10 Foods That Lower Blood Sugars In Diabetics

10 Foods That Lower Blood Sugars In Diabetics

Maintaining low blood sugar levels can be difficult for diabetic patients.

While a low carb diet appears to be useful on the whole, there are also many foods shown to help. Either by lowering blood sugars and/or improving insulin sensitivity.

This articles looks at 10 of the best foods and supplements for lowering blood sugars, based on current research.

Just know they should never be used in place of your diabetes medication, but rather alongside.

1. Resistant Starch Lowers Sugars After Meals

Resistant starch can lower sugar levels Starches are long chains of glucose (sugar) found in oats, grains, bananas, potatoes and various other foods.

Some varieties pass through digestion unchanged and are not absorbed as sugar into the blood. These are known as resistant starch.

Many studies show resistant starch can greatly improve insulin sensitivity. That is, how well the body can move sugar out of the blood and into cells for energy. This is why it’s so useful for lowering blood sugar levels after meals (1, 2).

The effect is so great that having resistant starch at lunch will reduce blood sugar spikes at dinner, known as the “second meal effect” (3).

Problem is many foods high in resistant starch, such as potatoes, are also high in digestible carbs that can spike blood sugar. Therefore resistant starch in supplement form – without the extra carbs – is recommended.




Summary: Supplemental resistant starch is a fantastic option for those struggling to control sugars or have hit a plateau.

2. Ceylon Cinnamon

cinnamon can lower sugar levels in diabeticsCinnamon has been used for its medicinal properties since Ancient Egypt and China.

Several cinnamon compounds appear to prevent the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, minimising blood sugar spikes. It may also dramatically improve insulin sensitivity (4, 5).

In a recent clinical trial, 25 poorly-controlled type 2 diabetics received either 1 gram per day of cinnamon or placebo (dummy supplement) for 12 weeks.

Fasting blood sugar levels in the cinnamon group dropped by 10% after 6 weeks and 17% after 12 weeks compared to placebo (6).

cinnamon-powder-on-fasting-glucose

Effect of 1 g cinnamon powder on fasting blood glucose. **Highly significant difference from baseline (P < 0.001).

The HbA1c (3-month marker of blood sugar levels) also began to decrease by 8% after 12 weeks, although it did not reach statistical significance.

Note that not all clinical trials have found cinnamon to be effective, so it’s by no means a “miracle” treatment (7).

The recommended dose is 1-6 grams daily, from ceylon rather than cassia.

Summary: Cinnamon may slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Ceylon cinnamon is much safer than cassia.

3. Raspberries and Strawberries

Berries can lower blood sugars in diabeticsBerries technically don’t lower blood sugar, but they help if you are eating them instead of other common fruits.

This is because berries tend to be very low-sugar fruits.

There is only 5-7 grams (about one teaspoon) of sugar in one cup of raspberries or strawberries, compared to 13 grams in one cup of apples and 24 grams in one cup of mango (8).

Berries are also rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which is why they are such bright red or blue colours.

Anthocyanins appear to improve blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetics (9, 10).

Summary: Berries are very low in sugar compared to other fruits. They are also rich in anthocyanins, which is beneficial for metabolic health.

4. Cashews and Almonds

Almonds and cachews imrpove blood sugar regulationMagnesium is an essential mineral involved in hundreds of bodily processes, including blood sugar regulation (11, 12).

The mechanism of action is unclear, but low magnesium levels is strongly associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It seems to influence insulin secretion, which may be why 25-38% of type 2 diabetics have low magnesium (13).

Additionally, clinical trials have shown that correcting low magnesium improves insulin response and lowers blood sugar levels (13, 14).

Alongside spinach, cashews and almonds are one of the best sources of magnesium in the human diet. The fact they are convenient, low carb and delicious is just a bonus.

Top 3 Food Sources of Magnesium

almonds and cashews magnesium Note that in the case of a magnesium deficiency, magnesium supplementation is recommended.

Summary: Cashews and almonds are very rich in magnesium, a mineral involved in blood sugar regulation. Up to 38% of type 2 diabetics are thought to be low in magnesium.

5. Green Tea

Green tea to improve blood sugar in diabeticsCoffee is healthy, sure.

But green tea is healthiest.

It contains a number of powerful antioxidants and catechins that benefit so many aspects of health… including blood sugar control (15).

In a review of 7 observational studies totalling 286,701 people, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic (16).

One Japanese study found that reduced risk blew out to a massive 42% for the real green tea enthusiasts (17).

Normally I don’t make conclusions from observational studies (which don’t prove cause and effect), but it’s evident that green tea is beneficial for metabolic health.

If you’re already a tea drinker, then it’s time to include some green tea. If you aren’t, it’s time to start.




Summary: It’s clear the compounds in green tea are beneficial for metabolic health. Observational studies suggest regular green tea drinkers are 18-42% less likely to become diabetic.

6. Fenugreek May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Fenugreek for lower blood sugarFenugreek is a popular herb in Arabic and Indian culture.

It’s a good source of soluble fiber, and has several compounds thought to improve blood sugar control.

Studies in both type 2 diabetics and non-diabetics have shown decreases in blood sugar levels by up to 13% after meals (18, 19).

The weight of evidence seems to support these findings too (20).

Eating the seeds whole or in supplement form appears the most useful, but is not safe if pregnant.

The effective dosage is 2-5 grams per day.

