Figuring out the best foods to eat when you have diabetes can be tough.
That’s because your main goal should be controlling your blood sugar levels.
However, it’s also important to eat foods that help prevent diabetes complications like heart disease.
Your diet can have a major role in preventing and managing diabetes
Here are the 16 best foods for people living with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2.
1. Fatty Fish
Some people consider fatty fish to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for heart health.
Getting enough of these fats on a regular basis is especially important for people with diabetes, who have an increased risk for heart disease and stroke
DHA and EPA protect the cells that line your blood vessels, reduce markers of inflammation and may help improve the way your arteries function
Research indicates that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk for acute coronary syndromes, like heart attacks, and are less likely to die from heart disease
Studies show that eating fatty fish may also help regulate your blood sugar.
A study in 68 adults with overweight and obesity found that participants who consumed fatty fish had significant improvements in post-meal blood sugar levels, compared with participants who consumed lean fish
Fish is also a great source of high quality protein, which helps you feel full and helps stabilize blood sugar levels
2. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables are extremely nutritious and low in calories.
They’re also very low in digestible carbs, or carbs absorbed by the body, so they won’t significantly affect blood sugar levels.
Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are good sources of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.
Some evidence suggests that people with diabetes have lower vitamin C levels than people without diabetes and may have greater vitamin C requirements.
Vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant and also has anti-inflammatory qualities.
Increasing dietary intake of vitamin C-rich foods can help people with diabetes increase their serum vitamin C levels while reducing inflammation and cellular damage
In addition, leafy greens are good sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
These antioxidants protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts, which are common diabetes complications
Avocados have less than 1 gram of sugar, few carbohydrates, a high fiber content, and healthy fats, so you don’t have to worry about them raising your blood sugar levels
Avocado consumption is also associated with improved overall diet quality and significantly lower body weight and body mass index (BMI)
This makes them an ideal snack for people with diabetes, especially since obesity increases your chances for developing diabetes.
Avocados may have properties specific to preventing diabetes.
A 2019 study in mice found that avocatin B (AvoB), a fat molecule found only in avocados, inhibits incomplete oxidation in skeletal muscle and the pancreas, which reduces insulin resistance
More research is needed in humans to establish the connection between avocados and diabetes prevention.
Eggs provide amazing health benefits.
In fact, they’re one of the best foods for keeping you full and satisfied in between meals
Regular egg consumption may also reduce your heart disease risk in several ways.
Eggs decrease inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels and modify the size and shape of your LDL (bad) cholesterol
A 2019 study found that eating a high-fat, low-carb breakfast of eggs could help individuals with diabetes manage blood sugar levels throughout the day
Older research has linked egg consumption with heart disease in people with diabetes.
But a more recent review of controlled studies found that consumption of 6 to 12 eggs per week as part of a nutritious diet did not increase heart disease risk factors in those with diabetes
What’s more, some research suggests that eating eggs may reduce the risk of stroke.
In addition, eggs are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that provide protection against eye diseases
Just be sure to eat whole eggs. The benefits of eggs are primarily due to nutrients found in the yolk rather than the white.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a wonderful food for people with diabetes.
They’re extremely high in fiber, yet low in digestible carbs.
In fact, 11 of the 12 grams of carbs in a 28-gram (1-ounce) serving of chia seeds are fiber, which doesn’t raise blood sugar
The viscous fiber in chia seeds can actually lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food moves through your gut and is absorbed.
Chia seeds may help you achieve a healthy weight because fiber reduces hunger and makes you feel full. Chia seeds may also help maintain glycemic management in individuals with diabetes.
A study involving 77 adults with obesity or overweight and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes found that chia seed consumption supports weight loss and helps maintain good glycemic control .
Additionally, chia seeds have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and inflammatory markers.
Beans are cheap, nutritious, and super healthy.
Beans are a type of legume rich in B vitamins, beneficial minerals (calcium, potassium, and magnesium), and fiber.
They also have a very low glycemic index, which is important for managing diabetes.
Beans may also help prevent diabetes.
In a study involving more than 3,000 participants at high risk for cardiovascular disease, those who had a higher consumption of legumes had a 35 percent reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes
7. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great dairy choice for people with diabetes.
Some research suggests that eating certain dairy products like yogurt may improve blood sugar management and reduce heart disease risk factors, perhaps partly due to the probiotics it contains.
Studies also indicate that yogurt consumption may be associated with lower levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance
A long-term study involving health data from over 100,000 participants found that a daily serving of yogurt was linked to an 18 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
It may also help you lose weight, if that’s a personal goal.
