Foods that Help Diabetes

Figuring out the best foods to eat when you are pregnant and have diabetes can be overwhelming.

The main goals are to keep blood sugar levels well-controlled, nourish yourself and your baby, and to eat foods that help prevent complications from diabetes like heart disease, stroke, and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Including these foods in the Brewer Pregnancy Diet can help you have a healthy pregnancy and better control your diabetes.

1. Vinegar

Both white balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar (ACV) slow gastric emptying which helps to slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Vinegar has also been shown to decreases hunger.

Vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar levels. It may also reduce postprandial blood sugars when consumed with carbohydrate meals.

People who have 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed improve their fasting blood sugar and help to negate the dawn phenomenon.

Meal idea:

2. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family native to Central America. They provide fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are great because they lower the glycemic load of any meal, keep you full longer, and help to stabilize bloods sugar.

Meal ideas:

Chia helps with diabetes control

3. Turmeric

Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, can lower inflammation and blood sugar levels, while reducing your risk of heart disease. ” Overall, scientific literature shows that curcumin possesses anti-diabetic effects and reduces diabetes complications.” (Source). Curcumin also appears to benefit kidney health in diabetics.

Always consume turmeric with black pepper in order to absorb the curcumin, as it is not absorbed well by itself.

Meal ideas:

4. Wild salmon

Salmon is a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Wild salmon eat smaller fish and live in colder waters, which causes them to develop a higher ratio of anti-inflammatory omega-3s to saturated fats. Wild salmon is high in minerals, including potassium, zinc, and iron.

The FDA and EPA both recommend that pregnant women eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (340 grams) of a variety of seafood lower in mercury per week. Make sure it is organic and/or wild fish as farmed fish contains more toxins and pollutants.

Wild salmon safe for pregnancy

Meal ideas:

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk and is great for gut health. It also contains only ~6 g carbs per serving, and is high in protein which helps to reduce your appetite and decreases calorie intake.

Meal ideas:

6. Cinnamon

Cinnamon lowers blood sugars in people with diabetes. It has been well-researched and found to be beneficial at doses of about 1 teaspoon/day. Cinnamon helps to lower both fasting and after meal blood sugars. Cinnamon CANNOT cure diabetes.

Meal idea:

Cinnamon lowers blood sugar for diabetes

7. Broccoli

Studies in people with diabetes have found that broccoli may help lower insulin resistance and is good source of antioxidants that help prevent eye disease.

Meal ideas:

8. Lentils

Lentils are great because they contain vitamins and minerals, protein, iron, folate, and have a lot of fiber.

Meal ideas:

Lentils help diabetes

9. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleic acid, a type of fat that has been shown to improve triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, reduces inflammation, and may reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.

Meal ideas:

10. Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are extremely nutritious and low in calories and carbohydrates. Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are good sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and folate, and antioxidants, which help protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.

In one study, increasing vitamin C intake to 500 mg twice a day reduced inflammation and fasting blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.

Meal ideas:

Leafy greens help diabetes

11. Squash

Like most vegetables, squash contains antioxidants which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Animal studies using squash extract have shown reductions in obesity and blood sugar levels.

Winter squash is higher in carbs than summer squash:

  • 1 cup pumpkin: 8 g
  • 1 cup zucchini: 3.5 g

Meal ideas:

12. Eggs

Eggs are like a super food. They are one of the best foods for keeping you full for hours! Regular egg consumption can reduce your risk of heart disease. Eggs decrease inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. One study found that in people with diabetes who are “on a moderate carbohydrate background diet, accompanied by weight loss, the inclusion of whole eggs improves inflammation to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute”.

In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who ate 2 eggs per day as part of a high-protein diet lowered their cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Eggs are one of the best sources antioxidants that protect the eyes from disease.

The benefits of eggs are from the nutrients found in the egg yolk, so be sure to eat the whole egg.

Meal ideas:

Eggs, the golden nugget of nutrition

13. Flaxseeds

Flaxseed has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease, lower the risk of strokes, and improve insulin sensitivity. Current evidence suggests that a dose of at least 500 mg for approximately 8 weeks is needed to observe positive effects on cardiovascular risk factors. Flaxseed is safe for most people, however animal studies suggest that pregnant women should limit their exposure. (Source)

Flaxseeds are high in fiber, which improves gut health, insulin sensitivity and helps you feel full.

Meal ideas:

14. Nuts

Nuts taste great and great for you, unless you are allergic, of course. Nuts contain fiber, may reduce inflammation, may lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and are relatively low-carb. Here are the amounts of carbs per a 3 oz (100-gram) serving :

  • Almonds: 9 g
  • Brazil nuts: 12 g
  • Macadamia: 14 g
  • Pecans: 14 g
  • Walnuts: 14 g
  • Peanuts: 16 g
  • Hazelnuts: 17 g
  • Pistachios: 28 g
  • Cashews: 30 g
Nuts for diabetes and pregnancy

Meal ideas:

15. Strawberries

Strawberries are high in antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce cholesterol, postprandial levels, have anti-inflammatory properties, and decrease your risk of heart disease.

Strawberries for diabetes

Meal ideas:

16. Garlic

Several studies have shown garlic can reduce inflammation, blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure.

In one study, people with high blood pressure who ate garlic for 12 weeks averaged a 10-point decrease in blood pressure.

Garlic for health and yeast infections

Meal ideas:

Which foods should be avoided for people with diabetes?

People with diabetes should avoid many of the same unhealthy foods as everyone else.

Unhealthy foods during pregnancy

Sodas: both regular soda and diet soda raise blood sugars
Refined Sugars: donuts, pastries, cakes, cookies, scones, sweets, candy
Processed Carbs: white bread, pasta, chips, saltines
Trans Fats: anything with the word hydrogenated on the label, salad dressings, packaged sauces, baked goods, etc
High Fructose Corn Syrup: soda, candy, ketchup, packaged convenience food
Artificial Sweeteners: foods labeled “diet”
Highly Processed Foods: sweets, candy, chips, cookies, etc.

Subscribe to get your Free Diabetic 7-Day Meal Plan

Categories UncategorizedTags , , ,
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close