25 Healthy Foods that Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes can be a tough illness to deal with, but there are ways for you to prevent it. Some of the best foods for diabetes prevention are low-glycemic foods that also help in weight loss.

These 15 healthy foods have been shown to reduce your risk of getting this debilitating condition and should be consumed as much as possible.

List of the top 25 foods that prevent diabetes

1. Sweet potatoes

This might surprise you, but sweet potatoes are one of the best foods that prevent diabetes, and they taste great too! Many people don’t realize how healthy this vegetable is for their bodies.

Sweet potatoes have beta-carotene, which makes them a powerful antioxidant. This vegetable helps prevent heart disease as well; it also helps in reducing your risk of getting cancer.

2. Green leafy vegetables

Veggie causing Diabetes

These foods are also a must for anyone trying to prevent diabetes and should be consumed at least 5-6 times per week, if not more! Green leafy vegetables help prevent cancers as well, so you can’t go wrong with consuming them daily.

Not only are these foods great for preventing diabetes, but they are also low in calories, and you can’t beat that!

3. Legumes

Legumes for preventing diabetes

Legumes include beans and peas and soy products like tofu. These foods offer a lot of protein which is important when trying to prevent diabetes. Not only that, but legumes have a lot of fiber, which helps in weight loss.

4. Salmon

This is another great low-glycemic food that you should be eating a lot of to prevent diabetes. Salmon can help prevent liver disease, and it also lowers the risk of getting heart attacks, some cancers, and other diseases.

Salmon is super easy to cook, which makes it simple to include in your diet.

5. Avocados

These are another type of food that helps prevent diabetes, and they taste great too! Avocados have monosaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol; avocados also lower the risk of getting breast cancer. They are a little high in calories, but if you eat a small one, you’ll be good to go.

6. Quinoa

This is a gluten-free grain that also helps in preventing diabetes as well as lowering your risk of getting heart disease.

Quinoa is packed with protein, and it’s relatively low in calories, which makes it one of the best foods for diabetics trying to lose weight too! I love quinoa with some blueberries and almonds; it tastes great and is so healthy!

7. Beans

Beans can be consumed in many different ways, such as soybeans, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans, and more! These foods taste great; they are super easy to cook up, making them a go-to food for anyone trying to prevent diabetes. Beans help in preventing colon cancer and can even help you lose weight.

8. Yogurt with active cultures

Yogurt that contains healthy probiotics is another one of the best foods for diabetics; it helps in lowering cholesterol and obesity as well as preventing some cancers like breast cancer. Yogurt also helps in improving the digestive system too!

9. Guava Leaf Tea

Guava Leaf contains antioxidants that help prevent diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

This tea is easy to make too, so you can’t go wrong with making this drink daily.

10. Berries

Berries for preventing diabetes

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are a few of the many berries that lower blood sugar, and they all taste great; I love them for breakfast with some plain Greek yogurt.

Be sure to eat a few cups of berries daily if possible!

11. Grapefruit

While grapefruit is loaded with vitamins C, E, and A, it is also a great choice for people who want to prevent diabetes or lose weight.

Studies have shown that eating half a grapefruit before each meal helps lose weight because it makes your body more efficient at using insulin.

12. Pears

Pears are another fruit that helps prevent diabetes, but unlike grapes, pears taste great. This fruit lowers cholesterol levels, which help prevent heart disease; not only that, but pears are low in calories, which is a huge plus for anyone trying to lose weight.

13. Tuna

This is a great food to include in your diet because it lowers the symptoms of gout as well as being a good source of protein. Tuna also helps in preventing cancer, including breast cancer; it’s one of those foods that help reduce the risk of getting so many diseases, including diabetes!

14. Olive oil

This is one of the best foods for diabetics because it’s high in monosaturated fats, preventing heart disease and high cholesterol; olive oil also helps with weight loss.

I love to cook with extra virgin olive oil, and I use a few tablespoons to lose weight too! Some of my favorite ways to consume this healthy fat are cooking eggs or sautéing some veggies (low-carb, of course!).

15. Bananas

Bananas are a perfect snack for any time of day, and they also help keep your blood sugar levels stable; bananas can prevent diabetes if you eat them daily. They are low in calories but high in carbohydrates, making them ideal for anyone trying to lose weight. I love eating ripe bananas with Greek yogurt!

