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10 Best Foods For Diabetes That You Should Know

By Dr Prachi Garg +2 more

Patients with type 2 diabetes must rely on oral hypoglycemic drugs to maintain blood sugar levels. However, it is hazardous to rely on either drugs or surgery for long-term benefits.

4 best foods for diabetics

There has always been some debate amongst physicians and nutritionists on the role of diet in the management of diabetes in the long term.

Evidence suggests that certain foods can help to curb sugar spikes and improve insulin resistance that may eventually lead to less dependence on medications.

A diet that is loaded with fresh vegetables, fibrous fruits, healthy proteins and good fat can benefit people with diabetes.

10 Foods That Are Good for Diabetics

  • Whole Grains:

When we substitute refined grains with whole grains in our diet, it may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus. [1]

Whole grains have loads of fibre and nutrients as compared to refined white grains. Fibre slows the digestion process, thus nutrients are absorbed by the body at a slower pace, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Also, whole grains have a lower glycemic index (GI), thus having comparatively less impact on blood sugar levels.

Brown rice, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, oats, millet, quinoa and barley all are useful for diabetics.

Beta-glucans in oats and barley, prevent blood glucose levels from increasing after the intake of food. [2]

  • Green Leafy Vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables contain loads of nutrients and are low in calories. They are also low in carbohydrates which may raise our blood sugar levels. They are rich in dietary fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Their consumption is known to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. [3]

Diabetics should eat raw vegetables like salad, at the beginning of meals since cooking vegetables can destroy certain phytochemicals.

  • Nuts:

Research has shown that nuts are highly beneficial for type 2 diabetes. Consuming nuts along with a controlled diet can help in improving blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Almonds are known to manage blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal. [4]

Studies have shown that pistachios contain the hormone glucagon-like peptide1, which reduces glucose levels, thus reducing the risk of diabetes. [5]

Walnuts also are known to manage blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetes. [6]

  • Greek Yoghurt:

Greek yoghurt is rich in protein, calcium, probiotics and low in carbohydrates. It also has a low glycemic index (GI). Unsweetened, low-fat Greek yoghurt regulates blood glucose levels and may prevent the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. [7]

Diabetics can have Greek yoghurt along with meals or have it as a snack between major meals.

Read More: 10 Health Benefits of Eating Yoghurt

  • Garlic:

Consumption of garlic improves glycemic status and is known to reduce fasting and post-prandial blood sugar levels. [8]

Garlic also contains vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Vitamin B6 helps in carbohydrate metabolism and vitamin C helps to maintain blood sugar levels.

Diabetics can consume raw garlic or add it to foods or they can even have garlic supplements available in the market.

Read More: 10 Health Benefits of Garlic

  • Cinnamon:

Cinnamon may reduce the risk of diabetes and related complications. [9]

Cinnamon enhances the release of insulin and the signalling of insulin receptors, thus helping in the management of diabetes. It is also a powerful antioxidant, preventing the development of diabetes.

Cinnamon also prevents a sudden rise in sugar levels after meals. [10]

I advise including tomatoes as a healthy food choice in your diabetes-friendly diet. Whether you prefer them pureed, raw, or in a sauce, tomatoes may provide essential nutrients such as vitamins C and E, and potassium. These nutrients are beneficial for your overall health and might be a great addition to your meals.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar is made by subjecting the juice obtained from apples to fermentation. It also contains vitamin C, B vitamins and acetic acid.

Apple cider vinegar effectively reduces blood glucose levels after meals and is also known to improve the function of insulin. Thus, it is beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. [11]

Read More: 6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Beans:

Beans are loaded with nutrition. They are rich in fibre and protein, keeping us full longer and reducing our carbohydrate intake.

Beans also have a low glycemic index (GI) and effectively reduce blood sugar levels. GI of soybean is 15, while kidney beans are 28 and chickpeas is 33.

Beans thus are extremely beneficial for diabetics. [12]

If you’re trying to manage diabetes and looking for protein-rich food options to include in your diet, I might suggest adding lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, eggs, and meat substitutes like tofu. These protein sources may provide you with essential nutrients while helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.
  • Berries:

Berries are powerful antioxidants. They are also rich in Vitamin C and fibre. Berries also have a low GI value.

Berries like blueberries, strawberries were found to be useful in regulating blood glucose levels and thus proved to be beneficial for diabetics. [13]

Read More: 10 Low GI Fruits of Diabetics

  • Fatty Fish:

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids protect diabetics from various diabetes-related complications like nephropathy, cardiomyopathy, neuropathy, retinopathy etc. [14]

Fatty fish is also loaded with proteins, making us feel full for a long time and reducing our carbohydrate intake.

For those having diabetes, I should suggest incorporating citrus fruits into your diet regularly. You may choose from a variety of options such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes. These fruits are not only delicious but might also provide essential nutrients like fibre, vitamin C, folate, and potassium, which are beneficial for your health.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Read More: Understanding Types Of Blood Sugar Levels

Foods to avoid in Diabetes:

  • Refined sugar
  • Drinks loaded with sugar
  • Deeply fried foods
  • White bread and White rice
  • Refined flour (Maida)
  • Sweetened high-fat yoghurt
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruit juices
  • Packaged snacks
  • Sweets, cakes, biscuits
  • Potatoes
  • Red meat

Check out diabetic essential products required to maintain an ideal level of blood sugar in your body.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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