Diabetes is a severe health condition where the body cannot regulate blood glucose levels. In people who have type-2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use the hormone insulin well to regulate blood glucose. In people who have type-1 diabetes, the body no longer produces insulin to regulate the blood glucose level. To reduce damage caused by unregulated blood glucose to the body, people with diabetes will have to exercise strict diet control to keep their glucose levels in check. Hence a diabetic diet food list becomes indispensable to avoid long-term complications and lead a healthy life.
Certain foods can cause a steep spike in blood glucose after consumption, and some release glucose slowly during digestion. Knowing the difference is highly useful for people with diabetes to control their blood glucose levels. Foods containing a high Glycemic index should be avoided, while consumption of healthy fats, proteins and greens should be increased. Here, we present a list of food for diabetic patients that are healthy and nutritious in the long run.
List of Foods for Diabetics
Here is a list of foods for diabetics that spans all the five major food groups; carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and vegetables, dairy, and fats and sugars.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy vegetables are highly nutritious and low on calories. They are excellent sources of vitamin C, A, Calcium, Iron and other essential minerals. Regular intake of green leafy vegetables makes you feel full for a long time and staves off hunger. They are excellent sources of dietary fibre, which avoid constipation and reduce inflammation in the bowel.
2. Fatty Fish
Salmons, herrings, sardines and mackerel constitute fatty fish. These fish are excellent sources of lean protein and critical nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. The fish are the best sources of these important fatty acids that help people with diabetes maintain good heart health. People who regularly consume fatty fish have a lesser risk of heart diseases. Studies also show that heavy fish consumption is good at regulating blood sugar levels.
Eggs are a package of proteins, fats, amino acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs are also a great energy source and have a lot glycemic index. Recent studies show that consumption of high fat and low carbohydrate diets s beneficial for people with diabetes. Including eggs as part of a nutritious diet is also helpful for improving the risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Avocados are an excellent source of good fats, essential vitamins and minerals. Eating these fruits as a snack is nutritious and filling during the day. Avocados are also low in calories and may help in reducing insulin resistance. In general, consumption of avocados as part of a healthy diet relates to lower body weight and improved diet quality.
Beans are legumes rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. They are particularly rich in B-vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. They are excellent alternatives to meat-based proteins for vegetarians and vegans. Consumption of legumes is associated with lowered cardiovascular disease and less chance of developing type-2 diabetes. Beans can be included as part of the diet every day as there are several different varieties of beans to choose from.
Nuts are highly delicious, making them a great snack and earning them a spot on the low gi food list for diabetes. Since most nuts are low in carbohydrates, the energy released from the digestion of their fat content is slow. They are excellent for mid-day or evening snacks if you feel hungry during the day. Nuts are also high in essential fats and minerals that contribute to good heart and brain health.
Broccoli is a rich source of protein, fibres and important nutrients such as vitamin C and A. Including broccoli in the meals will make you feel full for a longer period during the day as it takes time to digest. Broccoli has low calories, making it a low glycemic index food item. Additionally, broccoli is delicious!
8. Chia Seeds
When used cleverly with the rest of the food groups, Chia seeds are a wonderful addition to the diet of people with diabetes. They are high in fibre and low in carbohydrates, and the dense fibre content stays in the gut for a longer time and slows down the rate at which carbohydrates start absorbed. Chia seeds will also reduce your hunger and help with glycemic management after carb-rich meals.
Flaxseeds have omega-3 fatty acids and other essential fats not found in most fat sources. Since a significant portion of their mass is insoluble fibre, they add plenty of roughages to the meal. Daily intake of flaxseeds is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced blood glucose. The overall benefit would be to manage diabetes and improve gut health.
Not only are strawberries flavourful, but they help manage diabetes. These berries are rich in antioxidants that combat free-radical damage in the body. Regular consumption of strawberries is associated with improved insulin sensitivity which is beneficial for people who have type-2 diabetes. They also contain vitamin C.
Yoghurt is an important dairy food item that is a rich source of calcium, fats, protein, amino acids and other essential nutrients, including Probiotics and bacteria. Regular consumption of yoghurt is associated with a significant decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Greek yoghurt is also low in carbohydrates and rich in fats that keep you full for a longer period.
Garlic is some highly nutritious spice rich in vitamin B6, manganese and selenium. Regular consumption of garlic reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body. Garlic cloves can be consumed whole or with food to bypass its strong flavour.
Type 2 Diabetes Food List
Here’s the type 2 diabetes food list that covers all major food groups:
- Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, green peas, etc.
- Beans and Legumes: Black beans, lentils, white beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans.
- Fruits: Avocados, apples, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, peaches, pears, plums, and strawberries.
- Whole grains: whole pasta, whole grain bread, quinoa, wild rice, whole grain wheat flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, millet, amaranth, and barley.
- Dairy: low-fat or skimmed milk, Greek or plain yoghurt, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese.
- Meat: Salmon, tuna, sardines, boneless chicken, white fish fillets, eggs, skinless turkey breast.
Type 1 Diabetes Food List
Here’s a type 1 diabetic diet food list:
- Vegetables: leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce and cabbage, eggplants, broccoli and cauliflower.
- Fruits: Kiwi, grapefruit, plums, cherries, pears, apples and berries.
- Seeds and nuts: chia, pumpkin and sunflower. Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts.
- Whole grains: brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, millets and quinoa.
- Meat: Lean meat from poultry, fatty fish, and eggs.
- Beans and Legumes: kidney beans, black beans, pintos, garbanzo beans and lentils.
Diabetes Diet Chart – Nutrition Value
A sample diabetes patient diet chart in English is given below. The diet chart is created according to one plate serving of each food group. You can fill one place for a meal with these approximate values:
- ¼ plate of starchy foods/ carbohydrates
- ¼ plate protein
- ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables
- One teaspoon of fat serving
The table below gives the nutritional values of a sample meal:
|Nutrient||½ Plate Serving||¼ Plate Serving (Carbohydrates)||¼ Plate (Protein)||1 Serving (Fat)|
|Non-Starchy Vegetables||Starches And Grains||Fruit||Meat||Fats|
|Broccoli 100g||Beans 1 cup- 254g||Strawberries 5 large – 90g||Salmon 1/2 fillet- 113g||Avocado ½ serving – 100.5g|
|Vitamin A||31% DV||5.5% DV||0.2% DV||5% DV||3% DV|
|Vitamin C||110% DV||0%||88% DV||7% DV||17% DV|
|Calcium||3.1% DV||6.6% DV||1.1% DV||1.3% DV||0.9% DV|
|Iron||3.7% DV||17% DV||2.1% DV||2.1% DV||3% D|
Diabetes Diet Chart – Calories
|Beans 1 Cup- 254g||23|
|Strawberries 5 large – 90g||29|
|Salmon 1/2 fillet- 113g||468|
|Avocado ½ serving – 100.5g||161|
What foods to avoid with diabetes?
A List of food diabetic patients should avoid are:
- Refined grains
- Sugary beverages
- Fried foods
- Breakfast cereal
- Candy/milk chocolates
- Processed meats
- Fruit juices
Which is the best food for diabetes control?
The low glycemic index diets in the management of diabetes should include:
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Seeds and Nuts
- Lean proteins
- Natural Fats
- Leafy greens
- Cinnamon and turmeric
What foods can diabetics eat freely?
Foods with low glycemic index are healthy for consumption by people with diabetes.
What foods reduce diabetes fast?
Foods that reduce diabetes fast are:
- Fatty fish
- Leafy Vegetables