7 Foods That Help Fight Type 2 Diabetes (2022)

7 Foods That Help Fight Type 2 Diabetes (1)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 100 million U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes. You may also know that living with diabetes can lead to many other health issues including inflammatory conditions, kidney disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and neurological issues.

With the epidemic of diabetes, there are some important dietary considerations to know about. On the bright side, there are some specific ingredients that you can include in your balanced diet to support your body in reversing this condition. First, let’s explore exactly what happens when one has diabetes and the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

About Diabetes

Often called juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition whereby the body attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas (pancreatic beta cells) and hence, the body stops producing insulin. There are no means for preventing or curing type 1 diabetes; it is not considered to be diet related. Research is still underway in determining the exact factors that cause type 1 diabetes.

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Type 2 diabetes is a condition that does relate to diet—specifically to the elevated levels of insulin in the blood. When your body ceases responding to a diet high in excess sugars and refined carbohydrates with the appropriate levels of insulin, this is called type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes can be both prevented and reversed with some focus in your diet.

Below you will find some foods that are helpful in regulating your blood sugar and fighting type 2 diabetes. Also important to note is to be sure that your balanced diet is high in proteins and healthy fats (such as fats from healthy oils, nuts, and seeds)—two macronutrients that ensure more stable blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity, while also keeping you satiated longer between meals.

Here are seven of the best foods for diabetics.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (or ACV)—created from apples broken down by a fermentation process—is an ancient tonic known for its diverse health benefits. Apple cider vinegar is specifically known for its high probiotic count. ACV has also been shown to improve insulin response in patients with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. ACV is an easy, inexpensive, and effective addition to your daily health regimen—one of the best food choices for diabetes control.

How to use: Try starting off your morning by drinking one tablespoon in a glass of water approximately 30 minutes before eating or make into a salad dressing with equal parts olive oil, a pinch of salt, a small teaspoon of raw honey, and a touch of spicy mustard.

2. Avocados

Avocados are grown in almost every tropical climate around the world. Avocado is a great source of healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), vitamin E, and chlorophyll, making it a heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, and blood-sugar stabilizing diabetic-friendly food to include in your diet.

One study looked at a group of 12 women with non-insulin dependent diabetes (type 2 diabetes) over a four-week period. The participants were given a diet high in monounsaturated fats (from avocado and olive oil) and observed for various markers including glycemic control (the delicate balance of insulin replacement with diet and physical activity), cholesterol, and lipid profile. The study concluded that the monounsaturated fats offered a good diabetic management alternative.

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How to enjoy: Avocado is a versatile food that can be enjoyed in many ways. Add half an avocado to your morning smoothie for an extra dose of healthy fats, add chopped on top of your favorite salad, slather on a piece of your favorite bread with a pinch of sea salt for a tasty avocado toast, or make into a simple guacamole with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt.

3. Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is loaded with many nutrients you will want in your diabetic prevention and reversal regiment. Wild salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids and collagen, making wild salmon a potent food rich in health-promoting natural fats.

One study examined the impact of eating fatty fish (such as wild salmon) with and without pollutants on people with type 2 diabetes. The study noted a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes with the inclusion of pollutant-free fatty fish in the diet, while the converse—a diet high in pollutant-dense fatty fish—had a negative impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.

This is a good reminder to maximize the health benefits of fatty fish (including salmon) by eating fish that is as pure and pollutant-free as possible.

How to enjoy: Wild salmon is a delicious protein to add into your meal plan. Try it grilled, baked, smoked, or even a quick one-sided pan-fry (skin-side down) in a dollop of avocado or coconut oil until cooked all the way through, topped with a squeeze of lemon.

4. Ginseng

Ginseng is noted as one of the most popular and best-selling natural remedies worldwide today. Ginseng may be an important ingredient to explore as an effective way to lower blood sugar levels in those struggling with type 2 diabetes (or prediabetes).

