People with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar levels need to eat well to keep their blood sugar levels in balance. To lower blood sugar, it’s important to eat foods low on the glycemic index, which won’t cause blood sugar levels to rise and give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Blood sugar control also depends on your body weight, how active you are, how stressed you are, and your genes, but eating healthy is the most important thing you can do to keep your blood sugar stable.
Top 19 Foods to Lower Blood Sugar & Lose Weight Naturally
1. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits have a low glycemic index and are full of fiber and anti-diabetic plant compounds like naringenin. As a result, eating them often improves your body’s response to insulin, lowers your HbA1c level, and prevents type 2 diabetes. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants, and they can help control blood sugar levels.
Researchers have found a link between eating berries and better blood sugar control. A 2019 study found that adults with prediabetes who consumed 2 cups (250 grams) of red raspberries with a high-carb meal had much less insulin and blood sugar after the meal than a control group. Also, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries may help control blood sugar by making insulin more sensitive and making it easier for glucose to leave the blood. In addition, berries are one of the best places to get powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. They are also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
3. Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
Polysaccharides, which have been studied for their ability to help control blood sugar, are found in high amounts in pumpkin. A study from 2018 found that eating 2 ounces of pumpkin seeds with a meal cut blood sugar by up to 35% after the meal. In addition, pumpkin puree is low in calories and carbs and high in fiber and vitamins A and C. People with diabetes in places like Mexico and Iran even eat pumpkins as medicine.
4. Nuts and nut butter
Researchers have found that eating nuts can help control how much sugar is in the blood. In a study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, eating peanuts and almonds throughout the day lowered their blood sugar levels before and after a meal. When people ate an average of 2 ounces (56 grams) of tree nuts daily, their fasting blood sugar and HbA1c decreased significantly. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are great for lowering blood sugar because they are high in fiber and have healthy fats. Therefore, you should eat 1.5 ounces of nuts or seeds daily.
Okra is a fruit that is high in polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants. Because of how well it lowers blood sugar, it has been used as a natural treatment for diabetes. It also has two flavonoids called isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside. These flavonoids stop enzymes from working, which helps reduce blood sugar. Human research is required to validate these properties.
6. Flax seeds
Flax seeds are good for you because they contain fiber and healthy fats. In an 8-week study of 57 people with type 2 diabetes, those who ate 7 ounces of 2.5% fat yogurt with 1 ounce of flaxseed daily had much lower HbA1c levels than those who ate plain yogurt. Blood sugar control also improved when whole flax seeds were used. Flaxseeds are excellent for people with diabetes because they help control their blood sugar. Putting a tablespoon of it in your yogurt, smoothie, oatmeal, or salad every day can make a difference.
7. Beans and lentils
There are a lot of nutrients in beans and lentils that can help lower blood sugar. Studies have shown that eating beans and lentils can help control your blood sugar and may even help protect you from getting diabetes. You can add beans to your diet by sprinkling them on salads, making hummus, putting beans in soups, or sautéing them with vegetables. Beans can also help lower cholesterol and improve heart health, which is important for people with diabetes because heart disease is the leading cause of death.
8. Kimchi and sauerkraut
Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut can improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. For example, a study of 21 people with prediabetes found that eating fermented kimchi for eight weeks improved glucose tolerance. In addition, a traditional Korean diet for 12 weeks led to bigger drops in HbA1c than a control diet.
9. Chia seeds
Blood sugar levels can decrease, and insulin sensitivity can increase if you eat chia seeds. A 2020 review of 17 studies on animals found that chia seeds may help improve insulin sensitivity, control blood sugar, and lower the risk of disease. For example, in a study with 15 healthy adults, giving 1 ounce of ground chia seeds and 2 ounces of a sugar solution together led to a 39% drop in blood sugar.
