Diet has a significant role in preserving appropriate blood sugar levels in patients with prediabetes, diabetes, or other disorders that affect blood sugar.
Maintaining blood sugar levels is influenced by several variables, including body weight, activity, stress, and genetics, but maintaining a good diet is essential for blood sugar control.
Some foods, such as those that are high in added sugar and refined carbohydrates, might cause blood sugar oscillations, but other foods can improve blood sugar control while enhancing general health.
Here are 10 foods that could assist in controlling your blood sugar.
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
An isothiocyanate with the ability to lower blood sugar is sulforaphane.
When broccoli is chopped or chewed, glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate compound, and myrosinase, an enzyme that is concentrated in broccoli, react to produce this plant chemical.
Studies in test tubes, animals, and people have revealed that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has potent anti-diabetic benefits, improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar and oxidative stress indicators.
When taken as a supplement as a powder or extract, broccoli sprouts have been demonstrated to help enhance insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes because they contain concentrated sources of glucosinolates such as glucoraphanin.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables has also been associated with a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Remember that eating raw or gently steamed broccoli and broccoli sprouts, as well as adding active sources of myrosinase, such as mustard seed powder, to cooked broccoli, are the greatest ways to increase the availability of sulforaphane.
A valuable source of protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, seafood, including fish and shellfish, may help control blood sugar levels.
For the regulation of blood sugar, protein is necessary. It aids with sluggish digestion, avoids blood sugar surges after meals, and heightens feelings of satiety. Additionally, it might aid in preventing overeating and encouraging the elimination of extra body fat—two outcomes crucial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.
It has been demonstrated that eating a lot of fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, can aid with blood sugar management.
For instance, a study of 68 overweight or obese people found that those who ate 26 ounces (750 grams) of fatty fish per week experienced significant reductions in post-meal blood sugar levels compared to those who ate lean fish.
Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
The vibrantly colored, fiber- and antioxidant-rich pumpkin is a fantastic option for controlling blood sugar levels. Numerous nations like Iran and Mexico employ pumpkins as a traditional diabetes treatment.
Pumpkin has a lot of polysaccharides, which are carbohydrates with the capacity to control blood sugar levels. Both human and animal research has demonstrated a considerable reduction in blood sugar levels following treatments with pumpkin extracts and powders.
The potential health benefits of the whole pumpkin, such as those associated with eating it roasted or steamed, will require further study.
Pumpkin seeds are a great option for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels because they are full of protein and good fats.
In contrast to a control group, a 2018 study involving 40 individuals revealed that eating 2 ounces (65 grams) of pumpkin seeds decreased post-meal blood sugar by as much as 35%.
Nuts and nut butter
Nut consumption has been linked to potential benefits for controlling blood sugar levels, according to research.
A low-carb diet including both peanuts and almonds throughout the day decreased both fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels in 25 patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research.
Additionally, a review indicated that, when compared to a control diet, type 2 diabetics’ fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a marker of long-term blood sugar control, were significantly lower on diets that prioritized tree nuts at an average daily intake of 2 ounces (56 grams).
A fruit that is frequently used as a vegetable is okra. It is a high source of antioxidants and polysaccharides, which reduce blood sugar.
Due to their powerful blood sugar-lowering abilities, okra seeds have been used as a natural cure for diabetes for a very long time in Turkey.
The primary polysaccharide in okra, rhamnogalacturonan, has been discovered to possess potent anti-diabetic properties. Additionally, the flavonoids isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside found in okra assist in lowering blood sugar by blocking specific enzymes.
Okra may have potent anti-diabetic capabilities, according to animal studies, but further human trials are required.
Flax seeds are widely known for their health advantages and are high in fiber and good fats. In particular, flax seeds might lower blood sugar levels.
In 8-week research including 57 persons with type 2 diabetes, those who ingested plain yogurt instead of 7 ounces (200 grams) of 2.5% fat yogurt with 1 ounce (30 grams) of flax seeds daily saw substantial drops in their HbA1c levels.
Furthermore, consuming whole flax seeds significantly improved blood sugar regulation, according to a study of 25 research that was carefully controlled.
Beans and lentils
Protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium that are abundant in beans and lentils can help reduce blood sugar levels. They include particularly high levels of resistant starch and soluble fiber, which might assist in slow digestion and possibly enhance the response of blood sugar to meals.
For instance, research involving 12 women found that consuming rice alone was not as effective in lowering blood sugar levels after meals as consuming rice with black beans or chickpeas.
Numerous other studies have demonstrated that eating beans and lentils can help regulate blood sugar and may even help prevent the onset of diabetes.
Consuming chia seeds could improve blood sugar management. Consuming chia seeds has been associated with studies to lower blood sugar levels and increased insulin sensitivity.
Chia seeds may enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation as well as possibly lower illness risk, including the risk of diabetes, according to a 2020 analysis of 17 animal research.
Furthermore, a study of 15 healthy people found that consuming 1 ounce (25 grams) of crushed chia seeds coupled with 2 ounces (50 grams) of a sugar solution resulted in a 39% lower blood sugar level than just consuming the sugar solution.
There is a good reason why kale is sometimes referred to as a “superfood.” It’s loaded with antioxidant flavonoid chemicals and fiber, both of which may help lower blood sugar levels.
In comparison to a placebo, ingesting either 7 or 14 grams of kale-containing items with a high-carb dinner significantly reduced post-meal blood sugar levels, according to a study involving 42 Japanese individuals.
Quercetin and kaempferol are two flavonoid antioxidants present in kale that has been demonstrated in studies to have significant blood sugar-lowering and insulin-sensitizing effects.
Avocados are not only tasty and creamy, but they may also have major advantages for controlling blood sugar. They are abundant in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and studies have shown that including them in meals lowers blood sugar levels.
According to several studies, avocados may help lower blood sugar levels and guard against the onset of metabolic syndrome, a group of illnesses that includes high blood pressure and high blood sugar and raises the risk of developing chronic diseases.
However, keep in mind that the Hass Avocado Board funded numerous studies that looked into how eating avocados affected blood sugar levels, which may have had an impact on the studies’ findings.
The bottom line
A healthy eating regimen must be followed for the best blood sugar control.
Including the foods on the above list as part of a healthy diet may help lower your blood sugar levels, regardless of whether you have diabetes or prediabetes or wish to reduce your risk of acquiring these disorders.
However, bear in mind that when it comes to optimizing blood sugar regulation and preventing chronic disease, factors like your entire nutritional consumption, as well as elements like your activity level and body weight, are most crucial.