One study researched a group of participants with type 2 diabetes. At mealtime, the participants received two grams of Korean red ginseng or a placebo, for 12 weeks, with no change to their current anti-diabetic regiment. The conclusion the study derived was an overall improvement in glycemic control (the delicate balance of insulin replacement with diet and physical activity).

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How to enjoy: Ginseng can be included in your diet in multiple ways. Try it chopped up raw, gently cooked, taken as a supplement, made into a tonic or tea, or even finely shredded and sprinkled atop a delicious stir-fry.

5. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are one of the oldest crops that grows in Europe, Asia, and in the U.S. and have been used back in the beginning of civilization.

Flaxseeds are rich in plant-based oils of α-linolenic acid (ALA, omega-3 fatty acid) and lignans as well as high-quality fiber.

Flaxseeds have been shown to be a power food (because of their high-quality fats and oils) for diabetes management and digestive healing as well as to simply boost the nutrient density of any meal.

How to enjoy: Try including flax seeds in your morning smoothie, reach for a flax cracker instead of a regular cracker, or use flax oil on top of salads or steamed vegetables.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the highest sources of omega-3 oils (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid) of all the nuts. Walnuts (like many other fat-rich nuts) are a great source of healthy protein and fat, giving you a satiating and blood-sugar stabilizing snack.

One study looked at a group of people with either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and the effect of a regular consumption of walnuts compared to no nut consumption. What the study concluded was that those who ate a regular (self-reported) amount of walnuts showed a lower risk of diabetes and blood glucose levels (especially notable in women).

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How to enjoy: Try walnuts raw or roasted as a tasty on-the-go snack, or an addition to any salad or pudding with chia seeds, or sprinkle on top of yogurt and fruit. Have you tried walnut butter? Try a dollop of walnut butter spread on a slice of apple. You can also replace the more traditional pine nuts with walnuts in most pesto recipes.

7. Cinnamon

You have surely tried the very popular spice, cinnamon. It is naturally sweet and used in many dishes and libations far and wide around the globe. Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a variety of trees that belong to the genus Cinnamomum. When it dries, it naturally curls up into quills—what you would recognize as cinnamon sticks—before being ground into the common cinnamon spice.

Cinnamon is a unique ingredient in that it boosts chromium levels in your blood. Chromium has an important role in the regulation of insulin and blood sugar making cinnamon a great addition to your diet when you are looking to combat type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

One study confirmed that an intake of one, three, or six grams of cinnamon per day lowered serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in participants with type 2 diabetes. This may show an effective way to decrease some of the risk factors (and other health complications) associated with type 2 diabetes.

How to enjoy: There are so many easy ways to include more cinnamon in your diet. You can use cinnamon sprinkled on your breakfast oats, yogurt, or pudding with chia seeds. You can add a dash to your smoothies, sprinkle some on top of your latte, enjoy in a cup of chai, or simply try it in a glass of warm almond milk for a naturally sweet and warming flavor.

Food is such a powerful medicine. Your fork may be the most important tool in transforming your health. These seven are good foods for diabetics; they are wonderful ways to support your body in creating a healthy blood sugar response, balancing insulin levels, and combating type 2 diabetes (and prediabetes). Here’s to powering up your meal plan!

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program

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What should diabetics eat first thing in the morning? ›

10 Best Breakfast Foods for People with Diabetes
  • Eggs. Eggs are delicious, versatile, and a great breakfast choice for people with diabetes. ...
  • Greek yogurt with berries. ...
  • Overnight chia seed pudding. ...
  • Oatmeal. ...
  • Multigrain avocado toast. ...
  • Low carb smoothies. ...
  • Wheat bran cereal. ...
  • Cottage cheese, fruit, and nut bowl.
23 Mar 2021

What is the fruit that keeps blood sugar below 100? ›

Citrus fruits

Although many citrus fruits are sweet, research shows that they may help reduce blood sugar levels. Citrus fruits are considered low glycemic fruits because they don't affect blood sugar as much as other types of fruits like watermelon and pineapple ( 50 ).

