List Of Vegetables And Fruits For Diabetics is a list of vegetables and fruits that are safe for a person with diabetes to eat. This will help you to select the right food for a diabetic diet, Diabetic Diet Plan is a general name given to various diet plans. These are generally classified as high-carbohydrate diet and low-carbohydrate diet. If you are suffering from diabetes then the best thing is to control it by following a particular diet plan. So here is a list of vegetables and fruits for diabetics.
What superstar foods are good for diabetes?
“Superfood” is a term used by many food and beverage companies as a way to promote a food thought to have health benefits; however, there is no official definition of the word by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates the health claims allowed on food labels to ensure there is scientific research to support the claims. The list of foods below are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that are good for overall health and may also help prevent disease.
Kidney, pinto, navy or black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. They are very high in fiber too.
Beans do contain carbohydrates, but ½ cup also provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To save time you can use canned beans, but be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much added salt as possible.
Dark green leafy vegetables
Spinach, collards and kale are dark green leafy vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, E and K, iron, calcium and potassium. These powerhouse foods are low in calories and carbohydrates too. Try adding dark leafy vegetables to salads, soups and stews.
Grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes or pick your favorites to get part of your daily dose of fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Which are your favorites: blueberries, strawberries or another variety? Regardless, they are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Berries can be a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth and they provide an added benefit of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium and fiber.
The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fats may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Fish high in these healthy fats are sometimes referred to as “fatty fish.” Salmon is well known in this group. Other fish high in omega-3 are herring, sardines, mackerel, trout and albacore tuna. Choose fish that is broiled, baked or grilled to avoid the carbohydrate and extra calories that would be in fish that is breaded and fried. The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes recommends eating fish (mainly fatty fish) twice per week for people with diabetes.
An ounce of nuts can go a long way in getting key healthy fats along with helping to manage hunger. In addition, they offer magnesium and fiber. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s the whole grain you’re after. The first ingredient on the label should have the word “whole” in it. Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium, B vitamins, chromium, iron and folate. They are a great source of fiber too. Some examples of whole grains are whole oats, quinoa, whole grain barley and farro.
Milk and yogurt
You may have heard that milk and yogurt can help build strong bones and teeth. In addition to calcium, many milk and yogurt products are fortified to make them a good source of vitamin D. More research is emerging on the connection between vitamin D and good health. Milk and yogurt do contain carbohydrate that will be a factor in meal planning when you have diabetes. Look for yogurt products that are lower in fat and added sugar.
The 10 Best Foods to Control Diabetes and Lower Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you know how difficult it can be to manage your diet and control your blood sugar levels. Certain foods cause massive spikes while others actually lower blood sugar, but many people go through years of trial and error before they find out what works for them. Luckily, thanks to years of scientific findings, we’ve been able to determine what foods are better than others. In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 best foods to control diabetes and lower blood sugar.
To get the most out of your food, consider diabetic meal planning. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will reduce the likelihood of snacking or unhealthy eating and will help you save time and energy throughout the week.
- Non-Starchy VegetablesNon-starchy vegetables are one of the most healthy foods you can eat as a diabetic. Not only will they fill you up, but they’re full of essential vitamins and minerals that help regulate your blood sugar. Since they’re a whole food with trace amounts of sugar and high levels of fiber, you can eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you want without having to worry about high blood sugar spikes. To get the most out of your non-starchy vegetables, choose fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables that have no added salt or sauce. Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include the following:
- Green Beans
- Hearts of Palm
- And more!
- Leafy GreensMany of the best leafy greens are considered non-starchy vegetables, but they deserve their own section. Leafy greens are packed full of nutrients and are lower in digestible carbs than other vegetables. This means that your blood sugar won’t raise very much regardless of how many you eat. Some of the best leafy greens to incorporate into your daily diet are spinach and kale, as they have very high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to manage diabetes in people with type 2 diabetes and can help promote an overall sense of wellbeing. Leafy greens also contain specific antioxidants that help to protect your eyes from diabetic complications.