Studies show yogurt and other dairy foods may lead to weight loss and improved body composition in people with type 2 diabetes
The high levels of calcium, protein, and a special type of fat called conjugated linolic acid (CLA) found in yogurt may help reduce your appetite, making it easier to resist unhealthy foods
What’s more, Greek yogurt contains only 6–8 grams of carbs per serving, which is lower than conventional yogurt.
It’s also higher in protein, which may promote weight loss by reducing appetite and decreasing calorie intake
Nuts are delicious and nutritious.
All types of nuts contain fiber and are low in net carbs, although some have more than others.
Research on a variety of different nuts has shown that regular consumption may reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar, HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar management) and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
Nuts may also help people with diabetes improve their heart health.
A 2019 study involving over 16,000 participants with type 2 diabetes found that eating tree nuts — such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios — lowered their risk of heart disease and death
Research also indicates that nuts can improve blood glucose levels.
A study in subjects with type 2 diabetes found that consumption of walnut oil daily improved blood glucose levels
This finding is important because people with type 2 diabetes often have elevated levels of insulin, which are linked to obesity
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables around.
A half cup of cooked broccoli contains only 27 calories and 3 grams of digestible carbs, along with important nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium .
What’s more, studies in people with diabetes have found that eating broccoli sprouts may help lower insulin levels and protect against cellular damage.
Broccoli may also help manage your blood sugar levels.
One study found that consuming broccoli sprouts led to a 10 percent reduction in blood glucose in people with diabetes
This reduction in blood glucose levels is likely due to sulforaphane, a chemical in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and sprouts.
10. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is extremely beneficial for heart health.
It contains oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has been shown to improve glycemic management, reduce fasting and post-meal triglyceride levels, and have antioxidant properties
This is important because people with diabetes tend to have trouble managing blood sugar levels and have high triglyceride levels.
Oleic acid may also stimulate the fullness hormone GLP-1
In a large analysis of 32 studies looking at different types of fat, olive oil was the only one shown to reduce heart disease risk
Polyphenols reduce inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels, keep your LDL (bad) cholesterol from becoming damaged by oxidation, and decrease blood pressure
Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined, so it retains antioxidants and other properties that make it so healthy.
Be sure to choose extra-virgin olive oil from a reputable source, since many olive oils are mixed with cheaper oils like corn and
Flaxseeds are an incredibly healthy food.
Also known as common flax or linseeds, flaxseeds have a high content of heart-healthy omega-3 fats, fiber, and other unique plant compounds
A portion of their insoluble fiber is made up of lignans, which may help decrease heart disease risk and improve blood sugar management
A review analyzing 25 randomized clinical trials found a significant association between whole flaxseed supplementation and a reduction in blood glucose
Flaxseeds may also help lower blood pressure.
A study involving participants with prediabetes found that a daily intake of flaxseed powder lowered blood pressure — but it did not improve glycemic management or insulin resistance
MMore research is needed to investigate how flaxseed can help prevent or manage diabetes.
But overall, flaxseed is beneficial for your heart and gut health.
Another study suggested that flaxseed may help lower your risk for stroke and potentially reduce the dosage of medication needed to prevent blood clots
Plus, flaxseeds are very high in viscous fiber, which improves gut health, insulin sensitivity, and feelings of fullness
Your body can’t absorb whole flaxseeds, so purchase ground seeds or grind them yourself.
It’s also important to keep flaxseeds tightly covered in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid.
12. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits.
Although it’s made from apples, the sugar in the fruit is fermented into acetic acid, and the resulting product contains less than 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon.
According to a meta-analysis of six studies, including 317 patients with type 2 diabetes, apple cider vinegar has beneficial effects on fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c.
It may also reduce blood sugar response by as much as 20% when consumed with meals containing carbs
Apple cider vinegar is believed to have many other healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. But more studies are needed to confirm its health benefits.
To incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, begin with 1 teaspoon mixed in a glass of water each day. Increase to a maximum of 2 tablespoons per day.
Strawberries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat.
They’re high in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which give them their red color.
Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce cholesterol and insulin levels after a meal. They also improve blood sugar and heart disease risk factors for people with type 2 diabetes
Strawberries also contain polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties.
A 2017 study found that a 6-week consumption of polyphenols from strawberries and cranberries improved insulin sensitivity in adults with overweight and obesity who didn’t have diabetes
This is important because low insulin sensitivity can cause blood sugar levels to become too high.
A 1-cup serving of strawberries contains about 46 calories and 11 grams of carbs, three of which are fiber.
This serving also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamin C, which provides additional anti-inflammatory benefits for heart health
www.healthline.com. ( The 16 Best Foods to Control Diabetes). Written by Erin Kelly — Medically