One of the most challenging aspects of diabetes is learning which foods impact your blood sugar the most and how to design a diet that helps support healthy blood sugar regulation. Fortunately, plenty of foods to lower blood sugar are healthy, delicious, and easy to incorporate into your diet. In this article, you’ll find a list of foods that lower blood sugar.
How Foods Influence Blood Sugar
Many factors influence your blood sugar patterns, including individual genetics, activity level, stress, and body weight. Diet is also a significant factor, as certain foods can either support or work against your goals to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
That said, it doesn’t mean you have to forgo all of your favorite treats. However, it does mean that you need to be aware of how certain foods affect your blood sugar. The best diet pattern for healthy blood sugar regulation is one that is low in added sugar, high in fiber, and offers a variety of healthy fats and protein. Below are 10 of the best blood sugar-lowering foods.
Oats have a high soluble fiber content, which has been found to significantly lower high blood sugar levels. In a 2015 literature review, researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed oats experienced a notable reduction in HgA1c and fasting blood sugar levels compared to people who consumed a controlled meal. Eating oats also resulted in lower post-meal blood sugar and insulin response.
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, are high in fiber and may help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. Broccoli is an especially rich source of sulforaphane, a compound produced when broccoli is chewed or chopped up before you eat it. Studies have found that broccoli extract helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
Legumes are low-sugar foods. Plus, beans and lentils are high in fiber and protein, as well as an array of vitamins and minerals, which can work together to promote healthy blood sugar — and even help prevent diabetes.
They’re also rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch, which help slow the digestion of a meal and prevent spikes in your blood sugar. For example, a 2017 study found that women who added chickpeas or black beans to rice at a meal experienced lower blood sugar after eating than those who ate rice alone.
Next on our blood sugar lowering foods list is perhaps the tiniest grain of them all. Quinoa is a powerful whole grain, rich in fiber and protein, which helps slow digestion and support healthy blood sugar levels. Several studies have shown that eating whole grains like quinoa can help reduce blood sugar.
5. Flax and Chia Seeds
Flax and chia seeds are great sources of healthy fats, protein, and fiber and are convenient foods to lower blood sugar. One 2018 review of 25 studies found that eating flax seeds offers significant benefits for blood sugar control. Even adding 1 ounce of these little seeds to your oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothie every day may help reduce HgA1c.
Whatever type of berries you love, they are some of the best foods to lower blood sugar. Many studies show eating berries — packed with fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants — is helpful for blood sugar management. A 2019 study found that eating 2 cups of red raspberries alongside a high-carbohydrate meal lowered insulin and blood sugar response among people with prediabetes, compared to a control group.
Avocados are full of healthy fats and phytochemicals, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One 2018 study found that replacing carbohydrates in a meal with avocados helped improve glycemic profiles among adults with overweight or obesity.
8. Leafy Greens
Add leafy greens, like spinach, romaine, and arugula, to your plate and help keep blood sugar levels in check. Some of the healthiest foods on the planet, leafy greens, are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Plus, a 2021 study found spinach to be a good source of bioactive compounds with anti-diabetic properties.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are sweet to taste, so it may be surprising to learn that they’re helpful for your blood sugar. Research actually shows that citrus fruits don’t impact blood sugar as much as other fruits, like watermelon. Plus, oranges contain a compound with anti-diabetic properties called naringenin that helps lower blood sugar and control inflammation.
The perfect lunchbox fruit, apples are high in fiber, as well as compounds called quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and gallic acid that offer benefits for blood sugar. In a 2019 study, researchers found that women who ate an apple 30 minutes before a meal of rice experienced much lower post-meal blood sugar response, compared to women who only ate rice.
Worst Foods for Blood Sugar Control
Now that you know which foods lower blood sugar, you may be wondering which ones have the opposite effect. In general, the worst offenders tend to be foods high in added sugar and refined carbohydrates, low in fiber, or that otherwise fall in the ultra-processed category. This is why eating food at McDonald’s when you have diabetes isn’t generally encouraged.
Here are some of the worst foods for blood sugar control:
- Highly processed packaged snack foods, like potato chips and white crackers
- Refined white bread, rice, pasta, and other foods made with white flour
- Fast food, like burgers, fries, milkshakes, and pizza
- Sugary desserts, like cake, pie, ice cream, cookies, and brownies
- Sugary beverages, like fruit juice and soda
In addition to eating foods to lower blood sugar, it’s important to design a good blood sugar checking routine, especially if you’re wondering when to check your blood sugar. Did you know DigiVibe is an affordable and compact device that eliminates the pain of finger pricks? To learn more about how easy it is to use DigiVibe, and how it can help you or a loved one, check out these patient and doctor reviews.
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