- Fatty FishRegardless of if you have diabetes or not, fatty fish should be part of your diet. It’s one of the healthiest foods that you can eat and has a myriad of benefits. Fatty fish like salmon and anchovies give you a significant serving of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which can help protect your heart against potential complications from diabetes. DHA and EPA both protect your blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and improve the function of your arteries after consumption. Since your risk of heart disease and stroke are almost doubled if you have diabetes, incorporating fatty fish into a balanced diet can reduce your chances of serious complications. Plus, fatty fish is an excellent source of protein that will help you feel full and manage your weight with ease.
- Nuts and EggsOther fatty foods that help control diabetes and help blood sugar management are nuts and eggs. Nuts have high levels of fiber and most are low in digestible carbs, so they won’t raise your blood sugar. It is important to differentiate certain types of nuts, however, as some of them have very high levels of digestible carbs. The best types of nuts for diabetics include almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. If you’re watching your weight, make sure to eat nuts in moderation. Even though they’re high in healthy fats, it’s still fat and shouldn’t be over-done.Eggs are also a great source of healthy fats that are beneficial in controlling diabetes. They can actually improve your insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation while simultaneously providing antioxidant benefits that help reduce the amount of free radicals in your body and protect against disease. If you incorporate eggs in your diet, make sure that you include the yolk as that’s where most of the nutrients are located.
- SeedsCertain types of seeds are known to control diabetes. The two best seeds to eat as a diabetic are chia seeds and flax seeds. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, low in digestible carbs, and have been found to actually lower your blood sugar levels. As a diabetic, this is extremely conducive to healthy management.Flaxseeds are also beneficial as they can help improve blood sugar control, decrease your risk of heart disease, and lower the chance of having a stroke. Since flaxseeds can be difficult to absorb, opt for ground seeds or make sure to take the time and grind them up at home before eating them. Ingesting whole flax seeds won’t give you any benefits.
- Natural FatsExtra-virgin olive oil has always been known to have many health benefits. It is one of the most effective oils at reducing the risk of heart disease and contains a number of antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation, protect your cells, and decrease blood pressure. Choose pure extra-virgin olive oil to get all of the health benefits and sprinkle it on salads, use it in a marinade, or cook meats and vegetables with it.Other natural fats that are helpful at controlling diabetes include coconut oil, avocado oil, any type of nut oil, lard, tallow, chicken fat, duck fat, coconut milk, and unsweetened coconut cream.
- Apple Cider VinegarApple cider vinegar is popular amongst health food fanatics for a good reason. The fermented acetic acid helps to improve insulin sensitivity, lower fasting blood sugar levels, and reduce blood sugar response by as much as 20% when paired with meals that are rich in carbs. Due to the high acidity of apple cider vinegar, it’s best taken by the tablespoon mixed with water to avoid damaging your teeth and esophagus. Start slowly, with about one teaspoon, and work your way up based on how you feel.
- Cinnamon and TurmericSpices are powerful tools, especially when it comes to controlling diabetes. Both cinnamon and turmeric should be incorporated into your diet daily to get the best results and doing so is easy with a few simple steps.Cinnamon can be added to almost any food or drink to increase the flavor and add a little kick. Cinnamon has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce hemoglobin A1c levels.Turmeric also lowers inflammation and blood sugar levels, reduces your risk of developing heart disease, and benefits kidney health. Just make sure that you mix your turmeric with black pepper to activate the beneficial ingredient curcumin.
- Probiotic Packed Dairy FoodsIf you add any diary to your diet, make sure that it’s packed with healthy probiotics for the biggest benefits to your health. Greek yogurt is a great option since it’s low in sugar and high in probiotics. In studies done, Greek yogurt was found to improve blood sugar control and even reduce heart disease risks. Aim for unflavored Greek yogurt as the flavored versions are much higher in sugar and more processed, therefore may contribute to an increase in blood sugar.
If you’re looking for something sweet, try snacking on a cup of strawberries. Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants and have been shown to reduce both cholesterol and insulin levels after a meal. If you’re not a fan of strawberries and want to incorporate daily fresh fruit into your diet, opt for raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, which tend to have lower sugar content than other fruits like apples and bananas.
5Low-Carb Veggies for a Diabetes-Friendly Diet
Veggies offer antioxidants that help keep health complications at bay, and nonstarchy sources, like these can help stabilize blood sugar levels
Broccoli, spinach, and cabbage are three diabetes-friendly veggies because they are low in starch.
