11 Foods That Lower Blood Sugar
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, a healthy diet will play a major role in helping you maintain glycemic control and manage blood sugar levels. Indeed, even if you don’t have high blood sugar levels, a healthy diet can help with weight loss, protect you from developing insulin resistance and diabetes, decrease blood pressure, and reduce your risk of many serious health conditions.
Please continue reading to learn about some of the foods that can help lower blood sugar levels.
What foods can help with blood sugar management?
Non-starchy vegetables help to increase sensitivity to insulin and reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. They may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in people who do not yet have this condition. These vegetables contain many essential vitamins and minerals. They have resistant starch and can be included as part of a low-carb diet. Also, non-starchy vegetables are good sources of fiber and tend to fill you up, thereby helping to reduce caloric intake. Always choose fresh vegetables or canned vegetables with no added salt. Examples of non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, okra, asparagus, artichokes, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, peas, green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens are good sources of essential nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants. They can help to protect you from complications of diabetes. Leafy greens contain lower amounts of carbohydrates than many other vegetables. Examples of leafy greens that can help lower blood sugar include spinach and kale.
Lentils, black beans, and chickpeas are healthy foods rich in nutrients. They contain soluble fiber, which can help with blood sugar control. These foods slow down digestion and improve post-meal blood glucose levels. In addition to blood sugar control in people with diabetes, they may also help to protect healthy individuals from developing diabetes.
Fruits are some of the healthiest foods for people with high blood sugar. They contain fiber and other anti-diabetes compounds that can help to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. In particular, apples, berries, grapes, and citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit) are good choices for people who wish to control blood glucose with diet. Although citrus fruits are sweet, they are low glycemic index foods and do not affect blood sugars as much as certain other fruits like pineapples and mangoes. Berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, have been found to reduce post-meal blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes. They also help in blood sugar management by increasing insulin sensitivity and helping remove glucose from the blood.
Including whole grains like rolled oats and oat bran in your diet can help to improve blood sugar levels and therefore significantly lower hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). These foods, high in soluble fiber content, have been found to reduce post-meal blood sugar.
Seafood and Fatty Fish
Seafood and fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are a good source of vitamins, minerals, animal proteins, healthy fats, and antioxidants. They can help with the regulation of blood sugar levels. The protein in these foods slows down digestion and prevents spikes in blood sugar after meals. It also helps you feel full and prevents overeating.
Nuts and Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and pecans are good foods for people with diabetes. They contain fiber, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and antioxidants. Eating nuts and seeds can help with blood sugar regulation, including both fasting and post-meal blood sugar spikes. These foods have also been found to increase insulin sensitivity and promote long-term blood sugar control, so they may help lower HbA1c. However, nuts should be eaten in moderation because they contain fats.
Extra-virgin olive oil contains antioxidants to reduce inflammation. It also has additional health benefits and can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Other healthy fats that can help in controlling diabetes include avocado oil, nut oils, and coconut oil.
Eggs are a highly nutritious food and a very rich source of vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Consumption of eggs may lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, thus helping in managing diabetes.
Foods like unsweetened yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain several healthy compounds like minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics. Eating these foods can help to lower blood sugar and improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Try to include some fermented foods in your diet to lower your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes.
Spices like cinnamon and turmeric can help to regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce hemoglobin A1c levels, thus helping in controlling diabetes. They are also known for fighting inflammation.
What drinks lower blood sugar levels?
Kefir and plain yogurt-based drinks (without added sugar) are rich in probiotics. These drinks may help to improve post-meal blood sugar levels and reduce fasting blood sugar and HbA1c.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains fermented acetic acid that can help to reduce the body’s blood sugar response when consumed with complex carbohydrates. Drinking ACV may improve insulin levels, lower fasting blood sugar levels, and help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. However, ACV should be diluted in water to avoid acidic damage to the teeth and food pipe.
Achieving healthy blood sugar levels
Having diabetes does not have to mean that you cannot eat delicious foods or indulge once in a while. However, it is important to eat a balanced diet, practice portion control, and monitor blood sugar levels regularly to lower your risk of serious complications.
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, or you simply want to lower your risk of developing diabetes in the future, try incorporating the above-mentioned foods into your diet. They will not only help to naturally control blood glucose levels but also give your body the essential nutrients it needs. Keep in mind that in addition to dietary intake, other lifestyle factors like weight, stress levels, and physical activity are important in helping you regulate blood sugar.
Lastly, you should know that while diet plays a major role in diabetes care and controlling blood sugar over time, no food can immediately bring down your blood sugar levels. Consult a doctor for medical care, always follow your doctor’s advice, and take prescription medications for lowering blood sugar as directed.