The best foods for diabetes are most often whole foods that are not processed, such as fruits and vegetables. The foods below will also help you meet your nutritional needs as well as lower your risk of diabetes complications such as heart disease.
You don’t have to eat all of these foods, but incorporating some or all into your diabetes meal plan will help improve your overall health.
1. Oats: You may not think of oatmeal as a superfood, but it can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal contains high amounts of magnesium, which helps the body use glucose and secrete insulin properly.
2. Fish: Fish is rich in protein, it will help to keep you satisfied; but also, fish contains a special type of fat that helps cool inflammation. Thousands of studies show that people with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have less body-wide inflammation, the very inflammation that leads to and worsens diabetes and weight problems. A fish-rich diet can also reduce your risk of developing health problems, especially stroke, as a result of your diabetes.
3. Spinach: Spinach is one of many leafy greens that have been shown to drop the risk of developing diabetes. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals. A 1-cup serving of raw spinach or 1/2 cup cooked provides over. This leafy green veggie is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant the body uses to make vitamin A. Beta-carotene also protects cells from free-radical damage, which contributes to chronic illnesses and aging.
4. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins C and A, plus they are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene-rich tomato products help protect against certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Increased intake of lycopene is also associated with a significantly decreased risk for heart disease. It is easier for your body to absorb lycopene from cooked and processed tomatoes, such as tomato juice, than from fresh tomatoes. Also, canned products such as tomato paste, tomato sauce, and pasta sauce have approximately seven times more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Tomatoes have also been shown to combat inflammation due to nutrients such as carotenoids and bioflavonoids — that can help to lower the risk or heart disease.
5. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potato contains anthocyanins, which are the natural pigments that give the sweet potato its deep orange color and the antioxidants believed to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial qualities.
6. Walnuts: Walnuts contain the polyunsaturated fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which has been shown to lower inflammation. The L-arginine, omega-3s, fiber, vitamin E, and other phytochemicals found in walnuts and other tree nuts make them potent: scientists have found them to have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and anti-high cholesterol actions. These powers can help stop and reverse the progression of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
7. Grapes: Eating more whole fruits, particularly grapes, blueberries, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a Harvard study published in the British Medical Journal in 2013. People who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent when compared to those who ate less than one serving per month. Eating the whole fruit seems to be key, though; researchers found that fruit juice drinkers faced as much as a 21 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.
8. Beans: These little legumes pack a powerful punch for diabetics, with a winning combination of high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein, and soluble fiber that helps stabilize the body’s blood-sugar levels and keeps hunger in check. Study found that type 2 diabetes patients who ate more legumes had improved blood sugar control and reduced their risk of heart disease.
9. Eggs: Eggs provide a great dose of satiating protein, and are a healthy choice compared to many meats. For people with diabetes, nutrition experts do recommend limiting yolks to about three times a week, but you can have whites more often. Eggs are “perfect food for blood sugar control, and mention weight-loss or maintenance.”
10. Carrots: Cooked or raw, carrots are a healthy addition to any meal plan. While cooked carrots have the rich texture of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, they are classified as non- starchy veggies because they don’t contain a lot of carbohydrate. Carrots are noted for their high vitamin A, made from the antioxidant beta-carotene in carrots. This vitamin is necessary for good vision and immune function, and it may help prevent the development of some cancers, according to the Mayo Clinic.