Filling up with vegetables is a great way to keep your blood sugar levels in check. What’s more, a diet high in veggies is associated with weight loss and a reduced risk of gaining weight or becoming obese, which a study published in April 2020 in Diabetologia noted is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to Harvard University, 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Prioritizing blood sugar and weight management is important for people with diabetes at all times. But considering that diabetes is a risk factor for complications from COVID-19, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out, there’s arguably no better time to start putting your health first. Adopting or improving your whole foods–based, low-carb diet is one way to do just that, notes the American Diabetes Association. And veggies should certainly be part of the menu, registered dietitians agree.
Starchy vs. Nonstarchy Veggies: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to eating veggies to improve diabetes management, not all types are created equal.
Starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, and yams are high in carbohydrates, which can have a direct effect on your blood sugar.
That doesn’t mean this type of veggie is unhealthy or off-limits. Indeed, eating starchy vegetables in moderate portions can be better than consuming other carb-laden fare. “If you compare many starchy vegetables — such as butternut and acorn squash, peas, and sweet potatoes — to refined carbohydrates like [white] rice, pasta, and breads, you’ll find that the starchy vegetables often contain more fiber, potassium, and other essential vitamins than their grain counterparts,” says Nicole Rubenstein, RD, with Kaiser Permanente in Denver, Colorado.
Still, eating low-carb vegetables such as those listed below is a smart way to fill up without spiking your blood sugar levels while still getting the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to thrive.
How Many Carbs Can People With Diabetes Eat?
The CDC recommends that on average, people with diabetes receive about 45 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, with the rest coming from lean protein from foods such as fish, chicken, and tofu; and heart-healthy fats from plant sources like beans and fish. “I often advise my patients with diabetes to follow the plate method [from the CDC]: ¼ plate lean protein, ¼ plate starchy vegetables or whole grains, and ½ plate nonstarchy vegetables,” says Rubenstein. Make sure you’re working with a 9-inch dinner plate, not a platter.
That half a plate won’t just contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, but also lots of fiber to help with blood sugar control, Rubenstein explains. “Soluble fiber, in particular, can help to lower post-meal blood sugar levels. Some vegetables, along with legumes (beans) and other plant foods, are loaded with soluble fiber.” Brussels sprouts and asparagus are among the low-carb vegetables that fall in this category. “In addition, including more fiber in your diet helps to increase fullness. Start your meal by eating a large portion of vegetables. This may help you keep your portions of other high-calorie and high-carbohydrate foods smaller, benefitting your blood sugar and your waistline,” Rubsenstein says.
Don’t Avoid Veggies Due to Gastrointestinal Issues — Talk to Your Doctor
If you find that eating vegetables is hard on your stomach, don’t give up, says Rubenstein. “Some people struggle with digesting raw vegetables, like salads. Others report excessive gas with cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Some medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and colitis, can make it hard to digest vegetables as well.” If you fall into any of these categories, work with your healthcare team to figure out which vegetables you are able to tolerate. Get creative and find new ways to prepare these vegetables so you feel like you have variety with the few vegetables you are able to tolerate.
“If you’re unsure which ones cause you digestive difficulties, work with a registered dietitian to help you meal-plan and better understand your food intolerances,” she adds.
Also, don’t discount the importance of increasing intake of fiber (of which veggies have lots) gradually — and drinking plenty of water along the way. The Mayo Clinic points out that not taking these steps can similarly lead to digestive problems.
Cunningham elaborates on the importance of getting creative. “Experiment with preparing your vegetables in all different ways. Do you prefer raw vegetables in a salad? Do you like them stir-fried? Do you want them with a yogurt dip or a little cheese sauce? If you’re not used to eating vegetables on a regular basis, it can take some time to expand your palate, but the benefits to your health are well worth it.”
How Nutrients in Vegetables Can Affect Diabetes and Its Complications
A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients is a great defense against the complications that can arise from having type 2 diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, says Jordana Turkel, RD, CDCES, from Park Avenue Endocrinology and Nutrition in New York City. When it comes to vegetables, Turkel describes the approach as “eating colorfully.”
“My rule of thumb to patients is to make sure when you are making a salad that you have three different-colored vegetables,” Turkel says. “At minimum that will ensure that you are getting at least a different variety of vitamins and minerals.”