What drink will lower blood sugar? ›

Consider steeping a cup of green tea, which contains 28 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic, and may help fend off diabetes. A review of studies suggested that green tea and green tea extract may help lower blood glucose levels and may play a role in helping prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity.

What are two 2 items an individual should avoid eating if he she is diabetic? ›

Your main goals should include staying away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains, and other foods that contain refined carbs. Avoiding foods that increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance can help keep you healthy and reduce your risk of future diabetes complications.

How can I reverse type 2 diabetes permanently? ›

Making positive lifestyle changes such as eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting down to a healthy weight (and maintaining it) are the key to possibly reversing or managing type 2 diabetes.

Which bread is best for diabetics? ›

The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread is made from highly processed white flour and added sugar.

How can I flush sugar out of my system fast? ›

The easiest way to bring your blood sugar level back to normal is by drinking a lot of water. If your daily water intake level is normal, then your blood sugar remains in control. Water helps kidneys to flush out toxins and insulin from the body.

Does lemon water reduce blood sugar? ›

Lemon juice significantly lowered the mean blood glucose concentration peak by 30% (p < 0.01) and delayed it more than 35 min (78 vs. 41 min with water, p < 0.0001).

Are tomatoes good for diabetics? ›

Tomatoes are not high in sugar, and neither are carrots. Tomatoes, similar to carrots, are considered a non-starchy vegetable in meal planning for diabetes. This means that the amount of naturally occurring sugar is minimal in a serving.

Which vegetables should be avoided in diabetes? ›

People living with diabetes should look to avoid vegetables with a high GI rating, as the body absorbs blood sugar from those foods much quicker compared with low-GI foods. This includes artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant/aubergine, green beans, lettuce, peppers, snow peas and spinach.”

How long does it take cinnamon to lower blood sugar? ›

The addition of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon to the diet led to significant decreases in serum glucose levels after 40 days.

What can I drink before bed to lower my blood sugar? ›

A: Drinking apple cider vinegar at bedtime can help diabetic people control their blood glucose levels. A diabetic patient should take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before sleep. It can also aid in the regulation of fasting blood sugar levels in the morning.

Is coffee good for diabetes? ›

Some studies suggest that drinking coffee — whether caffeinated and decaffeinated — may actually reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, however, the impact of caffeine on insulin action may be associated with higher or lower blood sugar levels.

Is Coke Zero good for diabetics? ›

Diabetics should avoid coke or any soft drinks as much as possible. Coke Zero is sugar-free. However, the sugar substitutes it contains may not necessarily be a healthier option for people looking to reduce their blood sugar levels.

What food makes diabetes worse? ›

Worst Choices
  • Fried meats.
  • Higher-fat cuts of meat, such as ribs.
  • Pork bacon.
  • Regular cheeses.
  • Poultry with skin.
  • Deep-fried fish.
  • Deep-fried tofu.
  • Beans prepared with lard.
6 Dec 2020

What should diabetics not eat for breakfast? ›

Some breakfast options can be detrimental to blood sugar levels when you have diabetes.
  • Bagel and Cream Cheese. ...
  • Store-Bought Muffins. ...
  • Sausage and Eggs. ...
  • Sugary Cereals. ...
  • Sweetened Yogurts. ...
  • Sugary Pastry. ...
  • Freshly Juiced Fruit. ...
  • Stack of Pancakes.
17 Nov 2020

What foods can diabetics eat freely list? ›

What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
  • vegetables. nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. ...
  • fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes.
  • grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains. ...
  • protein. ...
  • dairy—nonfat or low fat.

What are the best vitamins for type 2 diabetes? ›

A B12 supplement can be helpful if you have type 2 diabetes and are deficient in the vitamin. People who take metformin for type 2 diabetes have lower levels of vitamin B12. If you're on metformin, talk to your health care provider about periodically being tested for a B12 deficiency.

Can walking cure diabetes? ›

Research studies have shown that walking can be beneficial in bringing down blood glucose and therefore improving diabetes control.