16. Broccoli

Broccoli is always good for health and weight loss purposes; it’s a green vegetable, so you know it must be full of nutrients! This cruciferous vegetable helps regulate blood glucose levels while providing vitamins C and K and calcium, which are essential when preventing type 2 diabetes.

17. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are full of fiber and lycopene, which helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you haven’t tried canned tomatoes in tomato sauce, then you should give it a try; it tastes great over low-carb pasta! You can also serve spaghetti squash instead of pasta to keep your carbs down. 28 Sun-dried tomatoes are also high in vitamin C, which is always good for preventing diabetes.

18. Green tea

Green tea has caffeine just like coffee does, but studies have shown that caffeine helps burn fat and not necessarily add weight. Green tea tastes delicious with a little honey or sugar-free sweetener added to the mix; Drinking green tea each day is an easy way to help shed excess weight. For those who have never tried it, you need to get some today!

19. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is delicious and has tons of antioxidants that help to prevent harmful diseases like cancer and diabetes. The seeds in the pomegranate make a tasty snack; I also recommend drinking it with either low-carb milk or water because this drink is low in calories yet very high in nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, and polyphenols. 

20. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a flavorful, processed carbohydrate that will protect you from diabetes and high blood pressure levels. I love Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares when I’m craving something sweet because the squares are low in carbs and sugar; they also taste delicious when you add a little cinnamon to them. I like to have one square before bedtime every night for losing weight!

21. Garlic

Garlic has digestive enzymes to help people who suffer from stomach problems, including heartburn and acid reflux. Everyone should eat this food regularly; it tastes so good when you add some salt and pepper to it and sauté it over some vegetables! Eating garlic regularly will also prevent diabetes because of its powerful antioxidants known as flavonoids that help to lower blood sugar levels.

22. Cauliflower

Cauliflower for preventing diabetes

Cauliflower tastes great with other roasted vegetables or as a side dish for any high-fat protein; this food is full of antioxidants that help to prevent diabetes and also contains glucosinolates which can lower your risk of getting cancer. 

23. Spinach

Spinach isn’t just good for preventing diabetes, but it’s also one of the healthiest foods you’ll ever eat! Dieticians have recommended it for years because it helps in weight loss while providing vitamins, minerals, fiber, and many other nutrients, including manganese (to regulate enzymes) and potassium (to regulate fluid balance in the body). This is one food that always goes in my shopping cart and the last to leave too!

24. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) that prevent diabetes because of their ability to stabilize blood sugar and increase energy levels. Coconut oil can be used as a healthy alternative for cooking; you’ll love the flavor! Studies have shown that coconut oil reduces fat in the different parts of people’s bodies, including their abdominal area, making it one of the best foods for preventing diabetes.

25. Green beans

Green beans will reduce your risk of getting diabetes in several ways. They’re rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients that regulate blood sugar and reduce body fat; green beans are also a good source of protein and potassium, which helps you stay full longer, so you won’t be overeating on unhealthy foods. Adding some olive oil and Parmesan cheese are the healthiest ways to cook green beans too!

12 lifestyle tips for reducing the risk of getting diabetes

Lifestyle plays a critical role in preventing diabetes. The following are 9 lifestyle tips for reducing the risk of getting diabetes:

1. Lose weight before you get the condition because obese people have a higher risk of developing it; losing 5-10% of your body weight can reduce this risk by up to 50%.

2. Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible; smoking has been shown to speed up stomach emptying, lower insulin sensitivity, and lead to weight gain, so these habits will increase your chances of getting the condition.

3. Minimize alcohol consumption and avoid binge drinking because alcohol accelerates the development of type 2 diabetes.

4. Learn to exercise by doing activities you enjoy; fitness and exercise will increase your endurance while lowering your blood pressure levels. Engage in regular physical activity at least 3-4 times per week for 30 minutes or longer for weight loss; exercising will also help to lower blood pressure levels.

Importance of exercise in Diabetes

5. Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or even listening to music if you feel stressed out. Stress is one of the main reasons behind this condition, so people need to manage their stress better before they get sick; running away from stressful situations will only worsen problems in the future!

