The American Diabetic Association recommends that diabetics add fish to their diet about twice per week. Fish is considered a “protein food”, meaning it is low in fat, provides significant amounts of protein, and is generally healthy. Additionally, fish is packed with omega-3’s which are essential for heart health and can help control cholesterol, a common problem among diabetics. Try baking or grilling fish instead of frying to make it even healthier.
Not only does asparagus help control blood sugar levels, it can also boost natural insulin production. Insulin, the hormone naturally produced in the body to lower blood sugar, can be decreased in diabetics or their bodies may be resistant to it. Asparagus is also packed with nutrients essential for health, including the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin is known to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, a concern for many diabetics.
Research studies have found evidence that flaxseed can help lower hemoglobin A1C in those with type 2 diabetes. Some research concludes that adequate flaxseed intake decreased fasting blood glucose levels 19.7%. Flaxseed is easy to incorporate into a healthy diet, as it can be mixed in fruit smoothies or oatmeal. In addition to aiding in blood sugar control, ground flaxseed is rich in omega-3’s, which are important for heart health.
Quinoa is a popular high-fiber food that can be eaten alone or mixed in with veggies or a protein like chicken. High-fiber foods like quinoa can control blood sugar, preventing dramatic spikes. Incorporating the right amount of fiber can also keep you feeling fuller, longer, and can help you stay on track with meal plans. Another great benefit of quinoa is that it is gluten-free, making it a perfect choice for those with sensitivities.
Some studies found that garlic is beneficial for those with diabetes. It can help regular blood sugar, but that’s not all. Consuming garlic can actually help raise insulin levels and combat some serious complications of diabetes. It’s good for your heart too! The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality issued a report concluding that garlic is safe and effective to lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, preliminary studies found the benefit of garlic supplements in blood pressure management and even slowing the progression of atherosclerosis. Don’t love the taste of garlic? Ask your healthcare provider about garlic supplements.
While some people avoid avocado because its high fat content, it’s actually quite healthy because the fat is monounsaturated. Not all fat is created equal. It can be confusing and overwhelming to understand the specific differences between them. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are generally the “good fats”, along with those with high amounts of omega-3’s. Trans and saturated fats should be strictly limited because they both play a negative role in diabetes management and can increase cholesterol and heart disease risk. Many product labels today proudly boast “no trans fats” or “no saturated fats”, making it easy to find the healthier options.
There are a variety of beans that are excellent for diabetic diets. Generally, beans are high in protein and packed with fiber. This combination is perfect for healthy diets because it decreases sharp glucose spikes and provides great nutritional benefit. Beans can easily be added to many meals and recipes, in various cuisines.
#8. Increase Fiber
Fiber, although not digested by the body, can help the body to control blood glucose levels. Even though fiber is technically a carbohydrate, it should not be avoided. More specifically, diets rich in soluble fiber are suggested for diabetics. The recommended amount for someone with diabetics is around 50g/day. Not only is fiber healthy, it can actually make you feel more full and satisfied. Fiber can be found in a variety of foods, including whole grains and fruits/vegetables with the skin left on. Always discuss with your physician before adding any fiber supplement. The best way to add fiber to your diet is naturally through healthy foods.
#9. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an underrated option for healthy diabetic diets. They are easy to incorporate, packed with protein and antioxidants, and can even improve cholesterol. Still not convinced? Chia seeds also are full of fiber and omega-3’s, too, so they bring all the essentials of a healthy diet to the table.
This green leafy vegetable is ideal for diabetics not only because of the vitamins it contains, because of its high magnesium content. Research concluded that many diabetics are consistently low in magnesium, a mineral that can help manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscle health. Try adding some spinach to your sandwich or salad for an extra boost.