Best Foods for Diabetics

What are the absolute best foods for diabetics? These low glycemic index foods help maintain normal blood glucose readings. These foods are also Anti Inflammatory foods.

After becoming a Type 2 Diabetic, you may have learned that your eating, and eating the wrong foods was a cause of diabetes. Now you have a problem. You have only learned one way to eat. It’s time to learn to eat in a body friendly manner.

Yes, there are diet changes ahead. Yes, you should be giving up the foods diabetics should avoid.
Some foods you’ll give up forever. Some for an little while. Some foods you’ll learn to eat in moderation. You will learn to eat some foods that are, most likely, new to you. You’ll learn to be flexible if you want to beat diabetes. I’m sure you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this page.

These foods for diabetics are the foods that would have helped us evade diabetes, had they been a bigger part of our previous diets. They include dark green vegetables and many bright colored vegetables.

Once I started changing my eating habits I learned that green foods like broccoli were my friends. I learned that foods like pasta, white bread and many white foods were my enemies or should rarely be eaten. For instance the amount of pasta that would fit in the palm of your hand is equal to 6 cups of steamed broccoli. That is, in relation to it’s effect on blood sugar.

If you were like me, you could eat 2 plates of pasta with a couple white rolls or garlic toast on the side. And we wonder why we’re diabetic? When I went out to dinner at a steakhouse they had to bring me extra rolls to eat with my salad and dinner. Then there was that 12-16 oz. steak and a big baked potato, or french fries. Am I making you hungry? Just writing this gets my saliva flowing, but it is time for my lunch.The high glycemic foods I used to eat were not part of the best foods for diabetics. High glycemic foods expose our bodies to the negative effects of insulin as they trigger a strong insulin response.

I was raised a farm boy. That means, I grew up on meat and potatoes and lots of fresh garden vegetables we raised in our garden. I guess, as I got out on my own, I didn’t take the time to eat right, all the time as I should have.

Once I learned I was a diabetic, beating diabetes became a passion of mine. I have compiled this list of the best foods for diabetics for me and for you. These foods have special properties that make them great for diabetics. They are full of macronutrients, beneficial vitamins and minerals.

What are the foods diabetics can eat?

Many of these are cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables, from the cabbage family, are low in calories. These vegetables are good for our cells as they are natural detoxifiers. They are full of slow release fibers for natural blood glucose control. They tend to be twice as powerful as cancer fighters than other vegetables. Those who regularly eat cruciferous vegetables have the lowest risk of ischemic stroke.

The vegetables below are low glycemic index foods.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Brussels Sprouts - They are our number 1 anti-diabetes food. Recent research has shown that brussels sprouts are also a potent anti-acid anti-cancer food. Those who eat brussels sprouts get triple benefits. They are stabilizing blood sugars, lowering acids and possibly avoiding cancer.

Brussels Sprouts have high levels isothiocyanates, which are potent alkalizing anti-carcinogens. They also release Sulforaphane to detoxify the body of cancerous acidic chemicals. Don’t like brussels sprouts? Simply chop them finely and eat in a salad where they won’t even be tasted.

Broccoli - Broccoli is my number 2 food for diabetics, on this list. You can eat a lot of broccoli and still have balanced blood sugars. Broccoli is the best source of natural chromium. Natural chromium from food is a good insulin regulator. Fortunately steamed broccoli is available in many restaurants either as a stand alone or part of a mixed vegetable mix.

Sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetics. Source: Science Daily, 8/26/08

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts in particular are also a natural anti-cancer food containing sulforaphanes, according to research done by John Hopkin’s University. Source:

Best Foods For Diabetics - Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage) - If you’ve been out for Chinese you may have eaten Bok Choy in with the Chinese vegetables. It is a mild tasting member of the cabbage family. It can be eaten raw in salads, in stews, soups or steamed with vegetables. Bok Choy in high in fiber. It has vitamins A and C, plus the minerals calcium and potassium.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Beets - Beets have a mid glycemic index of 64, so they must be eaten in moderation. Raw beets, and beet juice have many positive health benefits. Beet juice promotes good blood circulation, is an anti-inflammatory, and is a good cleanser. Beets help reduce the amount of oxygen our muscles need while exercising. This gives more endurance, mobility, capability to older people.

