The 16 Best Foods to Control Diabetes

2. Fatty Fish

salmon-wild-vs-farmed

Fatty fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for heart health.

Getting enough of these fats on a regular basis is especially important for diabetics, who have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke (1).

DHA and EPA protect the cells that line your blood vessels, reduce markers of inflammation and improve the way your arteries function after eating (2, 3, 4, 5).

A number of observational studies suggest that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart failure and are less likely to die from heart disease (6, 7).

In studies, older men and women who consumed fatty fish 5–7 days per week for 8 weeks had significant reductions in triglycerides and inflammatory markers (8, 9).

Fish is also a great source of high-quality protein, which helps you feel full and increases your metabolic rate (10).

Bottom Line: Fatty fish contain omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

 Leafy Greens

fresh-kale-in-a-brown-bag

Leafy green vegetables are extremely nutritious and low in calories.

They’re also very low in digestible carbs, which can raise your blood sugar levels far higher than other nutrients.

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are good sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.

In one study, increasing vitamin C intake reduced inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure (11).

In addition, leafy greens are good sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

These antioxidants protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts, which are common diabetes complications (12, 13, 14, 15).

Bottom Line: Leafy green vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that protect your heart and eye health.

Cinnamon

cinnamon-in-a-glass-bowl

Cinnamon is a delicious spice with potent antioxidant activity.

Several controlled studies have shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity (16,17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22).

Long-term diabetes control is typically determined by measuring hemoglobin A1c, which reflects your average blood sugar level over 2–3 months.

In one study, type 2 diabetes patients who took cinnamon for 90 days had more than a double reduction in hemoglobin A1c, compared those who only received standard care (22).

A recent analysis of 10 studies found that cinnamon may also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (23).

However, a few studies have failed to show that cinnamon benefits blood sugar or cholesterol levels, including one on adolescents with type 1 diabetes (24, 25, 26).

Furthermore, you should limit your intake of cassia cinnamon — the type found in most grocery stores — to less than 1 teaspoon per day.

It contains coumarin, which is linked to health problems at higher doses (27).

On the other hand, ceylon (“true”) cinnamon contains much less coumarin.

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