If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it usually means that a major diet shift is necessary. And while you’ll need to stop eating certain foods and eat others only in in serious moderation, you’re not facing a future free of anything delicious.
Managing diabetes involves two major priorities: maintaining or losing weight and balancing your blood sugar. The best foods for diabetics are the ones that not only contain as little fat and sugar as possible, but are also full of high-quality carbs, such as brown rice or quinoa, which cause blood sugar level to rise slowly and evenly and therefore rank low on the glycemic index, a measurement of how fast a carbohydrate raises your blood sugar. High glycemic-index foods, like candy, can cause a major spike in blood sugar. And even if a food isn’t sweet, it can still cause your blood sugar to skyrocket; simple carbohydrates like white bread function just like sugar by your body.
Foods that are high in cholesterol, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, and calories are unhealthy in general, but are even more dangerous for diabetics because their health is already compromised, and their body is working overtime to keep them healthy. Staying healthy with diabetes isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating more of the right foods: the ones with plenty of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and soluble fiber. These foods not only keep your blood sugar stable, but also keep your hunger in check.
Each case of diabetes is unique, so diabetics should work with their doctor or nutritionist to create a meal plan that works for them. It’s also important to exercise regularly, because exercise naturally reduces blood sugar by letting your cells soak up the glucose, where it’s burned as energy. Read on for the 12 best foods for diabetics.
Diets rich in whole grains and fiber slow down glucose absorption in the stomach, which can keep blood sugar levels in check. Opt for whole-wheat flour when possible, and always choose brown rice instead of white. Oatmeal is also a great, fiber-rich option, as is quinoa, which has higher protein content than rice.
Corn is full of nutrients including Iron, vitamins A and B6, folate, and magnesium, and while it’s high in starch, it’s considered a whole grain and is good to eat in limited quantities, like one ear or ½ cup of kernels. Opt for blue corn in particular; it has a lower glycemic index, less starch, and more protein than yellow corn.