Cabbage - Cabbage is very low glycemic index food and a good source of fiber. It’s a natural anti-Inflammatory, anti-cancer food. It’s a great food for diabetics as, like broccoli, you can eat a lot of cabbage without raising blood sugars. Always buy fresh whole heads of cabbage as it loses vitamins and minerals after cutting. Raw cabbage juice is said to be good for those with stomach ulcers, digestive problems and joint pain. Uncooked cabbage is high in glutamine an amino acid needed for digestive health. It is a good source of vitamin K and potassium.

Cauliflower - Cauliflower is very low glycemic index finger food and a good source of fiber. It’s often found on veggie platters and in salads. Great for steaming with other veggies. Cauliflower contains the B vitamin folate needed for cell growth and replication. Like brussels sprouts and broccoli it has natural anti-cancer compounds.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Celery - Celery checks in with a super low glycemic index of 15. Full of water and fiber, celery is a guilt free, diabetic snack food. Celery is a great in salads and makes any soup tastier.

Celery contains vitamin C, it helps lower cholesterol, is a good inflammation fighter, and may be helpful in preventing cancer. Celery is known in Chinese medicine to help lower blood pressure, as it helps the blood vessels to relax. Celery benefits those with arthritis, gout, high blood pressure and regularity problems.

Cucumber - Cucumbers are low in sugar, full of water and high in potassium. They are great alkaline foods. Cucumbers are a good food to use for salads, green juices and for snack foods. Cucumber juices can be used in baths to draw acids from the skin. Cucumbers cleanse our systems, stimulate digestion, can help with heartburn and improve our skin. Raw cucumber applied to our skin has a cooling anti inflammatory effect. Cucumbers are good for those with the inflammatory problems of gout and arthritis. Cucumbers are said to be good for diabetics as the contain elements that help the pancreas produce insulin.

Spinach - Spinach is an excellent food to put in the blender as part of a raw green shake. Spinach has calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron plus macronutrients. With lutein, spinach is one of the best eye health vegetables. Lutein fights cataracts and macular degeneration.

Kale - Kale is full of antioxidants like beta-carotene. It’s a good source of calcium and it’s high in fiber. Like Spinach it is a great food for eye protection as it contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxathin. Use baby kale in salads. Kale can be used in soups or baked in recipes.

Lettuce - There are many types of lettuce. The darker varieties contain more macronutrients. Eat lettuce as soon as possible after picking or cutting. Iceberg lettuce has the least nutrition. The darker varieties are good folic acid sources. Lettuce also has potassium, calcium and vitamin C. Traditional uses are salads, as sides on sandwiches but it can also be

Collard, Mustard and Turnip greens - All these greens are all full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Each of the greens have anti-cancer benefits. Greens are usually boiled or simmered or added to soups and stews. They can be eaten
in salads, used in stir fry or juiced into green drinks.

String Beans or Green Beans - I ate a lot of string beans as a boy. We raised them in our garden every year. They are best fresh or frozen.
I would avoid canned green beans as they are nutrient deficient and usually over salted. Green beans are helpful in lowering blood pressure and they’re a natural anti inflammatory. They are full of vitamins and minerals. They are a low calorie cholesterol free food. Green beans are one of the low glycemic index foods. Eat as many as you like. A cupful of green beans have only 43 calories.

Snow Peas - Snow peas are a great snack food. Naturally sweet, snow peas are one of the low glycemic index foods. They are great
in stir fry or as part of a steamed vegetable medley. They are a good source of folic acid and B6 and C vitamins. Eating them regularly may help lower homocysteine levels. This benefits bone and heart health.

Beans and Lentils - Beans and Lentils are a great source of dietary fiber which slows digestion and keeps sugar from rising quickly after a meal. Their soluble fibers help lower cholesterol. A great heart healthy foodstuff with folate and magnesium. Though not as low of a glycemic index food as greens, beans should be a staple in your diet. Beans should be purchased bulk not pre-canned as the canned beans have sugars, salts and syrups added. Beans are a good protein alternative to meat. They contain antioxidants, folic acids, copper iron and magnesium. Benefits are multiplied for women as these beans and lentils contain natural phytoestrogens.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Green, Red and Yellow Peppers - Peppers are fully of antioxidants which fight free radicals. They’re a source of beta-carotene which aids in night vision and protects the eyes. Peppers may be eaten raw as rings, in salads, added to stews, soups and various recipes for flavor enhancement. Hot Chili Peppers are to be avoided for those with Arthritis They contain strong irritants called capsaicinoids which can cause inflammation and arthritis according to new research by Harvard Medical School.

