10 Great Diabetes Superfoods

September 19 2017

Vegetables are good for you, yet not all greens are created equal.  Nutrients in an iceberg lettuce may not be as plentiful as those in spinach. The glycemic index (GI) of a food also varies and can help you make healthy choices. GI measures how quickly a food can raise your blood sugar. Foods with low GI have a score of 55 or less, while high GI foods have a score of 70 and above. If you have or avoiding diabetes, lower GI foods are a better choice to keep your blood sugar in check.

Below are 10 superfoods that are especially good for people with diabetes.


1. Non-Starchy Vegetables

Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, and beets have fewer calories and carbs per serving. These veggies also satisfy your hunger and boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.


2. Non-Fat or Low-Fat Plain Milk and Yogurt

Non-fat dairy foods like milk and yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D. These dairy products are smart choices for diabetics because they have low GI scores: Skim milk has a GI score of 32 while reduced fat yogurt has a GI score of 33.


3. Tomatoes

Like other non-starchy fruits, tomatoes have a low GI ranking.  Researchers have also concluded that tomato consumption might help reduce cardiovascular risk that’s associated with type 2 diabetes.


4. Blueberries and Other Berries

Berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.  Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all excellent choices for those with diabetes.



5. Oranges and Other Citrus

Make sure you opt for whole citrus fruits rather than drinking the juice. Studies have shown that eating citrus fruits can lower the risk of diabetes, but drinking the fruit juice can increase the risk. The average orange has a GI score of 40 while unsweetened orange juice has a GI score of 50.  With a score of 25,  grapefruit has one of the lowest GI scores of all fruits.


6. Wild Salmon and Other with Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fish

Wild salmon and other nutrient-dense fish include herring, sardines, and mackerel. Since fish and other protein foods don’t contain carbs, they will not increase blood sugar levels.



7. Walnuts, Flaxseeds, and Other Nuts/Seeds

Substituting nuts and other healthy fats for carbs can help lower blood sugar. Nuts generally have very low GI scores. Cashews, for example, have a score of 27, and peanuts have a score of only 7.


8. Beans

Beans are high in fiber and protein, making them a great option for vegetarians and vegans. They also deliver essential minerals like magnesium and potassium. And they’re low on the GI: black beans, for example, have a GI score of only 30 and chickpeas have a score of 10.



9. Kale and Other Leafy Green Vegetables

Kale provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and vitamin K. It’s also full of potassium and has been shown to help manage blood pressure. This is another reason it’s considered a superfood for those with diabetes.


10. Barley, Lentils, and Other Whole Grains

Whole grains are full of antioxidants and soluble and insoluble fiber. People who eat hulled barley regularly have lower blood cholesterol. The grain also keeps blood sugar levels stable. Lentils are another good option since they provide B vitamins, iron, complex carbohydrates, and protein.

While 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat bread is considered a low GI food, other types of whole wheat bread may have medium GI rankings, with scores between 56 and 69. Eating whole grains can help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.