Whether you’re diabetic or simply concerned about controlling your blood sugar figuring out the best foods to eat can be challenging. And since diabetes is rarely a solo condition, raising your risk for other issues from heart to eye problems, it can become downright confusing.
Better blood sugar with diabetes-friendly foods
But don’t get discouraged, we’re here to help. Following are eight diabetes-friendly foods that every type 2 diabetic should be eating.
Avocados are an easy—not to mention delicious—way to help control your blood sugar, cholesterol and appetite. They’re packed with critical insulin-linked nutrients that could help you fight back against diabetes including magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. And avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats and fiber.
2. Chia seeds:
Chia seeds are packed with fiber, but low in digestible carbs, making them a great choice for anyone concerned about their blood sugar. The slow to digest fiber thickens and becomes gel-like in your gut slowing everything down. As a result you feel full and satisfied for longer, reducing overeating.
Plus, experts say there’s also evidence that chia can help reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Try sprinkling chia seeds into salads, yogurt, eggs and even casseroles and stir fries.
Diabetes and heart problems often go hand in hand, which is why cinnamon has earned a spot on our list. Research has revealed this savory spice shouldn’t be confined to just holiday cooking. A meta-analysis of 10 different studies shows the potent spice may be able to help you manage your blood sugar, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Stir some cinnamon into your morning coffee or tea, yogurt, or cottage cheese. And try sprinkling some of this diabetes-friendly food into your main dishes too. The spice adds an unexpected and delicious flavor to pork chops, steaks, burgers and casseroles.
When you’re so focused on getting your blood sugar under control it’s easy to forget about the other issues that come along with a diabetes diagnosis such as heart problems. But the fact is 68 percent of folks over 65 with diabetes die from heart disease, and 16 percent die from stroke. So protecting your heart needs to be a top priority. Salmon and other fatty fish such as mackerel, herring and sardines can help you do exactly that.
Fatty fish is rich in the heart supporting omega-3s fatty acids DHA and EPA. Experts say these omega-3s protect your blood vessels, reducing harmful inflammation and triglycerides. And studies show they could help reduce your risk of heart failure.
Aim for several servings of organic, wild caught fatty fish a week.
A handful of crunchy nuts is a great way to relieve your cravings for something crunchy while improving your blood sugar. According to a study out of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, almonds can help improve insulin sensitivity. And a study published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental found just two ounces of almonds a day significantly improved fasting glucose levels.
While most of the research has been on almonds, feel free to indulge in other nuts too including walnuts, pistachios, pecans and macadamia nuts. Like chia seeds nuts are a good source of fiber, but are low in digestible carbs. Experts say eating them regularly could help you reduce blood sugar, inflammation, cholesterol and insulin levels.
It’s time to once again sing the praises of the nearly perfect egg. These protein packed nuggets of nutrition belong on just about anyone’s menu who is struggling with diabetes.
Researchers say eggs can help us protect our hearts and our eyes, both of which are critical for folks with blood sugar issues. Plus a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that two eggs a day not only helps improve cholesterol in type 2 diabetics, it helps reign in blood sugar too.
Naturally low in sugar, vitamin-C packed strawberries fight inflammation to support your heart health. Plus the berries provide a healthy dose of antioxidant anthocyanins which research has shown helps reduce cholesterol and insulin levels after eating. Experts say strawberries could help improve blood sugar and reduce your risk for heart disease.
Garlic isn’t just delicious, this multitasking veggie brings a bunch of health benefits to the table too. Studies have found garlic can help tackle inflammation and LDL cholesterol while providing better blood sugar control in folks with type 2 diabetes. And experts say the pungent spice can effectively reduce elevated blood pressure, a common problem for folks battling the disease.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or you simply are concerned about managing your blood sugar levels, these eight diabetes-friendly foods should have a place on your menu.