She also notes that foods high in antioxidants may prevent or delay the progression of diabetes complications such as cardiovascular disease and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), which the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health supports. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene and lycopene, are thought to help guard against the oxidative stress caused by unstable molecules that damage cells and body tissue such as blood vessels, research has shown. Prolonged periods of high blood sugar can promote oxidative stress, according to a review published in Histochemistry and Cell Biology.
Antioxidants can help prevent or delay the damage if they are consumed in food as part of a balanced diet, as opposed to in supplements, research shows. For example, a past study looked at overall antioxidant intake among 32,000 women over age 49 and found that those whose diets contained the most antioxidants had the lowest risk of heart attack 7 to 10 years later.
Meanwhile, foods that are rich in vitamin B12 can be especially beneficial for people who are taking the diabetes medication metformin, says Rubenstein. “People who have diabetes that have been on metformin for a long time are at higher risk for a B12 deficiency,” she notes.
Tips for Finding Veggies in the Time of COVID-19
While it’s always great to find fresh vegetables at a farmers market, community garden, or roadside stand, you might not have that option available to you during the current COVID-19 pandemic due to stay-at-home measures. That’s fine, says Julie Cunningham, RDN, who is based in Hendersonville, North Carolina. “Frozen vegetables are very often just as or even more nutritious than fresh vegetables, because they are processed very quickly after they are picked, preserving their nutrients. Choose plain frozen vegetables without butter or sauces. If you choose canned vegetables, look for low-sodium varieties.”
With all that said, load your plate with the following diabetes-friendly, low-carb veggies:
Spinach Is a Nutritious Salad Base or Omelet Ingredient
Popeye had the right idea when he bulked up on green, leafy spinach.
One cup of raw spinach has only 1 gram (g) of carbohydrates, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The vegetable is a wise addition to a diabetes-friendly diet because it’s loaded with antioxidants such as vitamin A (94 percent of the daily value, or DV).
Either use fresh leaves, such as in your salad, or opt for canned or frozen versions with no added salt if you are on a salt-restrictive diet, says Rubenstein. She suggests folding spinach into your egg omelet at breakfast. Not only will the omelet contain the aforementioned nutrients, but the eggs provide 6 percent of the DV for vitamin B12, per the USDA.
Tomatoes, Eaten Raw and Sliced, Are a Colorful Snack
Tomatoes, another superfood for diabetes, contain 5 g of carbs per medium whole tomato, according to the USDA. They are high in the antioxidants vitamin C — 16.9 milligrams (mg), or 19 percent of the DV — and lycopene, which gives red tomatoes their color.
Sliced or diced raw, tomatoes are a great way to brighten up your colorful salad. Roasting vegetables in the oven is another healthy way to prepare them, says Turkel.
Broccoli Makes for the Perfect Sautéed Veggie Side Dish
If you’re not already eating broccoli, make a point of adding it to your diabetes-friendly diet.
According to the USDA, it’s low in carbohydrates at less than 5 g per cup of florets, and loaded with vitamin C (63.3 mg, or 70 percent of the DV), fiber (1.85 g, or 6.6 percent of the DV), and iron (0.52 mg, or 2.9 percent of the DV). Broccoli is another great candidate for roasting.
Turkel also suggests sautéeing veggies in heart-healthy olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil, which provide heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils.
Cabbage Is a Healthy Ingredient to Add to Your Stir-Fry Recipes
A cup of chopped, green, raw cabbage has 5 g of carbs, according to the USDA. Eating this vegetable is an inexpensive way to add vitamin C (32.6 mg, or 37 percent of the DV) and vitamin K (67.6 micrograms, or about 56 percent of the DV) to your diabetes-friendly diet.
Sautée cabbage into your next healthy stir-fry.
Brussels Sprouts Are Delicious When Roasted in the Oven
Brussels sprouts have grown more popular in recent years — and they definitely deserve a place in your diabetes meal plan.
Cooked fresh, 1 cup of sprouts has 10 g of carbs, according to the USDA. Furthermore, the same serving of these mini cabbages is full of vitamin C (95.5 mg, or 105 percent of the DV), potassium (488 mg, or 10 percent of the DV), and fiber (4.03 g, or 16 percent of the DV).
Fresh Brussels sprouts are another great candidate for roasting.