Summary: Fenugreek appears to greatly improve blood sugar control in diabetics.

7. Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles to lower blood sugars in diabeticsReducing the amount of bread, noodles and other high carbohydrate foods is beneficial for diabetes management.

However, it’s important to enjoy your favourites once in a while.

Enter the Japanese shiritaki noodle, which is tremendously low in carbs and high in fibre. A 3.5 oz (100 gram) serving contains less than one gram of digestible carbs and only two calories.

Most of the noodle is made of glucomannan, an indigestible fibre that may help lower blood sugar levels after meals and improve other metabolic health markers in diabetics (21, 22, 23).

Bottom Line: Shirataki noodles are incredibly low in carbs and calories. The fibre in them may also help with blood sugar control and other aspects of metabolic health.

8. Cocoa in Dark chocolate

dark chocolate for diabeticsThe cocoa in chocolate comes from the cocoa plant.

It contains beneficial flavanols thought to improve blood pressure, insulin resistance and overall blood sugar regulation (24).

However, whether dark chocolate itself is beneficial is debatable, because it does still contain a small amount of sugar. I view it as a somewhat neutral treat (regarding health effects) and great alternative for diabetics.

But the chocolate must be really dark, typically 85% cocoa or more. Anything less is too high in sugar.

The studies that found benefits used either dark chocolate or a cocoa extract equivalent to 500-1000 mg of flavanols per day. This is roughly 25-40 grams of 85% dark chocolate.

Summary: Those who regularly eat chocolate must swap to 85% dark chocolate or more. This will be neutral for health at worst, and beneficial for blood sugar control at best.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar to lower blood sugarVinegar is an ancient folk remedy long used for numerous health problems.

Research suggests is may increase sugar uptake from the blood into cells, also known as glucose metabolism (25, 26).

In a study of eleven type 2 diabetics, those who consumed vinegar before a meal had an increased uptake of sugar into the cells (tested in the forearm) and reduced blood sugar levels, insulin levels and triglycerides (27).

Apple cider vinegar is the most popular type of vinegar among the natural health community, but not the only beneficial variety.




Summary: There is strong evidence that vinegar consumption before or during meals can improve glucose metabolism. Apple cider vinegar is just the most popular type.

10. Stevia as a Sugar Alternative

Stevia as a sugar alternativeStevia is a popular sugar alternative that originates from South America.

It’s beneficial for diabetics because it contains zero sugar or calories, and is used as a direct swap for sugar.

But some researchers also suspect it has a direct influence on insulin function (28, 29).

In fact, stevia was found to lower both blood sugar and insulin levels more than aspartame (an artificial sweetener) after meals (30).

Honey is marginally better than sugar for diabetics, but if you really must sweeten your drink then use stevia.



This articles looks at 10 of the best foods and supplements to lower blood sugars in diabetics, based on current research. Learn more here: https://www.dietvsdisease.org/foods-lower-blood-sugars-diabetics/

Comments

  1. The point about chocolate is well made. The darker the chocolate the higher the amount of cacao in the product. So it is essential that one pays attention to the cocoa content in the product. Cacao increases insulin sensitivity by activating a protein pathway at the level of the liver.

    The cacao stops the production of glucose in the liver, thereby increasing liver insulin sensitivity and reducing blood glucose levels. This issue is discusssed on the page below:
    http://thedrjoe.com/wellness/cacao-vs-cocoa/

  2. All of the things on this page I use but I was worried about the honey because I use it with apple cider vinegar for my acid reflux I have now halved my meds it works so well I am now feeling a lot better about my diet thanks

    • Karen Mitchell says:

      Hi My mum & I used to suffer terrible reflux my mum had to have her stomach stretched due to scaring.. but we now have 1/2 a fresh lemon squeezed in to warm water every morning & we barely use our medication now,,, I use tablets probably once a month now..

  3. What about low blood sugar sufferers?

  4. Great article, But I am just wondering why you skipped Flaxseed, which is healthier than other things listed here.

  5. Vicky Ables says:

    You recommended Stevia if you must sweeten the drink. I am allergic to Stevia. My body tries to tell itself that it is gluten containing. What would you recommend?

    • Was it a Stevia mix or just Stevia? Most products on the market have stuff added to the Stevia… I’d check all the ingredients in your “Stevia” source!

  6. Laura Whitehouse says:

    My blood sugar is 25 to 27 & I am diabetic, on insulin and tabs three times a day. 20 units of insulin at night. Still won’t come down lower that 12 to 15. I don’t know what to eat anymore. Am on a diet but eat fruit for lunch at times. Very little carbs. But am always hungry & stressed. Dont drink sugar at all. Never have. Weigh 65 kg.

    • Hello Laura,

      Continue your medication as before and start on LCHF diet. You will never feel hungry – that is for sure. And hopefully, it will lower your after-meal blood sugar level. You have to experiment it if it works for you. There is nothing to lose here even if it does not work for you. you will come to know within a week if there is an improvement.

  7. colleen m gaskins says:

    is the cold bottled green tea the same?

    • I don’t think so, but I’m not a health care professional. I think they are talking about green tea in tea bags that you pour boiling water over. Sweeten with Stevia is great!! Enjoy!

  8. Try also, if you don’t already, to eliminate all, gluten, dairy, except eggs,all grains and sugar. No fruit after 2 pm. That’s what I did and I am off all my diabetes meds including my insulin.

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