March 23


What Foods to Eat to Control Blood Sugar Levels?

By Gabriela

March 23, 2024

We all know that the food we eat significantly affects not only our blood sugar level but our overall health. When it comes to diabetes, some foods can help us control blood sugar levels.

However, figuring out which foods are the best can be a tough job but do not worry, we will help you.

Here is a list of 16 foods:

1. Fish

Fish should take a significant part of our everyday diet. Fish such as sardines, salmon, anchovies, herring, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which provide many benefits for our hearts.

Regular consumption of these fats is of utmost importance for diabetics since they have a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.

EPA and DHA protect the blood vessels, reduce inflammations, and provide proper functioning of the arteries.

According to some observational studies, people who regularly consume fatty fish have a lower risk of heart failure and a lower mortality rate due to some heart disease.

Studies show that older women and men who regularly consume fatty fish 5-7 days per week have significantly reduced inflammatory markers and triglycerides.

Fish is packed with high-quality protein which keeps you satiated for longer and increases your metabolic rate.

2. Cinnamon

Along with its delicious taste and culinary properties, cinnamon is a potent antioxidant agent.

According to some controlled studies, cinnamon can reduce the level of blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

By measuring the hemoglobin A1c, the average blood sugar level over 2-3 months, people determine long-term diabetes control.

One study analyzed people with type 2 diabetes who consumed cinnamon for 90 days. It turned out that it provided a double reduction of hemoglobin A1c for those who only took standard care.

According to a recent analysis of 10 studies, cinnamon can also reduce the level of both triglycerides and cholesterol.

However, make sure you consume less cassia cinnamon, the type of cinnamon found in most stores, no more than one teaspoon a day. It is rich in coumarin, the compound that can lead to some health problems when consumed in larger doses.

Fortunately, Ceylon cinnamon contains less coumarin, so you can use more of it.

3. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are nutritious powerhouses that contain a low level of calories and digestible carbs which raise blood sugar levels.

Kale, and spinach are just some of the leafy greens that are rich in different minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C.

According to one study, vitamin C can reduce inflammatory markers and improve the levels of blood sugar levels for people suffering from high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Leafy greens are packed with a high amount of the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants protect the eyes from cataracts macular degeneration and some diabetes complications.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are the perfect food for people with diabetes since they are high in fiber and low in digestible carbs.

So, in a 28-gram serving of chia seeds, 11 of 12 grams of carbs are fiber which does not raise the level of blood sugar.

Chia seeds contain viscous fiber which can lower the blood sugar level by slowing down the rate of absorption and movement of food through the gut.

Chia seeds promote weight loss since they reduce hunger and keep you satiated for longer. Also, the fiber content can reduce the calories you absorb from the same meal.

In addition, chia seeds can reduce inflammatory markers and blood pressure levels.

5. Eggs

Eggs abound with many health benefits which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Also, they will keep us satiated for longer while reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, increasing HDL cholesterol, and reducing LDL cholesterol.

According to a study, people who regularly consumed 2 eggs per day had significant improvements in their blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

Additionally, eggs are high in zeaxanthin and lutein, important antioxidants that protect the eyes from different diseases.

However, make sure you consume whole eggs since there are more important nutrients in the yolk than in the white.

6. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent dairy food because it can control blood sugar levels and reduce heart disease risk due to several probiotics.

Some studies show that yogurt and some other dairy foods can stimulate weight loss and improve body composition. This may be a result of the conjugated linoleic acid and high calcium level.

Greek yogurt has about 6-8 grams of carbs per serving which is far less than the conventional yogurt. Also, the high protein content stimulates weight loss by reducing calorie intake and appetite.

7. Turmeric

It’s curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric which can lower blood sugar levels, inflammation, and the risk of heart disease.

Also, it can provide many benefits for the kidneys. This is of the highest importance since diabetes is the leading cause of kidney diseases.

However, turmeric can’t be absorbed without piperine. So, make sure you consume more turmeric and black pepper to boost curcumin absorption.

8. Broccoli

It is a well-known fact that broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables worldwide.

In a half-cup of cooked broccoli, there are about 27 calories, 3 grams of digestible carbs, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Broccoli can lower insulin levels and protect from the action of free radicals.

Also, broccoli is rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which can protect from different eye diseases.

9. Nuts

Along with the nutritious content and the delicious taste, nuts are rich in fiber but low in digestible carbs.

The following nuts contain the following amounts of digestible carbs per 28-gram serving.