6. AVOID a sedentary lifestyle which can lead to complications such as obesity, muscle wasting, high blood sugar levels, and other risks associated with getting diabetes later in or avoid it altogether because drinking alcohol excessively can affect how your body processes sugar.

7. Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruit, and lean protein instead of processed foods; you can eat as many low glycemic foods as possible to help get rid of belly fat and prevent diabetes.

8. Get enough sleep every night so you’ll be less stressed out and more productive during the day! Being well-rested is really important, especially if you’re an overweight person with high blood pressure who has sleep apnea (pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep) because you’re more likely to develop cardiovascular problems.

9. Learn how to take care of your blood pressure levels by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly; exercise will help people with high blood pressure lower their stress levels and get rid of belly fat too!

10. Cut sugar intake and eat more foods that help reduce glucose levels in the blood; these include supplements rich in chromium like GTF Chromium which supports healthy blood sugar levels.

11. Avoid or limit processed foods because they’re loaded with trans-fats, preservatives, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, added sugars, caffeine, and other harmful chemicals that won’t do your body any good; cutting back on fast food is especially important since it contains too much sodium which can make people overeat!

12. Avoid foods that contain gluten because people who are sensitive to it may have lower levels of insulin sensitivity, so it’s important for them to avoid this substance as much as possible along with limiting their intake of refined carbs; gluten is also found in wheat, barley, rye, bulgur, or any foods made with these ingredients like pizza dough.

Frequently asked questions about preventing diabetes

What food causes diabetes?

High carb foods causing diabetes

Consuming large amounts of refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, and trans or saturated fats has increased the risk for Type 2 Diabetes. 
This correlation is mainly due to the high-calorie content in these foods (typically 3x more). However, new studies suggest Type 2 diabetes can also be attributed to a delay in eating caloric food; therefore, consuming post-five-hour fasting glycemic load and carbohydrate intake resulted in a higher risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. Consequently, the prevention of this disease should be advocated by addressing lifestyle changes such as not skipping breakfast.

What vitamins help prevent diabetes?

Scientists have found that taking extra vitamin D3 is one of the most potent preventative measures for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
We know this because low vitamin D3 is characterized by an increased risk of prediabetes and type 2 blindness.
In a study in Taiwan, the researchers found that people who did not exercise were overweight or had too much body fat are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they don’t correct their vitamin D deficiency first. 
Researchers in Sweden followed 900 people over 20 years with low vitamin D levels but no other known risk factors for diabetes. They found that those who didn’t supplement developed the disease anyway. It was concluded that regular supplementation with vitamin D reduced the risk of diabetes.
A recent study in Finland followed 2,675 middle-aged men without known heart disease but with slightly high blood glucose scores who were at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes over 10 years. After taking into account factors such as weight gain and family history of diabetes, it was found that those who used vitamin D supplements at least once a week reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 45 percent compared with men who didn’t.
In general, those who take 1,000 to 5,000 IU a day of Vitamin D can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

What drink lowers blood sugar?

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Guava leaf tea lowers blood sugar levels because it’s a part of the Mediterranean-style plant-based diet.
Studies reveal that guava leaf tea has potent effects on glucose management, increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing postprandial hyperglycemia in experimental animal studies.
One study showed that guava leaves work two ways – they reduce transit time (so our digestion is faster), but they also slow down the stomach contractions, so the absorption is longer. Meaning if we eat foods with high glycemic loads, drinks like guava can help us feel fuller for longer. Additionally, guava does have natural sugars in it, so it will raise insulin production, which will also help regulate our blood sugar levels after meals.

Are eggs bad for prediabetes?

Eggs are good for people with prediabetes; they are among the foods with only a moderate impact on blood sugar levels.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that “eggs modify postprandial glucose and insulin responses irrespective of whether subjects were diabetic or had impaired glucose tolerance.”
A second study confirmed these findings by demonstrating that eggs “significantly reduce post-breakfast glycemia” in those who have pre-diabetic conditions. The authors also reported no adverse effects of egg consumption suggesting eggs should be included as breakfast items when attempting to lessen an individual’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

5 Healthy Recipes for Weightloss and Preventing Diabetes

Use these 5 recipes to help you get started with healthy eating today!

