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9 of the Best Food Options for Diabetics

9 of the Best Food Options for Diabetics

To live a long and healthy life, those with diabetes must pay attention to their daily food intake. Indiscriminate eating can actually exacerbate diabetes. Choosing food to promote stable blood sugar is the key for diabetics to avoid complications and live a healthy life. So, what are the safe and healthy food for diabetics?

Food for Diabetics: The Best Choices To Control Blood Sugar

Food contains glucose, which the body uses as a source of energy. All the food you consume will generally affect blood sugar levels in the body.

Diabetics need to pay attention to the food they eat so that blood sugar remains stable. In the long run, this can help to avoid diabetes complications.

In addition to avoiding food that is high in sugar, you also need to know what foods you should consume. Generally, doctors recommend food for diabeticss that have a low glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food item raises blood sugar in the body. Food with a low glycemic index take longer to be processed into glucose. That way, blood sugar will tend to be relatively stable.

The following is a list of blood sugar-lowering food for diabetics that have a low glycemic index:

1. Corn

Corn has a low glycemic value, so it can be used as a staple food for diabetics that can substitute for rice.

According to the Harvard Medical School, the GI value for 100 grams of corn is 46, while the glycemic load is 14. In comparison, the glycemic load for 150 grams of white rice is 29. The lower the glycemic load of a food the better for people suffering from diabetes.

In addition, these food for diabetics also contain fiber and starch (a type of complex carbohydrate), which take longer to be digested by the body. As a result, blood sugar levels do not rise so quickly after eating.

The longer digestion process also makes the stomach full for longer. And this prevents the desire to snack on unhealthy food.

A study in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness recently found that regularly corn consumption can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar better.

2. Sweet Potato

In addition to being filling, sweet potatoes are a food for diabetics that provides benefits in controlling blood sugar.

Sweet potatoes are a suitable food for diabetics because they have a lower glycemic index than potatoes. The glycemic value of one serving of boiled sweet potatoes is 44, while that of boiled potatoes is 80.

The nutritional content of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium in sweet potatoes is also good for diabetes.

3. Whole Grain

Whole grains are some of the healthiest food for diabetics. These include food with low glycemic value that are also high in fiber. This low GI and high fiber combination can help slow down the absorption of glucose in the blood.

In addition, whole wheat also contains vitamins and minerals to complement the nutritional needs of diabetics. In addition to whole wheat, several types of whole grains are good for diabetes, including:

4. Green Leafy Vegetables

Some starchy vegetables are high in carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. However, not all vegetables contain starch.

There are also non-starchy vegetables that have carbohydrates and a low glycemic index — green vegetables for example.

Leafy greens are also rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Both antioxidants can help protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. Both of these conditions are common complications of diabetes.

Here are some types of green vegetables that are recommended as food for diabetics:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Mustard
  • Bok choy
  • Cabbage

You can eat a variety of green vegetables in the form of fresh vegetables, mixed salads, soups, stir-fries, and so on.

Experts recommend that both diabetics and healthy individuals consume as much as 250 grams of vegetables per day. This amount is equivalent to two and a half servings of cooked vegetables.

food for diabetics

5. Nuts

Nuts are a safe choice of food for diabetics. Peanuts are actually a bean that is rich in fiber and protein. Other nuts contain complex carbohydrates and have a low glycemic index. As a result, nuts take longer to convert to glucose, so they don’t cause a drastic rise in blood sugar.

The benefits of nuts don’t stop there. This blood sugar-lowering food is also rich in magnesium, which plays a role in keeping blood sugar levels stable.

Some choices of nuts that are healthy foods for diabetics include:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Peanuts
  • Red beans

Despite the health benefits, you still need to be careful in consuming nuts. Nuts are high in calories so they should not be consumed in excess because they can increase weight. Meanwhile, being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes.

6. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are another healthy food for diabetics. They are high in fiber but low in carbohydrates and calories.

About 28 grams of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber. The fiber content in chia seeds is effective for reducing hunger and keeping you full longer. In addition, this food for diabetics can also help lower blood sugar by slowing the absorption of nutrients in the intestines.

You can eat chia seeds directly or mix them into dishes, such as salads, cereals, or even rice. You can also add chia seeds to yogurt, smoothies, or pudding.

food for diabetics

7. Fish

Not only delicious, fish is a food rich in benefits for diabetes — especially fish that contain healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

The American Diabetes Association explains that a diet high in healthy fats can help control blood sugar and reduce lipid (blood fat) levels in people with diabetes.

Fish that can help lower blood sugar are fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as:

  • Salmon
  • Trout (fish that live in fresh water)
  • Tuna fish
  • Mackerel
  • Halibut

Make sure you process fish in a healthy manner. Instead of frying it in a lot of oil, it’s better to cook the fish by grilling, or making it into a soup.

To maintain health, diabetics are recommended to consume fish at least 2 times a week.

8. Probiotic Yogurt

Probiotics are good bacteria that help improve your digestive health, as well as your overall health. One example of a probiotic food that is a good food for diabetics is yogurt.

Not only does yogurt help lower blood sugar, it can also increase the sensitivity of the body’s cells to insulin. Research in the journal Nutrition found that food containing probiotics can also help the body increase levels of good cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.

Increased levels of good cholesterol from these foods are beneficial for the heart. They can reduce the risk of developing heart disease later in life.

For diabetics, choose plain (unsalted) yogurt variants. Avoid yogurt with a variety of flavors because these generally contain added sugar.

food for diabetics

9. Cinnamon

In addition to enhancing the taste of food, cinnamon is potentially good for maintaining blood sugar levels. The way cinnamon works in lowering blood sugar is to help increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. That way, sugar can be processed into energy better.

Cinnamon also keeps blood sugar from soaring after eating by slowing down the emptying of your stomach. It can inhibit the digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the intestines.

You can add this spice to any food, drink, or homemade snack. However, do not consume it in excess. The coumarin content in cinnamon is believed to cause hypoglycemia (blood sugar drops too low).

Learn more about Diabetes here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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Dairy and Diabetes, https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/food-groups/dairy-and-diabetes, Accessed December 16, 2021

5. Lifestyle Management: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2019, https://doi.org/10.2337/dc19-S005, Accessed December 16, 2021

Gut microbiota, probiotics and diabetes, https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-13-60, Accessed December 16, 2021

Corn phytochemicals and their health benefits, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fshw.2018.09.003, Accessed December 16, 2021

Glycemic index for 60+ foods, https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods, Accessed December 16, 2021

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Written by Hello Sehat Updated Dec 16, 2021
Fact Checked by Vincent Sales