10 Healthy Diabetes-Friendly Foods

10 Healthy Diabetes-Friendly Foods

What is diabetes?

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are very high. Glucose usually comes from the foods you eat. The cells of your body require glucose for energy. A hormone called insulin helps the glucose to get into your cells.

With type 1 diabetes, your body is not able to make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to make or use the insulin in the body properly. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in your blood and leads to high blood sugar levels.

Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are more than normal but not too high to be called diabetes. If you have prediabetes, you are very much likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

How do the foods you eat affect your blood sugar levels?

The sugar mainly in your blood comes from certain foods called carbohydrates, or "carbs." Foods that are high in carbs are candy and sweets, sodas, bread, tortillas, and white rice. The more carbs you eat, the more your blood sugar level will be.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, having the right food choices is a vital way to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. When you control your blood sugar, you  reduce your chance of suffering from any serious health problems from diabetes, like vision loss and heart problems.

And if you are at risk of developing diabetes, eating foods that keep your blood sugar levels healthy may help prevent type 2 diabetes.

10 Diabetic Diet Plan Food List

Certain foods help reduce blood sugar levels, and this helps them play an important role in controlling diabetes. It is also very beneficial to consume foods that help ward off diabetes complications like heart and kidney diseases.

  1. Leafy Greens

Green, leafy vegetables being low in calories, are incredibly nutritious veggies. Being low in digestible carbs means they play a vital role in controlling blood sugar levels too.

Spinach, kale, and other super leafy greens are rich in various vitamins and minerals like vitamin C. A study showed that increasing vitamin C intake lowers the fasting blood sugar levels of people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

  1. Cinnamon

Along with the strong antioxidant properties, cinnamon also has the ability to control diabetes. According to several controlled studies, cinnamon can help lower your blood sugar levels and enhance insulin sensitivity as well.

  1. Fatty Fish

A diabetic person can add salmon, sardines, and mackerel to their diet. These fatty fishes are good sources of DHA and EPA, which are omega-3 fatty acids with multiple heart health benefits.

Enhancing the intake of these healthy fats could particularly benefit diabetic individuals who are at an increased risk of heart disease.

  1. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are extremely high in fibre, with less digestible carbs. The viscous fibre found in these seeds is known to lower blood sugar levels. It does this by slowing down the rate at which food is moving through the gut and getting absorbed in the body.

  1. Greek Yogurt

Greek yoghurt is a great dairy option for diabetics, because of its ability to control blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease. This is partially due to the probiotics present in them.

Studies have also found that yoghurt and various other dairy products can result in weight loss and better body composition in people with type 2 diabetes. 

  1. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds consist of insoluble fibre made up of lignans which help reduce heart disease risk and improve blood sugar control.

A study showed that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed flaxseed lignans for approx 12 weeks experienced a noticeable improvement in haemoglobin A1c.

  1. Nuts

All nuts contain fibre, and are low in digestible fibre, although that varies in levels. Research on different nuts has shown that their consumption can lower inflammation, and reduce HbA1c. It can also reduce blood sugar and LDL levels in the body. 

Recently, a study showed that people with diabetes who added 30 g of walnuts to their diet daily for a whole year lost weight. Even saw changes in their body composition, and significantly reduced their insulin levels.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

The sugar content in the fruit is fermented into acetic acid, with the resulting product containing very few carbohydrates.

Apple cider vinegar has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood sugar levels. It also has the ability to lower blood sugar levels by 20% when consumed with meals having carbs. Additionally, a study showed that people with poorly controlled diabetes saw a 6 per cent fall in fasting blood sugar levels when given two tbsp of apple cider vinegar before sleeping.

  1. Garlic

Garlic is known to reduce inflammation, blood sugar, and LDL levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It can be very effective in lowering blood pressure levels in the body.

  1. Strawberries

Strawberries are specifically high in anthocyanins, the antioxidants that provide them with their red colour which has been shown to reduce insulin and cholesterol levels right after a meal. They also lower the risk of increased blood sugar levels and heart diseases in people with type 2 diabetes.

The high-carb foods and drinks you should limit or avoid include:

  • Sugary foods, like candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, and canned fruits with added sugar
  • Drinks with added sugars, such as juice, regular sports or energy drinks
  • White rice (opt for brown rice), tortillas, bread and pasta - especially those made with white flour
  • Starchy vegetables
  • You may also need to limit your alcohol

Take Away

To prevent diabetes and prediabetes through your diet, lower the number of total carbs and sugar that you consume. Low glycemic index foods have a score of 55 or less.

The most essential way to avoid the onset of diabetes if you’re insulin resistant is to lose a good amount of weight, exercise, and eat a well balanced, whole foods diet.