Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or can't use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, your body needs to work harder to keep your blood sugar in a normal range for both short- and long-term health.
In this article, we will go through the 20 top foods for people living with diabetes.
Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps lower blood triglyceride levels. Fish is also high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which means it's good for people with diabetes as it doesn't keep blood glucose levels elevated as much as other foods.
Leafy greens aren't just a nutritious addition to a salad or side dish. They're also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals your body needs every day – like iron, vitamin K, and calcium. The "leafy" part of the name comes from their rich content of fiber, which may help lower cholesterol.
Research shows that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats helps keep HDL (good) cholesterol levels high while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. A handful of nuts a day is an easy way to get all the monounsaturated fat you need to help keep your cholesterol in check.
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fat, high in fiber and other nutrients. These fat-rich foods also help with weight loss by helping your body feel full, so you're less likely to overeat. They're also rich in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.
Eggs are a good source of protein, without too many calories and fat. In fact, egg whites provide the most protein. They're also a good source of vitamin B12, which is harder to find in the American diet. Vitamin B12 helps your body convert food into energy, so people with diabetes need to make sure they're getting enough of it in their diets.
Chia seeds are tiny, but they pack a punch. Just a teaspoon of chia seeds provides almost 10 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, and two grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are also rich in alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which helps prevent insulin resistance by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body.
Pinto beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and other nutrients that play an important role in keeping blood sugar levels even and healthy. Adding them to salads or soups can help you make healthier meals without sacrificing taste.
Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in carbs, helping you feel full longer. It's also higher in calcium than many other kinds of yogurts and contains probiotics, which may help improve your digestive health.
Low in calories and high in fiber, broccoli is a great addition to your lunch or dinner plate. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C and A, which have been associated with lower blood pressure levels.
Adding flaxseed to your foods may help you cut back on blood sugar levels by lowering the number of carbohydrates you eat each day. Be sure to grind whole flaxseeds before adding them to your meals, so they're easier for your body to digest.
Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise your blood's HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This may mean a healthier heart in the long run if you're at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Olive oil is also a good source of oleocanthal, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
You don't have to go out of your way to include beans in your diet. Beans are more cost-effective than higher-protein meats such as chicken, and they provide a lot of protein for fewer calories.
Apple cider vinegar has a host of health benefits, from helping to lower LDL cholesterol levels to getting rid of harmful bacteria in your body. Adding it to your salad dressing or other foods helps boost the amount of fiber you're getting, which may help in the fight against diabetes.
Spirulina is blue-green algae rich in nutrients, including protein and B vitamins. It also helps to lower your levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that's been linked with heart disease.
This gluten-free grain contains all the amino acids your body needs for muscle growth and health, and it's rich in fiber. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, which helps control blood sugar levels. Cook quinoa by adding it to boiling water and then letting it simmer for about 15 minutes before you drain off the excess water.
Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, one of the best vitamins for people with diabetes. Vitamin C is important for collagen production, which improves blood sugar control.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, linked with a lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. Zinc keeps your insulin response to food in check and regulates your blood sugar levels; magnesium has anti-diabetic properties that help regulate blood sugar levels by lowering insulin levels in the body after meals.
Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are factors in diabetes. It's also known for its antibacterial properties, keeping infections at bay.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that helps reduce inflammation throughout your body. This may be important for controlling insulin resistance, a major risk factor for diabetes. Additionally, walnuts are a good source of fiber.
Many types of squash are a great addition to your meal plan, including types that are made into soups. Try butternut squash soup or spaghetti squash. Zucchini is another great choice when the weather cooperates, and it's amazingly versatile in recipes. Whether you're making pesto or adding zucchini to your lasagna, you can have healthy foods without sacrificing taste.