Is fasting good for diabetes? ›

Early research shows that, when exercised with purpose, fasting protocols can help reduce the symptoms of diabetes and address some of its underlying causes. Still, the practice isn't for everyone, and many dieticians and doctors still warn about negative consequences on blood sugar and metabolic health.

How many slices of bread should a diabetic eat per day? ›

According to a regular person's calorie intakes, one can have around three medium slices of refined white flour bread in a day. When it comes to a diabetic patient, this number changes, it is best not to consume white flour bread, but if doing so, make sure not to go over two medium slices.

Are grapes good for diabetics? ›

Grapes are adored, nourishing fruits and are safe for diabetics. People can eat them and add them to their diabetic diets as they do not harm or spike glucose levels. Consuming grapes help to reduce the susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes.

What causes blood sugar to rise without eating? ›

Coffee—even without sweetener. Some people's blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine. Losing sleep—even just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less well. Skipping breakfast—going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.

What kind of chips can diabetics eat? ›

We're big fans of the brand Beanitos, made from legumes instead of potatoes or corn. Beanitos have a comparable nutritional profile to potato or tortilla chips, but pack in about 5 grams of satiating protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving.

What brings sugar down? ›

When your blood sugar level gets too high — known as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose — the quickest way to reduce it is to take fast-acting insulin. Exercising is another fast, effective way to lower blood sugar. In some cases, you should go to the hospital instead of handling it at home.

How long does sugar stay in your urine? ›

It depends on the type of sugar. Sugar in candy turns into glucose very quickly, 15 – 20 minutes. It can take 3-4 hours for your body to mop it up if you are a type 2 diabetic. If you're not a diabetic, it takes about 1-2 hours to get back to normal blood sugar.

What can diabetics drink besides water? ›

What You Can Drink, Besides Water, When You Have Diabetes
  • Chocolate Milk. This treat may remind you of the school lunchroom, but it's a good calcium-rich choice for grown-ups as well. ...
  • Sweet Tea. ...
  • Orange Juice. ...
  • Chai Latte. ...
  • Lemonade. ...
  • Hot Chocolate. ...
  • Apple Cider. ...
  • Energy Drinks.
11 Jan 2022

How long does it take sugar to leave your body? ›

By tracking your blood sugar levels within 60 to 90 minutes of a meal, you can see how your body responds to certain foods and make informed decisions about what foods are the best at stabilizing your blood sugar. After about two hours, your blood sugar should drop back down to its pre-meal level.

Is cucumber good for diabetics? ›

Early trials suggest that cucumber is one of the most effective plants for not only reducing blood sugar levels but also lowering the risk of hypoglycemia during a blood sugar drop. For people with diabetes, cucumber may be a helpful addition to their diet to moderate blood sugar levels more effectively.

Is honey good for diabetics? ›

Generally, there's no advantage to substituting honey for sugar in a diabetes eating plan. Both honey and sugar will affect your blood sugar level. Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you might use a smaller amount of honey for sugar in some recipes.

Is orange good for diabetes? ›

If you have diabetes, eating a variety of fruits — including oranges — is good for your health. Whole oranges may keep your blood sugar levels steady due to their low GI, fiber content, and other nutrients.

Can diabetics eat potatoes? ›

Potatoes are a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed by everyone, including people with diabetes. However, because of their high carb content, you should limit portion sizes, always eat the skin, and choose low GI varieties, such as Carisma and Nicola.

Which fruit is not good for diabetes? ›

Raisins. While raisins are an easy snack on-the-go, they're not the best choice if you're watching your blood sugar. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with diabetes should limit their fruit portions to 15 grams of carbohydrates. One cup of raisins contains 115 grams!

Is peanut butter good for diabetics? ›

Peanut butter contains essential nutrients, and it can be part of a healthful diet when a person has diabetes. However, it is important to eat it in moderation, as it contains a lot of calories. People should also make sure their brand of peanut butter is not high in added sugar, salt, or fat.

