugary and starchy foods, eating highly-processed inflammatory vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn, safflower, canola oil), as well as partially hydrogenated oils (margarine, baked goods, packaged snacks).
Number 9. “Green Leafy Vegetables”.
Studies prove that consuming green leafy and cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, cauliflower, and spinach) and drumstick leaves (moringa) can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is attributed to their magnesium (which reduces type 2 diabetes incidence) and antioxidant content (for example polyphenols, vitamin C, and beta-carotene), which help reduce systemic oxidative stress — a condition associated with numerous diabetes complications like heart disorders.
Number 8. “Whole Grains”.
While people with diabetes should avoid grains like white rice, not all grains need to be cut off from their diet. Diabetes-safe grain products such as brown rice and whole-grain bread have been observed to improve the blood sugar of people living with diabetes.
Studies show that consistent consumption of whole grains lowers your body mass index (BMI), which subsequently reduces body weight. How does bodyweight affect blood sugar? Failure to manage your body weight worsens diabetes by increasing the risk of developing diseases associated with heart disease.
Whole grains are high in fiber and help improve insulin sensitivity and prevent insulin spikes caused by increased blood sugar.
Number 7. “Coffee and Green Tea”.
Research on these beverages has shown that drinking green tea will decrease glucose in your blood and improve diabetes control by promoting insulin sensitivity. These effects are attributed to its epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content which promotes glucose uptake by skeletal muscles, reducing blood sugar levels.
Coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated, has similar effects. Research indicates that drinking coffee lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. One plausible mechanism for this is its ability to promote weight loss, which helps manage diabetes risk. This may be due to its quinides and chlorogenic acid content.
Number 6. “Dark Chocolate”.
Dark chocolate contains more cacao than milk chocolate, resulting in less severe effects on your blood sugar levels than regular chocolate. But, how does it control diabetes? Most research points towards an improvement in insulin resistance due to its flavonoid antioxidant content. These compounds reduce inflammation, prevent cell damage, break down glucose in the body, and reduce oxidative stress, the primary cause of insulin resistance. They’re also known to contain magnesium in significant amounts, which reduces your blood sugar levels and promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
Number 5. “Berries and Cherries”.
Although the sweet taste of berries like blueberries and strawberries can be confused with refined sugar that raises blood sugar, their effect is different. Treating yourself to strawberries or raspberries after a meal prevents your blood sugar from spiking and improves insulin secretion in overweight or obese people. More insulin means more glucose is converted into glycogen, and by extension, reduced blood sugar levels. This effect may be due to their anthocyanin polyphenol content, which has been shown to enhance glucose uptake and reduce inflammation.
Cherries, on the other hand, have been observed to have unique effects on diabetes. When ingested, the anthocyanin content of these fruits may boost insulin production by up to 50%. In addition to this, their antioxidant properties are responsible for reducing the risk of diabetes complications like heart disease and kidney failure.
Number 4. “Beans”.
As a diabetes superfood, beans, such as pinto, lima, and green beans, provide a rich source of fiber and have a low glycemic index (GI). This means that when you eat beans with any other food, white rice, for example, it’s more likely to prevent your blood sugar level from spiking than when you eat white rice alone, as studies suggest.
For one, they contain complex carbohydrates, which digest more slowly, keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Additionally, their high fiber content slows down the rate of digestion, minimizing blood sugar spikes. Their high protein content is also beneficial because it helps you stay full for more extended periods, eliminating the need for constant snacking and, by extension, excessive weight gain.
An excellent way to enjoy them is to sprinkle some cooked beans in your salad or add them to your sandwich or burgers.
Number 3. “Citrus Fruits”.
Citrus fruits also have a good amount of fiber that prevents an abrupt increase in your blood sugar and makes it easy for you to get full. In a study that examines the antidiabetic effect of citrus fruits, there was an increase In the uptake of blood sugar into the muscles and fat cells. This blood sugar lowering effect of citrus fruits is linked to their high flavonoid content, including cosmosiin, hesperidin, and naringin. Aside from lowering blood sugar, the vitamins in citrus fruits will boost your immune system, and prevent diabetes complications.
Number 2. “Nuts and Seeds”.
Nuts like walnuts and almonds have a low carb content with healthy amounts of fiber and dietary fat essential for managing blood sugar. Seeds, such as chia seeds and fennel flower seeds, are on a whole new level, with different seeds offering different health benefits for diabetic health. While fennel flower seeds possess hypoglycemic effects, chia seeds lower systolic blood pressure in people with diabetes. Notably, in chia seeds, most of these effects are linked to their rich fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and antioxidant content.
Number 1. “Avocados”.
This creamy fruit is packed with vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats and is highly recommended for people living with diabetes. With low amounts of sugar and carbohydrate and high fiber content, avocados deserve a spot on this list. Their fat and fiber content delays the digestion of carbohydrates and, subsequently, blood sugar. In addition to this, a compound called avocatin found only in avocado, functions in diabetics to reduce insulin resistance responsible for high blood sugar.
Weight management, which is also essential for people living with diabetes, is one of the benefits of this fruit, making it indispensable in the diabetic diet. So, whether you are smearing avocados on toast or using it as a dip, you are taking the right step to a healthy blood sugar level.
There you have it! The top 10 foods for diabetes control. One thing you can do to ensure you benefit from these foods is to consume apple cider vinegar, just before meals and before you sleep; this practice is proven to reduce post-meal glucose by up to 34%.
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