Nutrition in diabetes - 10 healthiest foods

Nutrition in diabetes - 10 healthiest foods

Nutrition in diabetes - 10 healthiest foods
Nutrition in diabetes - 10 healthiest foods

Elevated blood glucose levels (a typical consequence of type 2 diabetes) are often associated with thirst - and excessive loss of water and minerals. As a result, the body may lack electrolyte minerals - sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium and others.

Deficiency of these microminerals negatively affects the functioning of muscles (including the muscles of the cardiovascular system), the pH of the blood and the body's ability to generate nerve impulses. That is why it is important to include foods high in electrolytes in your diet if you have diabetes.

//  Healthy food for diabetes

The presence of type 2 diabetes is associated with high blood glucose levels - which means choosing low-carbohydrate foods. Excess glucose can disrupt the functions of vital proteins, leading to pathological changes in almost all organs of the body.

The main rule of nutrition in diabetes is to try to maintain a stable blood sugar level by avoiding fast carbohydrates, eating sources of fiber and eating regularly every few hours, which will allow the body to absorb and evenly absorb energy.

However, dietary planning for diabetes should be based on a comprehensive strategy, not simply on eliminating "harmful" foods from the diet and switching to "healthy" ones. Ultimately, the role is played only by the amount and time of consumption of a particular product.

Important warnings

Your dietary strategy for diabetes depends a lot on how your body responds to glucose - and whether there are other chronic diseases. Being overweight (and metabolic syndrome in particular) may require a reduction in calorie intake.

The advice given in the material is only a summary and is in no way intended to replace a doctor's personal advice. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to death if not treated properly.

Top 10 healthy foods

Eating a low-carbohydrate diet (a typical eating strategy for type 2 diabetes) can lead to a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. That is why diabetics should make sure that they always have natural foods with low GI and high nutrient content in their diet:

1. Leafy vegetables

Due to their high potassium content, leafy vegetables (mainly spinach, to a lesser extent lettuce and all types of cabbage) help to improve vascular function. In addition, they contain calcium, magnesium and iron - minerals that have a positive effect on blood parameters.

2. Green vegetables

On average, 100 g of green vegetables (green peas, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.) represent no more than 3-6 g of carbohydrates, most of which are fiber. Eating them regularly helps the body better regulate blood sugar levels.

3. Fruits

The bright color of the fruit is due to the presence of flavonoids in the composition. Quercetin (red or purple pigment) helps reduce the risk of chronic vascular disease by normalizing vascular permeability. Anthocyanin (purple pigment) can affect blood sugar levels.

4. Citrus fruits

Because citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit) have a low glycemic index, they can be included in the diet in moderation in the presence of diabetes. Their main advantage is the presence of a large amount of vitamin C, an important component of immunity.

5. Nuts

On the one hand, nuts are an excellent source of high quality protein, fiber and minerals. On the other hand, due to their high fat content, they are high in calories. If you do not need to limit calories, nuts can be consumed in small quantities in diabetes.

6. Sweet potato (sweet potato)

Sweet potato is a plant associated with ordinary potatoes, but differs from it in its carbohydrate profile and glycemic index. In particular, the fiber content of sweet potatoes is 50% higher than that of ordinary potatoes - and among other benefits, the presence of vitamin A can be noted.

7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes owe their red color to lycopene, a carotenoid pigment, a precursor to beta-carotene. The use of lycopene helps the body cope better with oxidative stress of various kinds - and the lack of substance is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

8. Cereals and grains (moderate)

The presence of diabetes does not automatically mean that carbohydrates are not automatically banned, but imposes a restriction on their glycemic index (and portion size). Whole grains without added sugar (oatmeal, bulgur, barley, buckwheat) are the best choice.

9. Salmon

Fatty species of marine and ocean fish (salmon, salmon) contain omega-3 fatty acids. In the body, they act as an antioxidant, helping to fight micro-inflammation. In addition, a significant part of the total amount of omega-3 in the body is located in the brain - regulating its work.

10. Yogurt without sugar

Natural unsweetened yogurt (ie yogurt without added sugar) is an example of a fermented food that contains probiotics. The use of yogurt has a positive effect on the condition of the intestinal microflora, helping the body to better absorb any nutrients.

Can you eat meat with diabetes?

The presence of diabetes does not require a direct ban on eating meat. It is only important to monitor the total amount of saturated fat in the diet. At a daily intake of 2000 kcal, the upper limit (according to WHO recommendations) is 7% of calories in the form of saturated fat - 20-25 g per day.

Remember that butter is half saturated fatty acids, cheese is one third. In turn, 100 g of lean beef contain 10-15 g of fat (of which 4-6 g of saturated), and 100 g of chicken breast - 4 g of fat (of which 1 g of saturated).

At the same time, the World Health Organization reminds that the use of sausages, sausages and other semi-finished meat products should be limited even in the diet of healthy people - not to mention diabetics. Such foods can adversely affect the level of inflammation in the body.


Proper nutrition in the presence of type 2 diabetes should be based on monitoring the quantity and quality of carbohydrates (which implies a low GI) - as well as the inclusion in the diet of natural sources of minerals, electrolytes, which play an important role in metabolic processes.

Data sources:

  1. World Health Organization: Diet, nutrition and prevention of type 2 diabetes,  pdf
  2. Efficacy and safety of low- and very low-carbohydrate diets in remission of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from randomized trials,  source
  3. Source