If you have diabetes, you likely understand the importance of having a balanced diet to help with maintaining your condition. However, there can be a disconnect between understanding the importance of eating right and knowing good foods for diabetics.
The best types of food for diabetics are low in sugar and simple carbohydrates. They should be high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. A proper diet will help lower your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and will maintain your blood sugar levels. According to the American Health Association, diabetics are two to four times more likely than non-diabetics to experience.
Luckily, below is a list of foods for diabetics, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Leafy greens like kale and spinach have a lot of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Therefore, they are a nutritious choice for managing diabetes. More specifically, leafy greens contain a high concentration of vitamin C. Medical research proves that vitamin C helps regulate blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers. If you take blood clot medicine, eat leafy greens consistently. Eating fluctuating amounts of high vitamin K foods can interfere with your medication. The most common way to get your greens is through eating salad. Also, you can also add them to smoothies, eggs, and more!
Fatty fish like salmon are high in two omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both help reduce inflammation and promote heart health. The anti-inflammatory properties of salmon help reduce leg swelling in people with peripheral edema. It is also important for pre-diabetics and diabetics alike because they have an increased risk for developing heart disease and stroke. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids helps blood flow because they promote the release of nitric oxide. This dilates the blood vessels and improves poor circulation. On a side note, wearing women’s and men’s diabetics socks can also help with foot circulation issues. Learn more about these socks here.
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Other fatty fish that are a good choice for diabetics include sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herring. Salmon is by far the most popular, with many people enjoying it grilled or roasted.
Eggs is a versatile food and they are a great choice for diabetics too, especially those with gestational diabetes. Their high protein content helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol while reducing inflammation. Additionally, eggs contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which protect from eye disease.
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Doctors recommend eating whole eggs as most of the nutrients is in the yolk. There are so many great ways to eat eggs: omelettes, scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, just to name a few.
Nuts are another nutritious option for diabetics that have an abundance of protein with low amounts of simple carbs. Studies show regular consumption of nuts assist with inflammation and help manage blood sugar, insulin, and LDL levels (“bad” cholesterol).
The best types of nuts to look for are almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios. These nuts have all shown to help diabetics manage their condition.
Greek yogurt is a great dairy food for diabetics because it manages blood sugar levels and protect against heart disease. Some studies suggest eating Greek yogurt contributes to a better body composition and weight loss in type 2 diabetics.
Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has between 6 to 8 grams of carbohydrates. It a safer choice for diabetics who struggle with maintaining blood sugar levels. Greek yogurt makes a great breakfast option or snack to help get you through the day.
Some brands of Greek yogurt have added sugar, so make sure you keep an eye on the label before purchasing.
Flax seeds are incredibly healthy and one of the things diabetics can eat thanks to their high level of fiber. Viscous fiber helps with gut health and insulin sensitivity while ensuring you feel full for longer. Additionally, a portion of the insoluble fiber in flax seeds comes from lignans. These fibers reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar levels.
It is important to note that our bodies cannot digest whole seeds. Therefore, you should prepare flax seeds by crushing or grinding them. You can add them to Greek yogurt, salad, or as a replacement for breadcrumbs in ground meat dishes.
Despite the high carbohydrate count, beans is one of many good foods for diabetics. They are low on the glycemic index, meaning they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Additionally, they contain a significant amount of beneficial fiber. Fiber keeps you full longer while helping to stabilize blood sugar.
Beans are a replacement for meat. This is great if you are concerned about the impact some types of meat can have on the heart. Beans are a versatile food. You can eat them as a side dish with dinner or in dishes such as chili and soup. Baked beans are higher in carbohydrates and may contain sugar in the sauce. As a result, doctors recommend sticking with “plain” options like kidney beans, black beans, or garbanzo beans.
Unlike most types of fruit, berries are low on the glycemic index making them a safe option for diabetics. They contain a relatively low amount of sugar and are high in fiber, which helps ensure blood sugar remains stable. Along with blood sugar control, berries contain a high level of antioxidants. It protects against heart disease, cancer, and inflammation, which is a common cause of foot pain from plantar fasciitis. You can enjoy berries just as they are, or add them to smoothies, salads, or Greek yogurt.
Grains don’t have to be off the table when you have diabetes if you stick with whole grains. Whole grain options like brown rice, bulgur, and quinoa are full of fiber and antioxidants. These are some of the best foods for diabetes control. They help stabilize blood sugar and keep you full between meals.
Studies have even suggested that choosing whole grains over processed options could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Great whole grain options include brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, oats, and barely. Most of these can be replacements for white rice or pasta or added to soups and casseroles.
Boiled Sweet Potatoes
Unlike white potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index. So despite their name, sweet potatoes make a great alternative for people with diabetes. Sugars from sweet potatoes releases more slowly and have less impact on blood sugar levels.
Additionally, sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. These all contribute to a healthy heart and protect against heart disease. The high fiber content also ensures you stay full for longer and helps stabilize blood sugar. Enjoy sweet potatoes in a variety of ways including baking or roasting, and as an alternative to traditional French fries.
Final Thoughts on the Best Foods for Diabetics
These aren’t the only good foods for diabetics. However, this food list along with other diabetes tips is a great starting point for a better diabetic lifestyle. If you’re not accustomed to eating foods like this, it can take a little time to get used to. Your body will soon adapt and they will become your new normal.