March 15, 2023
The Top 20 Best Foods For Diabetes Control
There are foods out there that can help regulate blood sugar. This list of the top 20 foods is broken down into fruits and veggies, proteins, carbs, and beverages, so dig in!
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There are pages and pages of advice available to people with diabetes who are wondering what not to eat. In fact, we here at US MED have written about this very topic! But while it’s important to know what foods to avoid if you have diabetes, have you ever wondered what foods can help stabilize your blood sugar? If you have, this article can help. Keep reading for our top 20 foods for diabetes control.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Legumes for Diabetes Control
Broccoli is practically synonymous with healthy eating, and that goes double for people with diabetes! Like other cruciferous vegetables (a category including the likes of cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts), broccoli contains a high amount of sulforaphane. This compound can reduce oxidative stress, and it can even help you avoid diabetes complications like neuropathy and heart disease.
If you need to squash your hunger pangs, few foods do a better job than…well, squash! But this veggie isn’t just highly filling: it also boasts a low glycemic index and low calories. You’ll be able to enjoy winter and summer varieties, so leave some room on your plate for squash year-round.
When you’re in search of a healthy, delicious snack, carrots should be your first choice. They’re low in calories and carbs, and they’re high in vitamins and beta-carotene. To add flavor to carrots without sacrificing their health benefits, you can eat them with guacamole or hummus.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, or even if you’re concerned about developing this disease, beans are a fantastic choice. People with diabetes will appreciate their low glycemic index and high levels of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Along with these traits, research indicates that eating more legumes may decrease the odds of developing type 2 diabetes by 35 percent among people at risk of cardiovascular disease.
#5: Bitter Melon
This item may not be as easy to find as some of the other foods on this list – as you might have guessed, it’s not the most pleasant-tasting option out there. But bitter melon more than makes up for its flavor with its diabetes-related health benefits. Eating 2,000 milligrams of this plant per day has been proven to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
Fruits are generally higher in carbohydrates than vegetables, but that doesn’t make them a poor choice for people with diabetes! Despite their carb count, they’re packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fresh strawberries are especially healthy, thanks to their anthocyanins and polyphenols. The former can help you cut down on insulin and cholesterol levels after eating, while the latter may improve insulin sensitivity in overweight people without diabetes.
Proteins for Diabetes Control
#7: Wild Salmon
Protein is an essential part of everyone’s diet, including people with diabetes. However, choosing the right source of protein is crucial – and one exceptionally healthy protein source is wild salmon. This food will give you the protein you need without causing blood sugar spikes, while the omega-3 fatty acids it contains will improve your heart health.
#8: Lean Chicken
Another super-healthy protein source, lean chicken, consists of nearly 100% protein. Along with this, it’s incredibly filling and works in all sorts of recipes. Aim to eat a palm-sized portion, or roughly 22 grams, for a complete meal.
#9: Whole Eggs
Eggs are packed with protein , making them an ideal breakfast choice for people with diabetes. They’re also great at keeping you full between one meal and the next. Better yet, eggs may improve insulin sensitivity and cut down on your risk of heart disease! (Most of these health benefits are tied to nutrients in the yolk, so make sure to eat whole eggs.)
We mentioned hummus as an ideal dip earlier, but it deserves special mention. Eating plant-based protein is vital for people with diabetes since these protein sources contain heightened levels of fiber and nutrients. Legumes fit right into this category – and since hummus is made from chickpeas, which means it works here, too.
#11: Greek Yogurt
Dairy can be healthy for people with diabetes, but it pays to do your research. For example, Greek yogurt is a wonderful choice. Though it contains a type of fat known as conjugated linoleic acid, this fat can actually suppress your appetite. Along with this, Greek yogurt is low in carbs, and the probiotics it offers may play a role in boosting heart health and helping manage blood glucose.
#12: Tofu and Tempeh
Though similar, these soy-based foods are not identical: tofu consists of condensed soy milk, while tempeh is made with fermented soybeans. Both products work wonders when used as meat replacements, but don’t eat them more than three times a week if you have thyroid problems.
#13: Vegan Protein Powder
Smoothies are one of the most popular meal replacements available, but they tend to be fruit-heavy. As a result, they can be too high in carbohydrates for many people with diabetes. For an equally quick alternative, mix low-sugar vegan protein powder with unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk.
Carbohydrates for Diabetes Control
#14: Chia Seeds
When you’re planning a balanced diet that takes diabetes into account, one of the most challenging categories to work on is carbohydrates. But some grains are better than others when diabetes is a concern, and chia seeds are a fantastic choice. These seeds aren’t just low in carbs – 11 of the 12 grams of carbohydrates in a 28-gram serving are fiber!
#15: Shirataki Noodles
Being diagnosed with diabetes is difficult for anyone. Still, it can be even more discouraging if pasta is one of your favorite foods. These noodles offer a convenient loophole of sorts: they’re made from yam flour, which allows them to be low in carbs and calories. While they are usable as a noodle substitute in many recipes, one package of shirataki noodles contains 0-20 carbohydrates!
#16: Wild Rice
Rice is a staple food globally, but if you have diabetes, you may not be sure if you can eat it at all. Fortunately, the answer is “yes” – if you choose the right type of rice, that is. Instead of buying white rice, which is full of refined carbs, go with wild rice! This type of rice is an ancient grain that’s high in fiber and other nutrients. Whole wheat couscous and quinoa are excellent grains too!
Oats are another grain that’s relatively diabetes-friendly. That’s because they harbor beta-glucan – a type of fiber believed to lower blood pressure and cut down on high blood sugar. Try savory oatmeal for a nutritious breakfast!
#18: Dark Chocolate
Living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean sacrificing dessert. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate won’t just have health benefits – it won’t throw your blood sugar out of balance, either. To maximize these perks, eat one ounce of dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) per day.
Beverages for Diabetes Control
Since it’s packed with sugar, soda isn’t an ideal choice for anyone, but it’s exceedingly terrible for people with diabetes. Luckily, you can enjoy the fizz of soda without its negative qualities – just opt for a glass of unsweetened seltzer! You can find low-calorie brands of flavored seltzer, or you can add flavors to plain seltzer yourself.
#20: Green Tea
Unsweet Green tea can do more than help you wash down your next meal. This beverage can also fill you up, cutting down on the amount of food you’ll eat and helping you keep your blood sugar levels under control. Along with that, green tea can supercharge your metabolism.
Bonus: US MED’s Diabetes-Friendly Recipes
By now, you’re practically an expert on foods that can help you manage diabetes. Are you looking for recipes that incorporate these food items and other ingredients that are great for diabetes? We can help you with that, too! Just head over to our recipe collection, which is jam-packed with recipes created with diabetes in mind.