  • Brazil nuts – 1.4 grams
  • Almonds – 2.6 grams
  • Hazelnuts -2 grams
  • Cashews – 7.7 grams
  • Pecans – 1.2 grams
  • Macadamia – 1.5 grams
  • Walnuts – 2 grams
  • Pistachios – 5 grams

According to research, regular consumption of nuts can reduce blood sugar, inflammation, LDL, and HbA1c levels.

One study has shown that diabetic people who consumed 30 grams of walnuts daily, lost weight, improved body composition, and significantly reduced their insulin levels.

This is of the highest importance because high levels of insulin are also related to obesity.

Some researchers claim that chronic high levels of insulin can reduce the risk of some serious diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.

10. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are rich in insoluble fiber made up of lignans which can further reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar.

One study has shown that those with type 2 diabetes who consumed flaxseed lignans for twelve weeks have significantly improved their level of hemoglobin A1c.

Another one has found that flaxseeds can reduce the risk of strokes and reduce the dosage of medications that prevent blood clots.

Flaxseeds are rich in viscous fiber which improves insulin sensitivity, gut health, and level of satiety.

Note: The body is not able to absorb whole flaxseeds so make sure you grind them or buy ground seeds.

11. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Along with the other benefits, extra-virgin olive oil can provide many benefits for the heart. It is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that can improve HDL, triglycerides, and the GLP-1, the fullness hormone.

A large analysis of 32 studies has pointed out that olive oil is one of the most important oils that can reduce the risk of heart disease.

It is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that protect the blood vessels, reduce inflammation, protect the LDL from oxidation, and can reduce blood pressure.

What makes extra-virgin olive oil so healthy is that it retains the antioxidants and important nutrients. However, make sure you purchase some reputable olive oil since some olive oils can be combined with soy and corn oils.

12. Strawberries

Strawberries are packed with anthocyanins, the antioxidants which give their red color. They reduce the insulin level and cholesterol as well as heart disease risk and blood sugar level.

In a one-cup serving of strawberries, there are 49 calories, 11 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fiber. This amount of strawberries provides plenty of RDI for vitamin C which provides important anti-inflammatory benefits.

13. Apple Cider Vinegar

During the process of fermentation, the sugar from apples turns into acetic acid, and that’s why there is 1 gram of carbs in one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

It improves insulin sensitivity and can reduce blood sugar spikes. After the consumption of carbs, it can also reduce blood sugar response by 20%.

According to one study, people who had poor control over their diabetes, have reduced blood sugar spikes by 6% after they consumed 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before going to bed.

Additionally, apple cider vinegar keeps people satiated for longer and slows down stomach emptying.

Unfortunately, this can be considered a problem for those with gastroparesis, improper functioning of the stomach muscles, a condition which is common in type 1 diabetes.

First, start with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water daily. Then increase to a maximum of 2 tablespoons per day.

14. Squash

Winter squash varieties are characterized by a hard shell, and they include pumpkin, acorn, and butternut.

Summer squash is characterized by soft peel, including Italian squash and zucchini.

Squash is rich in highly important antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin and lutein which protect from macular degeneration and cataracts.

Animal studies have shown that squash can reduce insulin levels and obesity.

Although there is little research conducted on humans, one study has found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed an extract of Cucurbita ficifolia, a winter squash have significantly reduced their blood sugar levels.

Just to mention, there are more carbs in winter squash than in summer squash.

There are 9 grams of digestible carbs in 1 cup of cooked pumpkin while only 3 grams in cooked zucchini.

15. Shirataki Noodles

These noodles are an excellent food for weight and diabetes control. They are rich in glucomannan, the fiber extracted from konjac root.

This plant grows in Japan and further on it is processed in the form of rice and noodles.

Glucomannan is a viscous fiber that increases the level of satiety and reduces the level of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.

Also, it was found that it can reduce blood sugar levels after a meal and improve heart disease risk.

A 100-gram serving of these noodles contains less than 1 gram of digestible carbs and 2 calories.

Note: Shirataki noodles are characterized by a liquid with a fishy odor so you must rinse them before use. Then cook them for several minutes over high heat.

16. Garlic

Garlic is widely celebrated for its health benefits which can reduce blood sugar, inflammation, and LDL in people with 2 diabetes.

Also, it can effectively reduce blood pressure.

According to one study, people with high blood pressure who consumed aged garlic for 12 weeks, experienced a 10-point reduction of blood pressure.

There are 4 calories and 1 gram of carbs in one clove of raw garlic.

These foods not only will help you control your insulin, blood sugar, and inflammation under control, but they will also help you reduce the risk of other complications.

Source: Authority Nutrition


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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