Because it has compounds that may help lower blood sugar, kale is called a “superfood.” For example, a study showed that eating foods with 7–14 grams of kale with a high-carb meal reduced blood sugar levels after the meal. In addition, antioxidants in kale called flavonoids, like quercetin and kaempferol, help lower blood sugar and improve insulin. Some ways to eat more kale are to cook chicken sausage, toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or roast it in a hot oven.
Seafood is a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which may help control blood sugar levels. Protein slows digestion and keeps blood sugar from going up after a meal, while fatty fish like salmon and sardines have been shown to help control blood sugar. Some ways to eat more fish are to serve it with brown rice and vegetables, put cooked fish in salads, grill fish on a grill, or make “fish burgers.”
Avocados are full of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can help lower blood sugar and protect against metabolic syndrome. You can put avocado in salads and soups, spread it on whole-grain bread, or make guacamole with avocado, lime, onion, cilantro, and garlic.
13. Oats and oat bran
It has been shown that oats and oat bran can help lower blood sugar in a big way. A look at 16 studies showed that eating oats reduced HbA1c and fasting blood sugar levels. In a small study, people who drank 7 ounces of water mixed with 1 ounce of oat bran before eating white bread had much lower blood sugar levels after the meal. Oats are whole grains with a low glycemic index. They also contain beta-glucan, which helps to lower how the body responds to glucose and insulin. You can eat more oats by making warm oatmeal, making your granola, soaking oats in plain yogurt and milk, or substituting oats for breadcrumbs in recipes.
14. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
Sulforaphane is a chemical found in plants that lower blood sugar. It is made when glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase react when broccoli is chopped or chewed. Studies with test tubes, animals, and people have shown that broccoli extract high in sulforaphane can help people with diabetes. Broccoli sprouts have a lot of glucosinolates and have been shown to help people with type 2 diabetes make insulin work better and lower their blood sugar levels. People who eat cruciferous vegetables are less likely to get type 2 diabetes.
15. Kefir and yogurt
Fermented dairy products like kefir and yogurt have been linked to better blood sugar control. A study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes that lasted eight weeks found that drinking 20 ounces of kefir daily greatly cut their fasting blood sugar and HbA1c levels. In a 4-week study with 32 adults, eating 5 ounces of yogurt daily improved insulin and blood sugar levels after a meal. Yogurt is a fermented food made from milk and active bacteria cultures. If it doesn’t have added sugars, it can help keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent diabetes.
Eggs are very healthy because they have a lot of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that eating eggs can help you control your blood sugar better. For example, eating one large egg daily can lower your fasting blood sugar by 4.4% and improve your insulin. Eggs can help you build muscle, make you feel full, and do not need as much insulin, but they often get a bad rap because they have cholesterol. However, they can be part of a healthy diet and help control blood sugar when eaten in small amounts.
The most important fact is that soluble fiber and plant compounds can help lower blood sugar and protect against diabetes. Blueberries, grapes, and apples are also good for reducing blood sugar and lowering the chance of getting diabetes. Spinach is good for you because it has vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help your body work well. Some ways to eat more spinach are to sauté it, add it to soups, stews, pasta, stir-fries, and salads, or mix it into sauces.
Lentils are a great way to keep blood sugar levels down. Studies show that putting lentils on the side instead of high-starch foods like rice can lower blood sugar by 20%. They also have a lot of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. You can eat more lentils by putting them in soups, making veggie burgers or meatballs without meat by pureeing lentils, putting lentils in salads, or making your dal.
Cinnamon is good for your health, like helping you control your blood sugar and lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes. It is easy to eat and doesn’t require much thought. You can add cinnamon to your diet by making tasty dishes, adding it to winter stews to make them warmer, or putting it on fresh fruit.
Eat foods that lower blood sugar levels and provide nutrients to support a healthy body, such as broccoli, seafood, fish, nuts, nut butter, okra, flax seeds, beans, lentils, kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented foods. Follow a healthy dietary pattern for optimal blood sugar control.