What should diabetics eat on an empty stomach? ›

Almonds: Eating soaked almonds every day in the morning also keeps diabetes in check. Methi: Overnight soaked methi seeds are also considered an effective remedy. Tomato juice: Tomato juice with salt and pepper on an empty stomach every morning also helps in controlling diabetes.

How soon should a diabetic eat after waking up? ›

For most people with diabetes, mealtimes should space out through the day like this: Have breakfast within an hour and half of waking up. Eat a meal every 4 to 5 hours after that. Have a snack between meals if you get hungry.

What should diabetics not eat for breakfast? ›

Some breakfast options can be detrimental to blood sugar levels when you have diabetes.
  • Bagel and Cream Cheese. ...
  • Store-Bought Muffins. ...
  • Sausage and Eggs. ...
  • Sugary Cereals. ...
  • Sweetened Yogurts. ...
  • Sugary Pastry. ...
  • Freshly Juiced Fruit. ...
  • Stack of Pancakes.
17 Nov 2020

Is empty stomach good for diabetes? ›

Eating at regular intervals can help keep blood sugar in check. In fact, skipping meals can have harmful effects for people with type 2 diabetes.

What is a good energy booster for diabetics? ›

Eat fat, fiber, and protein at each meal

This is where balancing our meals and snacks with fat, fiber, and protein comes into to play. “Don't totally ditch carbs with meals and snacks. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of fuel. It is ok to add fruit, beans or rice to a salad.

What food gives diabetics energy? ›

What superstar foods are good for diabetes?
  • Beans. Kidney, pinto, navy or black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. ...
  • Dark green leafy vegetables. ...
  • Citrus fruit. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Tomatoes. ...
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  • Nuts. ...
  • Whole grains.

What happens if a diabetic doesn't eat? ›

If you don't eat, your blood sugar levels are lower and medication may drop them even more, which can lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can cause you to feel shaky, pass out, or even go into a coma. When you “break” your fast by eating, you may also be more likely to develop too-high blood sugar levels.

Does skipping breakfast spike blood sugar? ›

Skipping breakfast increased blood sugar levels after both lunch and dinner, she found. In the study, she evaluated 22 patients with type 2 diabetes who had been diagnosed about 8 years earlier.

What time of day is blood sugar highest? ›

The dawn phenomenon, also called the dawn effect, is the term used to describe an abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar (glucose) — usually between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. — in people with diabetes.

How many slices of bread can a diabetic eat per day? ›

It is preferable not to eat white flour bread, but if you must, limit yourself to two medium slices. A slice of bread has about 32 calories in it. The total calories consumed from bread should not be more than 90 for a diabetic patient. Furthermore, diabetics should avoid eating white bread every day.

Are grapes good for diabetics? ›

Grapes are adored, nourishing fruits and are safe for diabetics. People can eat them and add them to their diabetic diets as they do not harm or spike glucose levels. Consuming grapes help to reduce the susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes.

What kind of cereal can a diabetic eat? ›

“My favorite breakfast cereal recommendation for people with diabetes is a high-fiber, low-sugar option such as bran flakes,” says Palinski-Wade. With 5 grams of fiber per serving, this type of cereal contains 19 grams of net carbs per ¾ cup serving, making it lower in carbohydrates than many breakfast cereals.

What brings sugar down? ›

As your blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which prompts your cells to absorb sugar from the blood. This causes your blood sugar levels to drop.

Does skipping meals cause diabetes? ›

Researchers say skipping breakfast, even occasionally, can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. Experts say this is because of the relationship between diabetes, insulin, and blood sugar levels.

How can I stabilize my blood sugar overnight? ›

If you have waning insulin, an after-dinner walk or other workout can help keep your blood sugar down overnight. But use caution when exercising before bedtime. The blood sugar-lowering effects of exercise can last for hours, so if you work out before bed, you risk going low overnight.


1. 5 Diet Tips for Diabetes
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4. Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines | Sarah Hallberg | TEDxPurdueU
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5. 16 Diabetes Foods To Eat Often To Help Reverse Diabetes!
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