- The best foods to lower blood sugar include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, nuts, and garlic.
- If you have diabetes or may be at risk, it is important to regulate your blood sugar levels through a healthy diet and pay attention to the glycemic index of the food you eat.
- This article is Medically reviewed By Dr. Samantha Cassetty (Samantha Cassetty), nutrition and health expert, a private clinic in New York City.
- Please visit Insider’s Health Reference Library for more suggestions.
If you have diabetes, it is important to eat the right foods to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
For example, eating healthy carbohydrates, high-fiber foods and healthy fats can help prevent blood sugar from rising. Deena Adimoolam, MD, assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes and osteopathy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said that eating high-carbohydrate foods high in sugar can make it more difficult for you to control diabetes.
If you want to lower and control blood sugar, the following are the best foods to eat.
What is the glycemic index?
Knowing the glycemic index of food can help you make better eating choices and help you control diabetes. This is because of how fast and how fast the glycemic index evaluates carbohydrates on a scale of 1
Low-glycemic foods contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Due to their high fiber content, these foods are digested slowly, so the impact on blood sugar gradually increases. Diabetes patients should try to eat more low-glycemic foods to prevent blood sugar from rising.
If you have diabetes, it is also important to track the carbohydrates you eat every day and with each meal, because too many high-glycemic carbohydrates can cause blood sugar to rise. Even if you don’t have diabetes, eating high-glycemic foods can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and overweight.
Here are some examples of low-glycemic foods that you can eat to lower blood sugar and prevent spikes.
1. Whole grains
Adimoram said that eating whole grains like brown rice will not have such a serious impact on blood sugar levels because their digestion speed is not very fast. That’s because whole grains contain more fiber.
A 2007 Hormone and Metabolism Research study found that a diet rich in fiber (more than 30 grams of fiber per day), especially through a whole grain product diet, can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Examples of whole grains include:
- Barley (GI = 22)
- Bulgur (G1 = 46)
- Buckwheat (GI = 49)
2. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are examples of healthy carbohydrates that are rich in fiber. For people with diabetes, doctors recommend eating five servings of fruits (2 servings) and vegetables (3 servings) a day to maintain healthy blood sugar levels-although you should discuss with your doctor to develop a personalized meal plan.
Ripe fruits tend to have a higher glycemic index than unripe fruits. Adimoram said that eating fruit with the skin may be more beneficial because the skin contains more fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar.
Although all fruits provide nutrients, the sources of natural sugars in dried fruits and juices are more concentrated. Choose whole fruits as much as possible, such as fresh or frozen.
Adimoram said that most vegetables are healthy for diabetics, although starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and plantain are high in sugar and should be consumed appropriately.
Some examples of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables include:
- Apple (GI = 40)
- Oranges (GI = 40)
- Broccoli (GI = 10)
For more information, read about the best types of fruits for diabetes.
Oats are another good choice for diabetics because of their low glycemic index and high fiber content.
A review published in Nutrients in 2015 found that eating at least 3g of soluble fiber a day and eating whole-grain oats can help patients with type 2 diabetes control blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.
You should make sure to choose chopped oatmeal or oatmeal, because these oatmeal are less processed, which means they are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly. Try to avoid sugared instant oatmeal. If you mix fruit or other ingredients in oatmeal, please pay attention to the added sugar and total carbohydrate content.
Nuts are a source of low blood sugar, high fiber and healthy fats. They also contain beneficial nutrients and vitamins, such as vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, which can improve heart health and contribute to a balanced diet.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2011 found that eating more than 1/4 ounce of nuts per day can reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as body mass index and waist circumference.
The healthiest nuts for diabetics are:
- Almonds (GI = 20)
- Cashew (GI = 20)
- Peanuts (GI = 14)
There is evidence that garlic can help control blood sugar by increasing insulin levels in the body. This is because certain compounds in garlic (including allicin, allyl disulfide and S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide) can help improve insulin sensitivity.
For example, a study published in Food and Nutrition Research in 2017 found that daily intake of 0.05 to 1.5 grams of garlic (from supplements) can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
When cooking, try to spice food with garlic powder or add some crushed garlic cloves. However, if you plan to consume a lot of garlic, you should consult a doctor, because garlic can also cause gas, nausea, and heartburn (plus bad breath). Garlic can also be dangerous to people who use thinners.
Compared with foods with a high content of fast-acting carbohydrates (such as foods with high sugar and refined grains), foods containing fiber, protein and healthy fats are more suitable for lowering blood sugar and controlling diabetes. The glycemic index can be a useful way to determine which foods to eat, but it is important to remember that everyone responds to food differently.
Adimoram said: “Some foods that are considered low glycemic index may cause blood sugar to rise faster than another person.” Blood sugar levels may also depend on other factors, such as what medication a person is taking and their specific food What goes with it.
If you have diabetes or may be at risk, you should consult your doctor to determine the right diet for you. For more information, you can read about the best diets for diabetes and the best snacks for diabetics.