Asparagus - Asparagus is a great food for expectant mothers due to it’s folic acid content. It is said to be a depression fighter, detoxifier and a natural diuretic. Asparagus is usually cooked, steamed or stir fried.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Avocado - An oily berry fruit with healthy fat for energy. Dr Robert O. Young considers avocados to be the perfect food. Avocados have very low amounts of sugar and starch and do not raise blood sugars.

Avocados good for salads, juicing, skin care and more. They are full of chemical compounds that help lower cholesterol. Avocados fill you up and can help with slow weight loss perhaps due to all their high vitamin and mineral content. The fats in avocados are part of the good fats to eat.

Tomato - There is nothing better than a tomato picked fresh off your own plants. Many first time gardeners raise them in buckets on the patio. Tomatoes are low glycemic, low sugar fruits, although most of use consider them a vegetable. Always use fresh tomatoes as they are alkaline when they enter the bloodstream. Canned tomatoes are acidic. Tomatoes are great for those susceptible to gout as they cleanse the uric and sulfuric acids in meat from the body.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Brown Rice - 50% of the calories consumed in the world are from rice. Brown rice is good for diabetics, as it’s full of fiber, B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and other beneficial minerals. White rice is to be avoided as it can cause blood sugar problems. Studies have shown that whole grains help control weight, lower cholesterol, and reduce the incidence of colon cancer.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Eggplant - Eggplant has a super low glycemic index of 15. Eggplants are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Eggplant skins contain the phytonutrient nasunin, a potent anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. Nasunin protects the fats in our brains, and is an anti-cancer food. Eggplant also protect the cardiovascular system, and help lower blood pressure.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Mushrooms - Mushrooms are a low calorie and low glycemic index food. They are 80%+ water content. A Portabella mushroom has more potassium than a banana with no blood sugar complications.

Mushrooms have copper, the antioxidant selenium, niacin (B3), zinc, maganese and riboflavin (B2). You can bake mushrooms or saute mushrooms and onions in olive oil to make a nice side dish. Some people like to eat them raw or slice and add to salads. Those susceptible to gout should limit their intake.

Best Foods For Diabetics - Onions and Garlic - Onions and Garlic are some of the white foods you should eat. These are both full of nutrients, flavonoids, chromium, and anti-inflammatories. These are heart healthy, low glycemic foods. Onions can be used in all types of foods both raw and cooked. Garlic is used more as an additional flavoring or spice as it is somewhat stronger then onions.

Both onions and garlic are anti-cancer foods. The sulphers in onions and garlic are good for our connective tissues, and help our immune system in defending from invaders.

Artichoke - Artichokes are high in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace minerals. The artichoke has been used for centuries to cleanse the liver and gallbladder. To prepare artichokes, you cut off the sharp leaf tips with scissors, steam or boil in an open container.

Watercress - I confess I don’t know much about watercress. This is what the largest grower of watercress had to say about it: Wonderful Watercress…Mother Nature’s idea for the perfect natural multi-vitamin, body cleansing detoxicant, and curative powerhouse…and it tastes great too!

Not many people realize that Watercress is a better source of vitamins C, B1, B6, K, E, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, and Potassium than Apples, Broccoli, and Tomatoes…It is a true SUPER-VEGGIE! By weight, Watercress has more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange and more absorbable Iron than Spinach (spinach is loaded with Oxlactic acid, which blocks the natural absorption of iron). A single 4 ounce bunch has more than a full days RDA for Potassium. Source: Watercress can be used in salads, sandwiches or steamed and eaten like spinach. It can be diced and used like an herb in breads, stuffings, sauces and with potatoes.

Arugula - Arugula is a gourmet salad green and a member of the cruciferous vegetables. Likely, many of us have eaten it in mixed in salads and didn’t know what it was. Arugula is absolutely loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Arugula is easy to grow in windowsill planters.

