How To Reduce Blood Sugar By Food – Clinically reviewed by Grant Tinsley, Ph.D., CSCS, *D, CISSN, Nutrition – By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD on August 10, 2020
People with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar need to eat healthily to help maintain blood sugar levels. Many foods can help lower blood sugar, but some may be more effective than others.
Although factors such as body weight, activity, stress, and genetics also play a role in maintaining blood sugar, following a healthy diet is essential for blood sugar control.
While some foods, including added sugars and refined carbohydrates, can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, others can improve blood sugar control while promoting overall health.
This plant chemical is released when broccoli is cut or chewed as a result of a reaction between a glucosinolate compound called glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase, both of which are concentrated in broccoli (5) .
Test tubes, animals and humans have shown that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has a strong anti-diabetic effect, helping to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and markers of oxidative stress.
Broccoli plants are concentrated sources of glucosinolates such as glucoraphanin, which have been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when added as a powder or extract.
Remember that the best way to increase your availability of sulforaphane is to enjoy broccoli with raw or lightly dried broccoli, or to add active sources of myrosinase such as mustard seed powder to cooked broccoli.
Seafood, including fish and shellfish, is an important source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help control blood sugar levels.
Protein is important for blood sugar control. It helps slow down digestion and prevents a rise in blood sugar after a meal, and also increases the feeling of fullness. It can also help prevent overeating and promote the loss of excess body fat, two effects that are important for blood sugar levels.
A high consumption of fatty fish such as salmon and sardines has been shown to help improve blood sugar control.
For example, a study in 68 overweight or obese adults who ate 26 ounces (750 grams) of oily fish a week significantly improved blood sugar levels after a meal, compared to the some who did not eat any fatty fish.
Brightly colored and full of fiber and antioxidants, pumpkin is an excellent choice for blood sugar control. In fact, pumpkin is used as a traditional medicine for diabetes in many countries such as Mexico and Iran.
Pumpkins are rich in carbohydrates called polysaccharides, which have been studied for their ability to control blood sugar. Treatment with pumpkin extracts and powder has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels in human and animal studies (
However, more research is needed to determine how whole pumpkins, such as when roasted or roasted, may benefit blood sugar.
Pumpkin seeds are full of healthy fats and proteins, making them a great choice for blood sugar control too.
A 2018 study in 40 people found that eating 2 ounces (65 grams) of pumpkin seeds reduced postprandial blood sugar by up to 35%, compared to a control group.
A study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes showed that eating nuts and almonds throughout the day as part of a low-carb diet reduced fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels.
Also, the review found that a diet emphasizing tree nuts at an average daily intake of 2 ounces (56 grams) significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a marker of long-term blood sugar control from its compared to a control diet, in people with type 2 diabetes (
Okra is a fruit that is widely used as a vegetable. It is an excellent source of blood sugar-lowering compounds such as polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants (
In Turkey, okra seeds have long been used as a natural remedy for diabetes due to its ability to lower blood sugar.
Rhamnogalacturonan, the main polysaccharide in okra, has been identified as a potent anti-diabetic compound. In addition, okra contains the flavonoids isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside, which help lower blood sugar by inhibiting certain enzymes.
Flaxseeds are high in fiber and healthy fats and are known for their health benefits. In particular, flaxseed can help lower blood sugar levels.
In an 8-week study of 57 people with type 2 diabetes, those who ate 7 ounces (200 grams) of 2.5% fat yogurt with 1 ounce (30 grams) of flaxseed per day saw a significant reduction in HbA1c, o’ to compare with those who used regular yoghurt (
In addition, a review of 25 controlled studies found that eating whole flaxseeds led to significant improvements in blood sugar control (
Beans and lentils are rich in nutrients, such as magnesium, fiber and protein, which can help lower blood sugar. They are high in soluble fiber and resistant carbohydrates, which help slow digestion and can improve blood sugar response after a meal.
For example, a study in 12 women showed that adding black beans or chickpeas to a rice meal significantly reduced postprandial blood sugar levels, compared to eating rice alone.
Many other studies have shown that eating beans and lentils can not only help control blood sugar but also help protect against the development of diabetes.
Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are full of health-promoting compounds, including probiotics, minerals, and antioxidants, and their consumption has been linked to improved blood sugar and insulin sensitivity (
A study in 21 people with diabetes found that eating fermented kimchi for 8 weeks improved glucose tolerance in 33% of participants, while only 9.5% of participants who ate fresh kimchi showed glucose tolerance.
Another study in 41 people with diabetes showed that following a traditional Korean diet full of fermented foods such as kimchi for 12 weeks resulted in lower HbA1c levels than a control diet.
Eating chia seeds can help control blood sugar. Studies have linked eating chia seeds to lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity.
A 2020 review of 17 animal studies concluded that chia seeds can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, as well as reduce the risk of disease, including the risk of diabetes.
Also, a study in 15 healthy adults showed that participants who received 1 ounce (25 grams) of crushed chia seeds along with 2 ounces (50 grams) of a sugar solution had a 39% reduction in blood sugar levels, compared to those who used solution sugar alone (
Kale is often described as a “super food” – and for good reason. It is full of compounds that can help lower blood sugar levels, including fiber and flavonoid antioxidants.
A study involving 42 Japanese adults showed that eating 7 or 14 grams of foods containing cinnamon with a high-carb diet significantly reduced blood sugar levels after a meal, compared to a placebo.
Research has shown that the flavonoid antioxidants found in kale, including quercetin and kaempferol, have a significant effect on lowering blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
Many studies have linked eating berries to better blood sugar control. Berries are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and make a great choice for people with blood sugar control issues.
A 2019 study found that eating 2 cups (250 grams) of red raspberries with a high-carb diet significantly reduced postprandial insulin and blood sugar in adults with diabetes, compared to a control group (
In addition to raspberries, studies have shown that strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries can benefit blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity and improving the clearance of glucose from the blood.
In addition to being delicious and sweet, avocados can provide great benefits for blood sugar control. They are rich in healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and adding them to meals has been shown to improve blood sugar levels.
Many studies have found that avocados can help lower blood sugar levels and protect against the development of metabolic syndrome, a series of conditions, including high blood pressure and high blood sugar, that increase the risk of chronic disease.
However, note that many of the studies that have examined the effects of avocado consumption on blood sugar levels have been funded by the Hass Avocado Board, which may have biased the findings (
Including oats and oat bran in your diet can help improve blood sugar levels due to their high content of soluble fibre, which has been shown to have significant blood sugar lowering properties (
A review of 16 studies found that eating oats significantly reduced HbA1c and fasting blood sugar levels, compared to a control diet.
Additionally, a small study in 10 people found that drinking 7 ounces (200 ml) of water mixed with 1 ounce (27.3 grams) of oat bran before eating white bread significantly reduced postprandial blood sugar, o’ to compare to drinking plain water.
Although most citrus fruits are sweet, research shows they can help lower blood sugar levels. Citrus fruits are considered low glycemic fruits because they do not affect blood sugar as much as other types of fruit such as watermelon and pineapple.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapes are full of fiber and contain plant compounds such as naringenin, a polyphenol with great anti-diabetic potential.
Eating whole citrus fruits can help improve insulin sensitivity, lower HbA1c,
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