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When searching for the best superfoods for diabetics, the most important types of foods are the ones that keep blood sugar down or in check.
Some of the best foods for diabetics include whole foods (i.e. not processed) because they’re high in fiber.
Fiber helps to prevent high spikes in insulin from simple carbs that throw blood sugar out of whack.
Specifically, you should focus on eating these types of foods:
- Lean protein
- High-fiber vegetables
- Complex carbohydrates in smaller quantities
Carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates (bread, white rice, etc.) turn into glucose very fast in the system and cause spikes in blood sugar.
So, remember to limit your carbs and stick to the healthier ones (sweet potatoes).
That being said, if you’re looking for actual superfoods for diabetics — the best of the best — you won’t find any carbohydrates on this list.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the #1 most important “food” to add to a diabetic’s diet.
It has been proven conclusively to regulate blood sugar and curb carbohydrate cravings. It has also been shown to help people lose weight naturally when taken 30 minutes prior to eating.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate that is rich in cocoa contains high amounts of flavonoids. These flavonoids have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce insulin resistance, drop fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings.
Look to add this in as a special treat after meals, and make sure to get 85% cocoa or higher for best effects!
Blueberries have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, cognitive decline in the elderly, and even certain types of cancer. They also contain high amounts of flavonoids and fiber to improve insulin sensitivity.
Eat a handful as a great way to improve health, and they taste GREAT.
Raspberries make the American Diabetic Association’s list of superfoods and have the American Heart Association’s endorsement. This is probably due to their high levels of vitamin C, powerful list of antioxidants, and fiber.
Enjoy these on the days you are not already eating those blueberries!
5. Red Onions
Raw or cooked, red onions contain loads of powerful diabetes-busting nutrients. The combination of potassium, folate, flavonoids, and fiber make them excellent for both diabetics AND for heart health.
Doing ½ cup per day in meals will provide all of the benefits without the stinky breath.
Cooked or raw, carrots have a seriously powerful effect against diabetes. Their high levels of vitamin A make them great for immune function and vision. There is also a study coming from Stanford University School of Medicine showing how carrots help to prevent type II diabetes.
Enjoying 5-10 baby carrots every day is a great snack for people with diabetes.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is a potent metabolism booster and contains loads of antioxidants helpful for diabetics.
The flavonoid count is high and for an even more powerful cup, try some matcha green tea. It has been touted as having 10x the effects of regular green, and there are plenty of fun recipes on Pinterest.
8. Fish – Specifically Salmon
Fish like salmon, halibut, and tuna contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
These omega-3’s have been shown to regulate blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and even decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating fish almost nightly or supplementing with omega 3’s in the diet is great for those with diabetes.
9. Greek Yogurt
A study published in 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming yogurt might help prevent type II diabetes. This is because of the high levels of probiotics, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium.
Yogurt is great for healing your leaky gut!
Go for a greek yogurt that is high in protein and low in sugar (under 7g). If you don’t like the taste (it can be a bit tart), add some flavored protein powder to it to make it taste better and give yourself an extra boost of protein!
10. Steel Cut Oats + Protein Powder
A warm bowl of steel-cut oats provides a massive fiber punch and is one of the top recommended foods from the America Diabetics Association. The problem? Plain steel-cut oats can be a pretty boring and bland meal.
Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder for some added flavor and a protein boost!
Several studies have shown that this spice is a powerful blood sugar reducer. It has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and has tons of powerful antioxidants.
Add it to EVERYTHING. It’s great in tea, coffee, oats, yogurt, and on pretty much anything you cook.
This is another spice that has been shown to greatly improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. It’s also VERY EASY to incorporate into your diet because it can be added to teas or to anything you cook (veggies, meats, etc.).
Add it meals or even to a glass of apple cider vinegar for potent health benefits and effects!
13. Leafy Greens
Not surprisingly, leafy greens should play a big role in a diabetic diet.
Spinach, kale, and collard greens have the highest amounts of nutrients and will give the best benefits to diabetics.
Garlic has been used to treat high blood pressure, cancers, and heart disease for years.
It has been shown to lower blood cholesterols, help prevent strokes, and lower blood pressure through its high antioxidant levels.
Add this to diabetic-friendly meals for added health benefits.
Flax is a good source of omega-3 fats, fiber, and antioxidants. You can buy flaxseed from the store or find it at local vitamin shops.
It’s best when added to protein shakes and diabetes-friendly smoothies!
As a diabetic, go nuts for nuts! Most of them have been shown to lower blood sugar and are a great snack for those with type II diabetes.
The best sources are almonds, cashews, and pecans.
17. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
High-fat diets have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 50% when compared to those high in carbohydrates.
When looking for a cooking oil, use ONLY extra virgin olive oil or organic, unrefined coconut oil. Both have plenty of health benefits and are rich sources in antioxidants the body LOVES.
18. Coconut oil
As stated above, coconut oil is a powerful cooking oil with tons of health benefits. We have even written an entire article about the health benefits of coconut oil because it’s such an awesome superfood.
19. Bell Peppers
These “sweet peppers” are loaded with vitamins and beta-carotene. The red bell peppers also contain lycopene, which promotes good health and lowers the risk of diabetes.
These can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of methods!
20. Green Juice
Juicing vegetables and drinking them is an EXCELLENT idea for those with diabetes. It’s a way to get in all of the important nutrients and vitamins from multiple servings of vegetables in one glass!
12. Black Coffee
Coffee lovers rejoice (ourselves included)!
Coffee’s high levels of antioxidants and ability to promote fat burning make it a healthy drink for any diabetic.
Make sure to drink it black, without any creamers or sugars! You can also add unsweetened coconut milk or cashew milk if you can’t stand it black. Another option is adding a teaspoon of organic coconut oil and a little bit of cinnamon.
And finally, remember that prevention is the best medicine!
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on the superfoods for diabetics or have any questions!