Bean Sprouts & Other Sprouts - Sprouts are a wonder food. New sprouts contain a host of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients which are released into the new sprout as it grows. Somehow there is more nutrition in the sprout than was in the actual seed that it sprouted from. These living sprouts contain plenty of fiber, enzymes and water to fill you up and energize your day. Sprouts can be added to salads, sandwiches or added to morning oatmeal as I do each day. A handful of sprouts is a low glycemic index snack. Eat as many as you like. I suggest you learn to sprout your own sprouts at home. Pre-sprouting beans before you cook them is also a good way to neutralize their gas forming effects.

Sweet Potato - I spent some time deciding whether sweet potatoes could make this list of foods for diabetics as it is a little higher glycemic index than some of the foods here. A study by nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) pushed me over the edge.

They ranked
the sweet potato as number one in nutrition of all vegetables. The reasons the sweet potato took first place? Dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. The sweet potato received a score of 184; the vegetable ranked in second place was more than 100 points behind with a score of 83.

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. Source:

Regardless, sweet potatoes are almost a mid level glycemic index food so you must not eat too many. 1/2 of a sweet potato should not cause a blood sugar problem as their fibers cause a slow release of sugars. Best way to cook sweet potatoes is steamed or baked. If eating out skip the sugar and butter except for a little butter for taste.

Wheat Grass - One pound of Wheat Grass is equal nutritionally to nearly 25 pounds of the choicest vegetables. Rich in chlorophyll, wheat grass and wheat grass juice aids in mineral absorption, reduces cholesterol, nourishes our cells, enriches the blood, I know you’re thinking grass is for cows and sheep. That’s right, healthy ones. We can utilize wheat grass is by growing it, squeezing out the juice and drinking it. Another use is to sprout the berries and add them to breakfast oatmeal as I do. The picture on the right below, shows wheat sprouts after 4 days.

Barley Grass - Green barley grass has a cleansing effect on the cells and it’s a rich source of (liquid sunshine) chlorophyll. Barley grass has more vitamin C than orange juice and up to 1,000 live enzymes. At juicing height it is 45% protein. It can be grown at home and used for fresh juice. Many of the barley greens sold today are purchased as dried flakes and added to green drinks.

Green Tea extract and Green Tea - Is said to help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, lower cholesterol levels, delay the onset of atherosclerosis, and may help prevent an enlarged prostate.

Green tea is to be preferred over black tea due to it’s simpler processing. The USDA did some testing on green tea. They found that green tea did enhance the effects of insulin in the body. Some of green teas antioxidant compounds are 100 times as powerful as vitamin C.

Be careful, most bottled green teas are not healthy. They’re full of sugars and corn syrups. Some are just plain unhealthy and capitalize on the perceptions of ignorant consumers.

Zucchini (Summer Squash) - Zucchini has a super low glycemic index of 15. Zucchini and other summer squashes are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten raw or cooked. There’s nothing like a skillet of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet onions.

Zucchini is helpful for men’s prostate health. They are an anti-cancer food. A good source of magnesium, beta carotene, and vitamin C; zucchini is a good food for our cardiovascular system.

For maximum retention of vitamins and minerals eat these foods raw or lightly steamed. What about the people who don’t have time to prepare all these vegetables? Dark green veggies can be turned in to a nutritious liquid meal in seconds with Jack Lalanne’s power juicer, or many similar juicers.

Many of these vegetables can be found pre-cut in the frozen section of your grocers.

You can chop vegetables like collard greens, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other greens into a vegetable soup. Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage strips are easy to use with salads. All the foods here can be juiced for a healthy meal or snack.Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower florets are great for snack time.

If you’re trying to lose weight simply eating a pound of raw or juiced vegetables from this list of foods for diabetics should help you take pounds off. The best part is you’ll be keeping your sugars regulated as you take off pounds.

Dr Fuhrman speaks about nutrient densities of foods.

Now that you know about the best foods for diabetics, can you find a way to get more of them into your diet? For best results about 50% of your daily intake of these foods should be raw. The other 50% may be steamed or cooked.

If you liked Best Foods For Diabetics you may like Eating By Color

Glycemic Food Numbers Source:

Return to Top of Best Foods for Diabetics

Best Foods for Diabetics Updated 12/19/2010

Leave Best Foods for Diabetics and go to Site Map

Leave Best Foods for Diabetics and go Back to Bad Fats