1. Whole grains

Whole grains contain high levels of fiber and more nutrients than refined white grains.

Eating a diet high in fiber is important for people with diabetes because fiber slows down the digestion process. Slower absorption of nutrients helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Whole wheat and whole grains are lower on the glycemic index (GI) scale than white bread and rice. This means that they have less of an impact on blood sugar.

Good examples of whole grains to include in the diet are:

  • brown rice
  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-grain pasta
  • buckwheat
  • quinoa
  • millet
  • bulgur
  • rye

You can swap white bread or white pasta for whole-grain options.

2. Beans

Beans are an excellent food option for people with diabetes. They are a good source of plant-based protein, and they can satisfy the appetite while helping people reduce their carbohydrate intake.

Beans are also low on the GI scale and are better for blood sugar regulation than many other starchy foods.

Also, beans may help people manage their blood sugar levels. They are a complex carbohydrate, so the body digests them slower than it does other carbohydrates.

Eating beans can also help with weight loss and could help regulate a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol.

There is a wide range of beans for people to choose from, including:

  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • black beans
  • navy beans
  • adzuki beans

These beans also contain important nutrients, including iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Beans are a highly versatile food choice. People can include a variety of beans in a chili or stew, or in tortilla wraps with salad.

For my Naija people, there are sooooo many ways to enjoy beans- Rice and beans, beans porridge, beans and plantain, beans and sweet potato, beans and fish, beans and meat, beans and crayfish, akara, moinmoin, gbegiri, salad etc.

When using canned beans, be sure to choose an option with no added salt. Otherwise, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly to remove any added salt.

3. Oats

Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which seems to have an anti-diabetic effect.

Specifically, this review concluded that beta-glucans help to reduce high blood sugar and blood pressure, adding,

For Diabetes patient, however, it is better to stick with rolled oats.

Try making oatmeal overnight with quacker overnight oatmeal recipe

4. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes have a lower GI than white potatoes. This makes them a great alternative for people with diabetes, as they release sugar more slowly and do not raise blood sugar as much.

Sweet potatoes are also a great source of:

  • fiber
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • potassium

People can enjoy sweet potatoes in a range of ways, including baked, boiled, roasted, or mashed. For a balanced meal, eat them with a source of lean protein and green leafy vegetables or a salad.

5. Unripe Plantain

Plantains are rich sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and are easily digestible.

Fiber and complex carbs are less processed and more slowly digested than the simple carbs found in processed foods.

They keep you full and more satisfied for longer after a meal, which can mean less snacking on unhealthy foods.

If you have ever eaten unripe plantain, you will probably relate to the fact that it keeps you fuller for longer.

Plantains are also a good source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

A cup of sliced plantains gives you roughly 34 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).

This vitamin helps decrease homocysteine levels which are often associated with coronary artery disease and stroke- common complications of diabetes.

The fiber in plantains also helps lower your cholesterol, which in turn keeps your heart functioning at its best.

While most studies done to show the antihyperglycemic effect of rats are done on rats, it is still an excellent choice based on the features outlined above.

6. Vegetables

Load up! You’ll get fiber and very little fat or salt (unless you add them).  Remember, potatoes and corn count as carbs.

Best Choices

  • Fresh veggies, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled
  • Plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed
  • Green leafy vegetables such as pumpkin aka ugwu, bitter leaf, scent leaf, kale, spinach, etc.
  • Low sodium or unsalted canned vegetables

Go for a variety of colors: dark greens, red or orange (think of carrots or red peppers), whites (onions) and even purple (eggplants).

7. Fatty Fish