Figuring out what to eat when you have diabetes can be a challenge. You want to ensure your blood sugar stays stable, and you want to take in as many foods as you can to help prevent diabetes complications, such as heart disease. That’s why we’ve gathered up some of the best things you can eat as a diabetic. In honor of World Diabetes Day, which is coming up on Saturday, November 14, 2020, here are the best foods for diabetics:
How to Choose the Best Foods for Diabetics
According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, there’s no such thing as a diabetic diet. In other words, there isn’t one prescribed diet that can “cure” diabetes. Instead, diabetics should eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Additionally, certain foods are better for diabetics, including those that are low in carbohydrates, sugar, and saturated fat.
It’s a good idea to look for foods with plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Protein provides the building blocks your body needs to build muscle and repair cells. It’s also been shown to reduce hunger and keep appetite at bay.
Fats are also important for diabetics. Fat delays the process of emptying the stomach, which slows down the absorption of glucose. However, eating too much fat can be harmful and increase your risk of heart disease. It’s important to stick to healthy fats with plenty of omega-3s and avoid saturated and animal fats.
Fiber is another important nutrient that can help keep your digestive system healthy and may even improve control of your blood glucose levels. Eating a high-fiber diet packed with vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds can be helpful for weight management, as well.
Top 11 Foods for Diabetics
If you’re trying to add some healthy foods to add to your diet, here are 11 of the best foods for diabetics:
Check out our Simply Edible Bouquet® if you’re looking for a healthy way to consume more heart-healthy fiber. This diabetes-friendly bouquet is packed with pineapple daisies, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapes. For a box full of our favorite diabetic-friendly fruit, check out our Fruit Favorites Box. It includes juicy, fresh strawberries, bananas, apples, oranges, a pineapple, and so much more.
Salmon helps boost cardiovascular health because it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost your heart, skin, brain, and more. You can cook it by poaching, broiling, or baking it in the oven, but avoid frying to cut down on the unhealthy fats.
According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, eating avocados at breakfast can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Researchers believe this is due to the fact that they improve insulin sensitivity.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a complete protein, which most plant proteins aren’t. Additionally, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that chia seeds helped participants control blood glucose, lower blood pressure, and reduce C-reactive protein, a red flag for heart disease risk.
Eggs are a low-carbohydrate food and have a very low glycemic index score. Additionally, a study from 2018 suggests that regularly eating eggs could improve fasting blood glucose for those with diabetes.
6. Leafy Greens
According to a study by the University of Leicester, people who eat green leafy vegetables have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, the study found that just over one serving of these healthy green veggies per day reduces the risk of diabetes by a whopping 14%.
If unsweetened and Greek-style, yogurt is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. That means it won’t cause blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes. However, it’s important to choose unsweetened options rather than those loaded with sugar and additional add-ins.
A 2011 study found that adding almonds to your diet can cause lower levels of fasting insulin, reduced fasting glucose, and increased insulin stability. Eating almonds was also found to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes.
Researchers zeroed in on a network of 50 genes that cause symptoms associated with diabetes. They found that a compound called sulforaphane, which is found in high amounts in broccoli, can actually turn down the expression of those genes.
10. Olive Oil
Research has found that extra virgin olive oil reduces blood sugar and cholesterol more than other kinds of fats. Additionally, the post-meal blood sugar rise was found to be smaller when study participants consumed a meal with extra virgin olive oil compared to a meal with corn oil.
11. Black Beans
Black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and potassium. Additionally, one half a cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat.
While having diabetes means you need to follow a healthy diet, you can still enjoy some delicious foods like whole, fresh fruits, eggs, and nutrient-rich vegetables. Start with the best foods for diabetics like the wholesome foods and ingredients above to create delicious recipes you’ll love.