Thinking about the best foods to eat when you have diabetes can be troublesome.
The primary goal is to keep blood sugar levels well-controlled.
Notwithstanding, it’s also necessary to eat foods that encourage prevent diabetes complications like heart disease.
Here are the 16 best foods for diabetics, both type 1 and type 2.
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is an example of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel are excellent sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have significant benefits for heart health.
Getting enough of these fats on a regular basis is especially important for diabetics, who have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
DHA and EPA shield the cells that line your blood vessels, reduce markers of inflammation and improve the way your arteries function after eating.
Some observational studies advise that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart failure and are less likely to die from heart disease.
In studies, older men and women who consumed fatty fish 5–7 days per week for eight weeks had significant reductions in triglycerides and inflammatory markers.
Fish is also a surpassing source of high-quality protein, which helps you feel full and increases your metabolic rate.
Fatty fish include omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
2. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables are remarkably nutritious and low in calories.
They’re also very low in digestible carbs, which raise your blood sugar levels.
Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are excellent sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.
In one study, rising vitamin C eating reduced inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure (11).
Also, 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.
Leafy green vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that protect your heart and eye health.
Cinnamon is a delicious spice with potent antioxidant activity.
Several controlled studies show that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Long-term diabetes control is typically determined by measuring hemoglobin A1c, which reflects your average blood sugar level over 2–3 months.
In one study, type 2 diabetes patients who took cinnamon for 90 days had more than a double reduction in hemoglobin A1c, compared those who only received standard care.
A fresh analysis of 10 studies found that cinnamon may also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
However, a few studies have failed to show that cinnamon benefits blood sugar or cholesterol levels, including one on adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
Moreover, you should restrict your intake of cassia cinnamon — the type found in most grocery stores — to less than one teaspoon per day.
It comprises coumarin, which is linked to health problems at higher doses.
On the other hand, Ceylon (“true”) cinnamon contains much less coumarin.
Cinnamon may improve blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in type 2 diabetics.
Eggs provide fantastic health benefits.
They’re one of the best foods for maintaining you full for hours.
Regular egg consumption may also decrease your heart disease risk in several ways.
Eggs decrease inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, increase your “good” HDL cholesterol levels and change the size and shape of your “bad” LDL cholesterol.
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who consumed two eggs daily as part of a high-protein diet had improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Also, eggs are one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that defend the eyes from disease.
Just be sure to eat whole eggs. The advantages of eggs are primarily due to nutrients found in the yolk rather than the white.
Eggs improve risk factors for heart disease, promote good blood sugar control, protect eye health and keep you feeling full.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are fantastic food for people with diabetes.
They’re incredibly high in fiber, yet low in digestible carbs.
11 of the 12 grams of carbs in a 28-gram (1-oz) serving of chia seeds are fiber, which doesn’t raise blood sugar.
The viscous fiber in chia seeds can 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 attain a healthy weight because fiber reduces hunger and makes you feel full. Also, fiber can decrease the number of calories you absorb from other foods eaten at the same meal.
Additionally, chia seeds have been shown to reduce blood pressure and inflammatory markers.
Chia seeds include high amounts of fiber, are low in digestible carbs and may decrease blood pressure and inflammation.
Turmeric is a spice with powerful health benefits.
Its active ingredient, curcumin, can lower inflammation and blood sugar levels while reducing heart disease risk.
What’s more, curcumin appears to benefit kidney health in diabetics. This is important, as diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney disease.
Unfortunately, curcumin hasn’t absorbed that well on its own. Be sure to consume turmeric with piperine (found in black pepper) to boost absorption by as much as 2,000% (53).
Turmeric contains curcumin, which may reduce blood sugar levels and inflammation while protecting against heart and kidney disease.
7. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is an excellent dairy choice for diabetics.
It’s been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk, perhaps partly due to the probiotics, it contains.
Studies have discovered that yogurt and other dairy foods may lead to weight loss and improved body composition in people with type 2 diabetes.
It’s believed that dairy’s high calcium and conjugated linolic acid (CLA) content may play a role (58, 59, 60).
What’s more, Greek yogurt comprises only 6–8 grams of carbs per serving, which is lower than conventional yogurt. It’s also higher in protein, which supports weight loss by reducing appetite and decreasing calorie intake (61).
Greek yogurt good for healthy blood sugar levels decreases risk factors for heart disease and may help with weight management.
Nuts are delicious and nutritious.
All types of nuts include fiber and are low in digestible carbs, although some have more than others.
Here are the amounts of digestible carbs per 1-oz (28-gram) serving of nuts:
Almonds: 2.6 grams
Brazil nuts: 1.4 grams
Cashews: 7.7 grams
Hazelnuts: 2 grams
Macadamia: 1.5 grams
Pecans: 1.2 grams
Pistachios: 5 grams
Walnuts: 2 grams
Research on a variety of many nuts has shown that regular consumption may reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar, HbA1c, and LDL levels.
In one study, people with diabetes who included 30 grams of walnuts in their daily diet for one year lost weight, had improvements in body composition and experienced a significant reduction in insulin levels.
This finding is necessary because people with type 2 diabetes often have elevated levels of insulin, which are connected to obesity.
Also, some researchers believe chronically high insulin levels increase the risk of other serious diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nuts are a healthy addition to a diabetic diet. They’re low in digestible carbs and further reduce blood sugar, insulin, and LDL levels.
Broccoli is one of the various nutritious vegetables around.
A half cup of cooked broccoli comprises only 27 calories and 3 grams of digestible carbs, along with important nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium.
Studies in diabetics have noticed that broccoli may help lower insulin levels and guard cells from harmful free radicals produced during metabolism (69, 70).
What’s more, broccoli is another good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These essential antioxidants help prevent eye diseases.
Broccoli is a low-calorie, low-carb food with high nutrient value. It is loaded with healthy plant compounds that can protect against various diseases.
10. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is remarkably beneficial for heart health.
It comprises the oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has been shown to progress triglycerides and HDL, which are often at unhealthy levels in type 2 diabetes.
It may also improve 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 (74).
Olive oil also contains antioxidants called polyphenols. They reduce inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels, keep your LDL cholesterol from becoming damaged by oxidation and decrease blood pressure.
Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined and retains the antioxidants and other properties that make it so healthy. Be sure to choose an extra-virgin olive oil from a reputable source, since many olive oils are mixed with cheaper oils like corn and soy (78).
The extra-virgin olive oil contains healthy oleic acid. It has benefits for blood pressure and heart health.
Flaxseeds are an incredibly healthy food.
A portion of their insoluble fiber is the produced of lignans, which can decrease heart disease risk and improve blood sugar control.
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who took flaxseed lignans for 12 weeks had a significant improvement in hemoglobin A1c (80).
Another study recommended that flaxseeds may lower the risk of strokes and potentially reduce the dosage of medication needed to prevent blood clots.
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 encased in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid.
Flaxseeds may reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk, decrease blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.