Type 2 diabetes is a common condition affecting over 12% of America’s adult population. It’s also referred to as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The condition generally affects the way your body utilizes sugar.
It occurs either when our body doesn’t manufacture enough sugar, or when it is unable to react to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for blood sugar regulation.
Type 2 diabetes has a variety of symptoms that require serious attention such as fatigue, weight loss, starvation, and several slow-healing infections.
Many different factors can be the roots of type 2 diabetes, some of which include family history, inactivity, and excess body weight.
People with pre-diabetes (a condition with high sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic) are prone to develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their life.
Pay heed that it’s a chronic condition, but luckily – it’s manageable.
In addition, we have a list of foods with medical benefits for diabetes, which will help people substitute prescription medications and their side effects.
14 Natural Foods for Diabetes and Their Benefits
Probably one of the healthiest choices people can make if they are experiencing diabetes. It’s low in carbs and holds mono-unsaturated fats. (1)
As several studies explain, a diet that is high in mono-unsaturated fats and low in carbs could help you enhance the sensitivity to insulin.
The mono-unsaturated fats will not only help people improve insulin sensitivity but will also help them decrease the risks of heart diseases.
Moreover, it’s known that the chances of developing cardiovascular disease are higher for those with diabetes.
You can enjoy avocado in many different ways. You can add a few slices to either a salad or a sandwich. Or, you can simply mash it up and use it as a chip dip.
2. Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd contains Momordica and character, biochemicals that mimic the pancreas’ production of the sugar process. (2)
Whether you take it as a food supplement, use it as a cooking adhesive or drink a tea made from a bitter gourd, you may notice a modest decrease in blood sugar levels.
The nutritional value of watermelon is often misunderstood. People with diabetes should customize their portion sizes according to the sugar content of the fruit, not avoid it.
Although it has high amounts of sugar, it also contains essential compounds and is a major source of iron, fibers, calcium, potassium, and vitamins C & A. (3)
All of these compounds are vital nutrients in one’s diet, particularly for diabetics, and they have a bonus feature of meeting your daily sugar requirements.
However, watermelon scores high on the glycemic index scale and thus should be consumed in moderation.
Hence, we advise people to consult their doctor before implementing watermelon in their daily diets.
Pineapples have high amounts of fibers, and other beneficial nutrients like calcium and vitamins C & A. Fibers have the ability to control blood sugar levels.
Moreover, stick to fresh pineapples only, as juiced, canned, and dried pineapples have extra sugars added.
It’s imperative that those with diabetes eat foods that score low on the glycemic index scale, and lemon is just a perfect choice.
Not only because they can regulate blood sugar levels, but also because they can provide a natural detoxification for the body. (4)
Also, they are a primary source of vitamin C, an antioxidant responsible for boosting the immune system and enhancing the health of the heart.
Furthermore, if the strong taste of the lemon repulses you from reaping its benefits, you can mix it with warm water and have 1 glass of the drink every morning.
Even a single drop of lemons’ essential oil in warm water can provide the same benefits without significantly altering the taste.
In one recent study on animals, lemon balm oil has shown the potential to break down sugar and enhance the absorption of glucose.
However, the meaning of this discovery is still vague for diabetics. Still, it might prove useful in handling symptoms of diabetes with approval from your doctor.
It’s said that lemon balm oil diffusion or skin application could provide benefits alike, too.
Cinnamon is good for diabetics because not only does it help with insulin stimulation, but it also makes a fine dessert adhesive. The results from several clinical trials show the efficacy of cinnamon in lowering blood sugar levels.
There are various ways you can use cinnamon, from adding it to your baked goods, beverages, and smoothies to making cinnamon water. Simply add ½tsp of cinnamon into a glass of warm water, and drink it every day. (5)
In addition, we recommend that you boil 4 sticks of cinnamon in a cup of water, let it steep for 15-20 min, and then drink it.
Guava can help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels under control due to the high contents of fiber and vitamin C. However, people with diabetes should limit the consumption of guava to 1 per day, and also avoid eating the fruits’ skin. (6)
8. Fish Oil
Fish oil is beneficial for everybody, as many people take it for brain and heart health. The Omega 3 fatty acids enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin, thus boosting the production of adiponectin. (7)
Aside from fish oil, there are but a few different ways to reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating chia seeds, salmon and flaxseeds are among them.
9. Egg Whites
Egg whites are very low in carbs and extremely high in quality proteins. 1 egg white contains around 16 calories and 4 grams of pure protein. They are also perfect for bodyweight maintenance. (8)
10. Fiber Powder
Most of us don’t usually obtain enough fiber for the day from our diets. As a matter of fact, on average, we only get 15 grams per day while the average adult needs 25-30 grams per day to meet the body’s requirements for the dietary material.
There is a vast variety of fiber supplements to choose from but look for the one that contains chia or flax seeds, or fiber powder.
Not only do they make a healthy snack, but they are also particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. It helps in suppressing hunger attacks as well as in stabilizing the blood sugar levels, mainly due to the magnesium they contain. (9)
According to a study from Harvard University, people who intake high amounts of magnesium per day are 33% less likely to evolve type 2 diabetes. Hence, implementing almonds in the daily diet is beneficial for maintaining the condition.
12. Greek yogurt
People with diabetes have repeatedly been told to avoid yogurt as it could be harmful to the condition. As a matter of fact, it has exactly the opposite effects, as it can actually help with regulating blood sugar levels.
What makes Greek yogurt an excellent choice? Well, the answer is – pretty much everything! The contents of sugar and carbs are significantly lower than most regular yogurts, and it contains twice as much protein!
It’s important to add whole grains to a diabetic’s daily diet. Oatmeal is a major source of soluble fiber, which in turn plays an essential role in regulating blood sugar levels.
It’s best if we ate plain oatmeal, due to the small amounts of sugar. Furthermore, we can alter the flavor to our preference by adding walnuts, almonds, or chopped pecans.
14. Coenzyme Q10
A vitamin-like substance, present in every single cell in the body, produces naturally. Coenzymes aid enzymes work of digesting the food as well as breaking down the sugar for energy utilization.
Additionally, it acts as an antioxidant that safeguards our body from harmful molecules. These are the reasons behind the benefits of Q10 for people with diabetes.
However, things like the natural aging process, birth control pills, and cholesterol medications can slim down the Coenzyme’s Q10 levels.
The results of one 2009 study including 23 patients with diabetes taking statins, clearly show the efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 to regulate blood sugar levels as well as fortifying the blood vessels.