1. Healthy Oatmeal Smoothie For Weight Loss

This smoothie will help curb your cravings for a sweet snack while preventing diabetes too! You only need 4 ingredients and a blender to make it, so let’s take a look at this simple yet delicious recipe now:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • One ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
Oatmeal Smoothie for diabetes prevention and weightloss

How to cook:

Blend everything together in the blender and drink it immediately before it melts; enjoy up to three servings throughout the day. This is an excellent smoothie for weight loss, especially since it incorporates protein from eggs to help you burn more calories.

How to lose weight with this smoothie:

1. Drink it before breakfast and eat a bowl of oatmeal filled with berries on top while drinking 8 ounces of water; eating smaller meals throughout the day is much healthier than overeating!

2. Have strawberries, bananas, and green tea for dinner; enjoy a few snacks in between if you’re still hungry (preferably fruits).

3. Eat three servings daily; drink one at breakfast, another at lunch, or whenever you feel like snacking instead of reaching for processed foods, and the last one before dinner so you’ll feel satisfied until mealtime!

Note: This recipe contains yogurt, which can be problematic for people who are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease; don’t substitute it for soy, coconut, or almond milk if you are avoiding dairy.

2. Quinoa & Blueberry Pancakes For Weight Loss

These pancakes will fill you up until your next meal, and they’re perfect for preventing diabetes too! They only require a few ingredients and a skillet to cook, so let’s take a look at this simple yet healthy recipe now:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup quinoa flour (you can use whole grain pastry flour instead)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh blueberries

How to cook:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all ingredients except blueberries and mix until smooth; let the batter sit for about 5 minutes so it can thicken.

3. Spinach, Feta & Tomato Egg White Omelet For Weight Loss

This omelet is extremely easy to make thanks to its only 2 ingredients—egg whites and spinach—and you’ll be making it in under 10 minutes too! It makes a great breakfast or lunch dish that will keep you full until dinnertime. Let’s take a look at this recipe now:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 3 egg whites (or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute if you’re vegan)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese

How to cook:

Add all ingredients except feta cheese in a medium-sized pan coated with nonstick spray and switch the stove onto medium heat. Whisk constantly until eggs are completely cooked; once they’re fluffy and no longer runny on top, remove from heat and let them sit for about 4 minutes before adding feta cheese on top.

1 cup of spinach makes a dish that contains 177 calories along with 12 grams of protein! It also provides your body with 3 grams of fiber and many vitamins and minerals, which can help prevent diabetes 2!

The best part is you can enjoy this meal anytime since it’s low in carbs (about 7 grams per serving), but high in nutrients, so you’ll feel good while losing weight!

4. Steamed Mussels With Citrus & Basil For Weight Loss

This dish is extremely healthy and easy to make too! All you need to do is buy a bag of fresh mussels from the market, steam them in your kitchen with just 3 ingredients (that means no cooking!), blend them up, add some spices, then enjoy this low-calorie meal throughout the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh mussels
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Freshly squeezed juice from one lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

How to cook: Place all ingredients except basil into the blender and pulse until everything combines well; pour onto a pot of steamer where you will place a lid on top; let it sit for at least 10 minutes so that mussel meat cooks through with a delicious citrus flavor. Serve with fresh basil on top.

5. Kale, Shrimp & Avocado Salad For Weight Loss

This is another easy recipe that you can prepare in advance and enjoy at any time! You need about 5 ingredients and less than 10 minutes to make this dish, so let’s take a look at it now:

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 cups kale leaves (remove stems)
  • 1 cup shrimp
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to cook:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add all ingredients except black pepper; toss until everything combines well; serve with some freshly ground black pepper sprinkled.

Note: This recipe contains mayo which can be problematic for people who are trying to lose weight.

Conclusion

People with a family history of diabetes or those who are overweight have an increased risk of developing the disease. The good news is that diet, and lifestyle changes can significantly lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. In this blog post, I’ve shared some superfoods to add to your weekly grocery list, as well as 12 healthy tips for preventing diabetes in the first place. I hope these resources will help you take control of your health!

To learn more about how nutrition impacts blood sugar levels, please check out my best-selling eBook on 100 Superfoods For Diabetes Prevention. It includes all the foods I recommend eating if you want to avoid getting diabetic symptoms at any point in life. You can download it from here.

Dr Sharon Baisil MD
100 Best Foods for Diabetes

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