- If you have
diabetes, eat foods high in fiber, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Foods for diabetes include fatty fish, fruits, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains.
- People with diabetes should avoid foods like refined grains and sugary beverages.
is a chronic disease in which the body is unable to properly process glucose – the sugar found in food that your body converts into energy. This causes elevated blood sugar levels which can damage blood vessels and eventually lead to if left untreated.
- Consuming carbohydrates rich in , like , , and . Fiber has been shown to by preventing glucose spikes after meals.
- Avoiding sugary beverages, like soda and juice.
- Increasing consumption of
- Eating more , which can insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.
Here are six of the best foods within those categories that can help people with diabetes manage blood sugar levels.
Beans have two main components that make them great for people with diabetes: fiber and protein. Your body digests both fiber and protein more slowly, which, says , RD, a spokesperson for the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCE).
What the research says: A 2012found eating beans, lentils, and other legumes helped people with better control their blood sugar levels and lowered their risk of heart disease.
Therecommends adding dried beans or canned beans with reduced sodium to meals. All beans contain fiber, but the ADA says the following are best for people with diabetes:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
2. Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale containand , . While most inflammation is short-lived, it can be chronic in people with diabetes, , like heart disease and kidney problems.
These veggies are also low in calories and carbohydrates, making them a good choice for controlling both blood sugar levels and weight, Gomez says.
What the research says: A 2010 revealed that eating one and a half extra servings of green leafy vegetables a day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%.
Dark leafy greens for people with diabetes:
3. Fatty fish
Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of
What the research says: A small 2017found that consuming fatty fish, like salmon, can help manage post-meal blood sugar levels better than consuming lean fish, like cod.
In addition to salmon, other examples ofinclude:
- Albacore tuna
Fruits are high in natural sugar and carbohydrates, which is why there is a misconception that people with diabetes should avoid them. However, their high vitamin and mineral content means they’re a safe choice, Gomez says.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to count the
Strawberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been . Blueberries are also less likely to cause blood sugar spikes, thanks to their and high fiber content.
Nuts are a good source of healthy fat,, and fiber, Gomez says. Some nuts and seeds, like walnuts and , are also .
What the research says: A 2017found frequent consumption of a variety of different nuts can help suppress appetite, lower cholesterol, and manage blood sugar levels.
such as whole-wheat bread and are preferred to refined grains, like white bread because they contain more fiber, Karam says.
are also rich in , , , and . A 2016 found a diet rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and dying from type 2 diabetes.
- Whole oats
- Whole grain barley
Foods to avoid with diabetes
- Sugary drinks. Research sugary drinks, like soda, can increase blood sugar levels.
- White bread, pasta, and rice. These can raise blood sugar levels and do not contain as much fiber or protein as whole grains.
- , like frozen meals made with refined grains and excessive added sugar and salt, and packaged baked goods. Processed foods may .
Some foods, like whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, and beans can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Increasing your intake of these foods can help you manage your diabetes, but the same diet won’t work for everyone. A diabetes education specialist or a registered dietitian can help you develop a plan that works for your individual needs.