15 Best Foods to Control Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the primary reasons behind heart, liver and kidney diseases, peripheral neuropathy, eye-related issues and more. In fact, India has the second-largest number of adults who have diabetes. Therefore, a proper diet is crucial to prevent and manage diabetes.
Here, you will find the 10 best foods to control diabetes, 5 vegetarian options, and a list of restricted ones as well. Take a look.
What Are the 10 Best Foods to Control Diabetes?
Salmon, sardines, halibut, tuna, anchovies, sea bass, lake trout, mackerel and herring contain DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to maintaining heart health diabetic people.
Fatty fish significantly regulates blood sugar levels. It is a high source of protein and improves post-meal blood sugar levels.
You can keep your blood sugar levels under check with a cup of avocado, which hardly contains 1 gm of sugar, some carbohydrates, lots of fibre and good fats. It also helps you improve your diet quality by lowering your weight and body mass index.
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients. Daily intake of eggs improves heart condition by lowering the chances of cardiac diseases. In addition, eggs relieve inflammation, enhance insulin sensitivity, improve HDL cholesterols, and restructure LDL or bad cholesterol levels.
Put this high-fat, low-carb food in your daily breakfast to control blood sugar levels. Diabetic people should have 6 to 12 eggs a week.
4. Greek Yoghurt
Another best food to control diabetes is Greek yoghurt. The probiotics in this food significantly improve blood sugar levels and lower the chances of heart diseases.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health proved that people consuming yoghurt daily had an 18% lesser chance of developing diabetes type 2. In addition, a high amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) includes protein, calcium, and good fat, which improves diet quality.
Bean, a legume, is full of B vitamins, fibre and vital nutrients such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. In addition, beans are beneficial for managing blood sugar levels due to their low glycemic index.
A recent study conducted on over 3,000 patients with high heart disease propensity showed that they had 35% less chance of developing diabetic type 2 due to including beans in their daily meal.
Almost all nut variants are full of fibre, making them highly nutritious. The US Department of Agriculture has experimented with calculating the digestible carbs in 1 ounce (28 gm) of the following nuts:
- Cashews - 7.7 gm
- Pistachios - 5 gm
- Almonds - 2.6 gm
- Hazelnuts - 2 gm
- Walnuts - 2 gm
- Macadamia - 1.5 gm
- Brazil Nuts - 1.4 gm
- Pecans - 1.2 gm
Eating some of these nuts daily reduces inflammation and controls fasting blood sugar, haemoglobin, HbA1c and LDL cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, diabetic people should include tree nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds to minimise the chances of developing fatal heart diseases. Also, walnuts help improve blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients.
7. Chia Seeds
Due to the presence of high fibres, chia seeds are also included in the list of the best food to control diabetes. Studies show that 11 of the 12 gm of carbs in 28 gm chia seeds contain viscous fibre that does not escalate blood sugar levels.
8. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fibres. They consist of lignans, a kind of insoluble fibre, which remarkably decreases cardiac issues and enhances blood sugar levels. They also fight against insulin sensitivity.
Broccoli is full of a plant chemical called sulforaphane. It possesses antibiotic factors and helps improve insulin sensitivity by reducing blood sugar levels and oxidative stress markers. Half a cup of cooked broccoli has 27 calories and 3 gm of digestible carbs with other vital nutrients such as vitamin C and magnesium. This vegetable regulates our blood sugar level effectively.
Moreover, they lower blood glucose levels of diabetic individuals by 10%.
Several studies have associated berries with controlling blood sugar levels. This is because berries are rich in fibres, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, which are proven to manage the sugar levels of our bodies. For instance, 2 cups of raspberries lower post-meal insulin and blood sugar in people with pre-diabetic symptoms.
Also, a cup of strawberries includes nearly 46 calories and 11 gm of carbs. This serving contains over 100% vitamin C recommended daily value, adding more anti-inflammatory benefits.
This piece also includes the 5 best veg food for diabetes. Keep reading.
Top 5 Vegetables to Control Diabetes
Kale contains fibres and flavonoid antioxidants which are beneficial to lower blood sugar levels.
A study including 42 Japanese adults had shown that eating 7 to 14 gm of kale with a high-carb meal subsequently minimises post-meal blood sugar levels compared to a placebo.
The flavonoid antioxidants of kale contain quercetin and kaempferol that help to reduce blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
3.5 ounces of raw spinach contain 23 calories, 91% water, 2.9 gm proteins, 3.6 gm carbs, 0.4 gm sugar (mainly fructose and glucose), 2.2 gm fibre, and only 0.4 gm fat. Also, this leafy vegetable contains enough vitamin C to make up for the deficiency among diabetic people.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory qualities. This feature helps diabetes patients increase their serum vitamin C levels and, at the same time, reduce cellular damage.
This plant-based food contributes to lowering the risk factors of obesity, diabetes and cardiac ailments. Tofu is full of isoflavones which are responsible for reducing several diseases.
A cup of cooked quinoa has 118 mg magnesium which is essential for over 300 enzymatic reactions taking place in all the cells of our bodies to function. Studies confirm that lower magnesium consumption leads to high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes and other risks.
Quinoa contains kaempferol and quercetin, which help to manage blood sugar levels.
Lentils are full of folate that limits the risk of gestational diabetes. A study in 2019 proved that among 14,553 pregnant women, those who consumed more folate had lesser chances of developing gestational diabetes.
Now that you are aware of the different types of food ideal to keep diabetes under control, it’s also essential to know what to avoid.
5 Foods to Avoid With Diabetes
1. Sodas and Sweet Drinks
Carbonated drinks often contain high fructose, which affects insulin sensitivity. Also, they increase the chances of fatty liver, obesity and other ailments.
2. Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial trans fats are made with unsaturated fatty acids mixed with hydrogen to maintain their stability. Although they are not directly linked with increased blood sugar levels, they increase inflammation and insulin resistance.
White rice, pasta, and bread significantly increase blood sugar levels in both type 1 and 2 diabetic patients. They also lower the functioning capacity of the brain in such patients.
4. Sugar-coated Cereals
Sweetened cereals have lower protein content and tend to increase the symptoms in diabetic patients.
5. Honey and Brown Sugar
People with diabetes often substitute white sugar with honey and brown sugar. However, these sweeteners may not be as highly processed as white sugar. They contain carbs. One tablespoon of honey contains 17.3 gm of carbs.
The International Diabetes Federation Atlas states that diabetes is one of the health emergencies globally and is becoming widespread among the population at an alarming rate.
Therefore, this list of best foods to control diabetes and what to avoid will be beneficial to consider while planning your healthy balanced diet.