Controlling blood sugar and reducing the risk of complications from diabetes can be overwhelming, especially for new diabetics. However, diet plays the most crucial role in managing diabetes, and it’s not just about avoiding what you “can’t” eat. Eating foods that are beneficial to your health and help manage your blood sugar is just as important and can be as simple as swapping potato chips for veggies and hummus or adding chia seeds to your salad. These fifteen foods are not only nutritional powerhouses, they can also help you manage your blood sugar and overall health.
Almonds are an excellent, healthy snack for people with diabetes. Almonds – and nuts of any kind – help to lower bad cholesterol and improve blood sugar control. Avoid heavily salted nuts and instead opt for raw or dry roasted nuts that are unsalted or lightly salted.
Fat-free yogurt, especially greek yogurt, is high in protein and good carbohydrates. These can help prevent a rise in blood sugar, and the extra calcium can contribute to strong bones. Studies also show that fat-free yogurt can also help prevent individuals from developing Type II diabetes. Make sure to choose brands that are clearly labeled low fat or fat-free and have less than 20 grams of sugar per serving.
Fish, including salmon, is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, can help lower LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol levels. Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease, so protecting heart health and lowering bad cholesterol is as important as proper blood sugar control.
Oatmeal is a nutritious, heart healthy food that contains a high amount of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan. Beta-glucan has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and can be highly beneficial in protecting individuals with diabetes from diabetes-related heart conditions. Additionally, studies have indicated that oatmeal can reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes by as much as 42%.
Egg whites are high in lean protein but low in carbohydrates, making them an excellent breakfast choice for diabetics. One egg white contains just 16 calories, yet has a whopping 4 grams of quality protein, which can help diabetics control their blood sugar in the morning. Try using only egg whites in omelets and scrambled eggs for a filling breakfast that keeps blood sugar levels stable.
Green vegetables like broccoli and green beans are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, making them a great choice for individuals with diabetes and those at risk for developing diabetes. Starchy foods like pastas and potatoes can cause blood sugar to rise, while green vegetables are a low glycemic food and have little impact on blood sugar. Try replacing a starch on your lunch or dinner plate with green veggies to keep blood sugar from elevating throughout the day.
Cinnamon has been shown to help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, allowing cells to better convert blood glucose to energy. This makes cinnamon an ideal food for individuals with diabetes and it’s highly versatile as cinnamon can be used in a variety of ways. Try sprinkling cinnamon on a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast for a diabetic super-food!
Although researchers are unsure of why, it has been shown that diabetics tend to have lower vitamin C levels than the average population. Vitamin C can help boost the immune system, helping to reduce the risk of illness or reducing the strength and duration of illness. Since viruses like the common cold can cause diabetics to experience an increase in their blood sugar, boosting vitamin C levels can be exceptionally beneficial.