February 24


11 Vegetables High in Protein That Can Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels

By Gabriela

February 24, 2021

It turns out proteins are good for blood glucose control, so people with type 2 diabetes are highly recommended to increase their intake. Healthline analyzed the effects of a high-protein diet in people with type 2 diabetes.

They consumed proteins from both, animal and plant sources. After six weeks, there was an improvement in their glucose metabolism and reduction in their liver fat, regardless of the protein source.

Moreover, the diet showed no adverse effects on kidneys. In fact, the plant sources of protein helped improve the kidney function in the participants.

Luckily, you can increase your intake of proteins without spending a lot of money. Here are some of the best protein-rich, low-glycemic vegetables which are also loaded with fiber and other nutrients.

Consuming a few extra servings a week of these vegetables will keep your blood glucose levels under control, help you lose excess pounds, and keep your energy levels high.

11 Vegetables Rich in Protein

1. Peas

You can enjoy them fresh or frozen and use them in soups, stews, side dishes, salads, and casseroles. Peas are one of the best vegetable sources of proteins.

Also, they provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help you protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and skin cancer.

2. Spinach

Did you know that one cup of cooked spinach has 5 g of protein? Besides being an excellent source of protein, spinach is also high in iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

This dark-green leafy vegetable contains alpha-lipoic acid – an antioxidant that improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels.

Other health benefits of spinach are a lower risk of asthma, cancer, improved bone health, and reduced blood pressure levels.

3. Kale

Kale is one of the world’s healthiest foods, so it’s time to start using it more often. It’s rich in fiber, potassium, protein, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin K, and many other vitamins and minerals.

It also contains alpha-lipoic acid which can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Also, it can reduce autonomic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy in people with type 2 diabetes.

Add it to smoothies, salads, casseroles, or soups.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best food choices for people with diabetes. Studies show broccoli extract can reduce blood sugar levels by almost ten percent in people with type 2 diabetes. This vegetable is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

What’s more, it contains sulforaphane – compounds that help prevent blood damage due to diabetes. Use them in soups, salads, or enjoy them steamed with a bit of lemon juice.

5. Sprouts

Sprouts are one of the freshest protein sources you can find. You can add them to soups, salads, and sandwiches. There are different varieties of sprouts, so you can try them out and make your own combinations.

They contain zero cholesterol and fat, and high levels of protein, fiber, vitamin A, C, K, B6, niacin, thiamin, copper, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, etc.

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a great food choice if you like to boost your protein intake, especially the maitake, reishi, shiitake, and cordyceps varieties. They are low in calories and have a low glycemic index. On the other hand, they are high in protein, selenium, copper, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5.

One rat study showed that mushrooms help improve lipid and reduce glucose levels in animals with diabetes. Also, they have anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce inflammation in the body, thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Also, they are loaded with antioxidants that help prevent premature aging.

7. Brussel Sprouts

You either love or hate Brussel sprouts. But, these mini cabbages are high in phytochemicals, B vitamins, fiber, protein, vitamin K, and omega 3s, and low in calories. Also, they have a low glycemic index.

They support heart and brain function, improve skin health, fight inflammation, improve bone structure, and reduce the lipid profile.

One animal study suggests that Brussel sprouts can improve diabetic neuropathy and reduce the hyperglycemic effect. You can roast them with a pinch of salt and some oil.

8. Artichokes

This vegetable is relatively low in calories and moderates in carbs. It’s fat-free but rich in protein, antioxidants, iron, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

The antioxidants it contains, like quercetin and anthocyanins, can help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and prevent heart disease.

Moreover, the fiber content in artichokes helps Healthline. You can prepare them roasted, blended, or steamed.

9. Asparagus

Asparagus is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin K, B, C, and E, selenium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and protein. Thanks to this amazing content, asparagus promotes healthy skin, supports heart health, digestion, lowers cholesterol, and promotes satiety.

The protein content stabilizes blood glucose, and the B vitamins are crucial for the metabolism of sugars and starches.

Also, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which cut the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diabetes complications. A rat study shows it can improve insulin secretion in animals with type 2 diabetes.

10. Lentils

Lentils provide excellent amounts of fiber, protein, antioxidants, iron, and B vitamins while being low in calories. They are said to lower the risk of heart disease as well as cholesterol levels. Also, they can help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

11. Edamame

Did you know that 1 ½ cup of edamame provides 6-10 g of protein? This vegetable is an excellent source of folate, fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, choline, manganese, zinc, and calcium. This content makes it an excellent food option for people with diabetes.

You can enjoy it as a snack or appetizer after seasoning and brushing it with a bit of olive oil.

Do you know some other vegetables high in protein and good for a diabetic meal plan?


  • 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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