5 Foods Diabetics Should Eat Every Day

Eat oatmeal every day.

Eating the right foods can protect you from developing diabetes—a rather common diagnosis these days. Such foods have inherent properties that, if consumed regularly, can almost eliminate your risk of ever hearing that you have diabetes! What kind of help do you need to know if you’re already a diabetic? It starts with living a healthy life and eating nutritious food. Here are my top five superfoods that provide help for diabetics:

1. Oatmeal

The consumption of oatmeal and oat bran makes a great deal of sense even if you don’t have diabetes, but even more so if you do. This is an important food for diabetics, because it’s one of the nutritional “superfoods” that I not only eat every morning, but also recommend as a critical part of a diabetic’s diet.

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Oatmeal is lower on the glycemic scale, so it does not raise your insulin level much. This results in slow but sustained blood sugar levels and keeps your blood fats and levels of inflammation lower. The regular consumption of oatmeal can also lower your blood pressure, control weight gain, and lessen your insulin requirement. The high-soluble fiber content is what gives this wondrous food a big nod from me!

2. Sweet Potatoes

I also consider this food to be on my “superfood” list of foods for everyone to eat. If you are diabetic, you will want to eat more sweet potatoes, not only because do they contain generous amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin A, but also because they contain complex carbohydrates, which are unique long-chain sugar molecules. When you eat this type of sugar molecule, it causes your blood sugar to elevate slower and requires less insulin release to do so. In my personal experience, I’ve found that sweet potatoes provide you with a better source of sustained energy without the sugar crashes and associated food cravings. These are definitely superfoods I recommend.

3. Fish

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Increasing your intake of oily fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna, has been linked to lower rates of heart disease, stroke, arthritis, obesity, depression, and diabetes. If you have diabetes, the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish will improve your insulin sensitivity and the transport of glucose into your cells, and decrease the amount of inflammation in your arteries. Consuming more foods with omega-3s also improves insulin sensitivity, lowering the relative amount of insulin which is secreted after a meal; this decreased insulin response can cause you to gain less weight.

Eating superfoods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, can also make your blood less sticky and prone to clotting up your arteries. That’s why fish is an important food for diabetics—because diabetics have a much greater chance of having blood clots form in their arteries.

4. Olive Oil

The omega-9 class of fatty acids contained in foods like olive oil can lower the risk of heart disease and inflammation commonly associated with the diagnosis of diabetes. If you consume more olive oil, this will keep your arteries clean and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

5. Green and Bright-Colored Vegetables

The consumption of more pigmented vegetables can provide you with blood sugar-lowering benefits and can also add a nutritional punch of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which can prevent damage to your heart and arteries. The chemicals and antioxidants contained within this important food group can also positively influence blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. Let’s call these my favorite green superfoods!

Sources:
Lammert, A., et al., “Clinical benefit of a short term dietary oatmeal intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes and severe insulin resistance: a pilot study,” Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. February 2008; 116(2): 132-4.
Ooi, C.P., et al., “Sweet potato for type 2 diabetes mellitus,” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. February 15, 2012; 2.
Doughman, S.D., et al., “Omega-3 fatty acids for nutrition and medicine: considering microalgae oil as a vegetarian source of EPA and DHA,” Curr Diabetes Rev. August 2007; 3(3): 198-203.
Bosch, J., et al., “n-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with dysglycemia,” N Engl J Med. July 26, 2012; 367(4): 309-18.
Udupa, A.S., “Study of comparative effects of antioxidants on insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus,” J Clin Diagn Res. November 2012; 6(9): 1,469-73.