Diet plays a crucial role in regulating and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, particularly for people with diabetes or other conditions that impact blood sugar.
While certain foods — especially those loaded with sugar and processed carbs — contribute to abnormal spikes in blood sugar, you still have a range of blood sugar control foods in the market. These keep sugar levels in check and promote overall health.
With that said, here’s a list of foods to lower blood sugar. Remember that the idea is to eat in moderation and follow a healthier and more active lifestyle as it can help to regulate your blood sugar and prevent fluctuations.
Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate (chemical compound) with blood sugar-reducing properties. It is produced in broccoli when the vegetable is chewed or chopped.
Broccoli sprouts are replete with glucosinolates (sulphur-containing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables) like glucoraphanin. When taken as an extract or consumed in its powder form, glucoraphanin has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Consume broccoli sprouts lightly steamed (or raw, if you can) to promote sulforaphane availability in the body. You can also a little mustard seeds’ powder to cooked broccoli.
Packed with antioxidants and fibre, pumpkin is an excellent choice for blood sugar control. This brightly-coloured vegetable is used extensively across Mexico and Iran as a remedy for diabetes.
Pumpkin is loaded with polysaccharides (a type of carb) that have been studied thoroughly for their blood sugar-reducing properties. A study conducted in 2018 reported a 35% reduction in post-meal blood sugar spikes in participants who consumed 65 grams of pumpkin seeds daily.
Seafood like fish and shellfish are an ideal mix of proteins, healthy fats (Omega 3 fatty acids), minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that help in blood sugar control and preventing abnormal spikes in blood sugar levels.
Protein consumption is vital when it comes to effective blood sugar control. That’s because consuming proteins slows down digestion and keeps off post-meal spikes in blood sugar while promoting satiety. Importantly, studies have corroborated that proteins are essential to prevent overeating and aiding fat loss – two factors that play a critical role in regulating blood sugar levels.
An adequate intake of salmon, sardines, and other fatty fish has been proven to promote blood sugar control. For instance, this study revealed significantly better blood sugar levels after a meal among overweight and obese participants who consumed 750 grams of fatty fish every week compared to participants who only consumed lean fish.
Okra, a fruit widely consumed like a vegetable, is replete with flavonoid antioxidants and polysaccharides that help to regulate blood sugar levels. Thanks to their blood sugar controlling properties, okra seeds have long been used in Turkey as a natural remedy for diabetes. The primary polysaccharides found in okra – rhamnogalacturonans — are potent anti-diabetic compounds.
Studies have shown that consuming nuts may help to check blood sugar levels effectively. A study conducted among participants with type 2 diabetes revealed that eating both almonds and peanuts, as part of a low-carb diet, regulated both post-meal and fasting blood sugar levels.
Eating chia seeds can promote blood sugar control. Various studies have linked the consumption of chia seeds to enhanced insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels. Also, research conducted among healthy adults revealed almost a 40% reduction in blood sugar levels in participants who consumed 25 grams of chia seeds (preferably ground) with a sugary drink than those who only consumed the sugar solution.
Flax seeds are packed with healthy fats and fibre that may help t0o bring down blood sugar levels and bestow a range of other health benefits.
A study conducted among participants with type 2 diabetes showed that those who consumed yogurt mixed with 30 grams of flax seeds regularly experienced controlled blood sugar levels. What’s more? Consuming whole flax seeds can significantly aid blood sugar control.
Lentils and beans are loaded with fibre, magnesium, and protein – nutrients that are known for their blood sugar controlling properties. They are particularly rich in resistant starch and soluble fibre that can slow down the digestion process and preventing blood sugar spikes after meals.
For instance, this study demonstrated that including chickpeas and/or black beans in a meal contributed significantly to blood sugar control. Other studies have shown that adding black beans and chickpeas to an otherwise large rice meal may also prevent the onset of diabetes.
Rightly labeled a ‘superfood’ and with good reason, Kale is packed with flavonoid antioxidants and fibre that can keep blood sugar levels in check. Studies have revealed that flavonoid antioxidants, including kaempferol and quercetin, are packed with properties that aid blood sugar control and promote insulin sensitivity.
Berries are undoubtedly one of the best foods to lower blood sugar. Multiple studies have reported a direct correlation between the consumption of berries and improved blood sugar levels. These delicious fruits are replete with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, making them an excellent choice for those with blood sugar control issues.
A study conducted in 2019 revealed that people with pre-diabetes who consumed two cups of red raspberries after a high-carb meal experienced reduced spikes in blood sugar levels. Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries are also excellent foods to lower blood sugar.
Oats and oat bran are rich in soluble fibre. Including them in your daily diet can help to lower blood sugar levels. A controlled study had shown participants, who drank a glass of water mixed with oat bran before a meal, experienced reduced spikes in post-meal blood sugar levels compared to those who only consumed plain water.
Apples are packed with soluble fibre and plant compounds like chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and gallic acid that may help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. While fruit consumption, in general, has been proven to reduce risks of diabetes, specific fruits like apples are particularly beneficial.
An extensive study showed that a large intake of grapes, blueberries, and apples led to a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Citrus fruits have a low glycaemic index and don’t result in blood sugar spikes as much as other fruits like pineapple, mango, and watermelon. Citrus fruits such as grapes and oranges are loaded with fibre and polyphenols like naringenin (a type of plant compound) that protect against the onset of diabetes.
Also, studies state that consuming citrus fruits, preferably whole, better insulin sensitivity and prevent uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar levels.
One of the best foods to lower blood sugar, eggs are exceptionally nutritious and offer a balanced mix of healthy fats and proteins. Certain studies have linked regular consumption of eggs to improved blood sugar control.
A study conducted among obese adults with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes showed that those who consumed one egg every day experienced significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and better insulin sensitivity.
Outside of the above-stated list of foods to lower blood sugar, you have yogurt that’s undoubtedly an excellent choice for blood sugar regulation. Numerous studies have linked the intake of yogurt and kefir – a yogurt drink rich in probiotics – to enhanced blood sugar control.
The mantra is to follow a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle. Whether you have diabetes or wish to reduce the risk of such lifestyle conditions, including these foods to lower blood sugar can help and also follow other healthy lifestyle tips for diabetic patients.
However, factors such as body weight, regular activity, stress levels, and genetics are also responsible for blood sugar control and critical for preventing chronic lifestyle diseases.