1. Whole Grains
Not all carbs are bad. Foods made with whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice, are sources of filling fiber (aiding weight loss, which can reduce your diabetes risk) and nutrients such as potassium, which helps the pancreas release insulin, the hormone that helps your cells use glucose for energy.
These sweet treats aren’t forbidden. Although they do contain sugar, the rate at which it enters the bloodstream is slowed by fiber. Fruits with a red, blue or purple hue might be particularly beneficial, because they’re loaded with anthocyanins, compounds that heighten your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
3. Fish, Eggs, Poultry
Carnivores, rejoice: These foods (poultry without the skin) are fair game in a diabetes-friendly diet. Why? Because they’re high in protein (result: full stomach) but typically low in fat (result: better weight management). Fatty fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which cut down on cardiovascular problems that can accompany diabetes.
4. Green Leafy Vegetables
Pretty much everyone, with or without diabetes, should eat a lot of veggies—ideally at least three servings per day—and green leafy types, including spinach, kale and such salad staples as romaine, should top the list. They have high fiber and water content that satiates your appetite on fewer calories, and they’re an important source of magnesium, which improves the body’s ability to turn glucose into energy and keep your metabolism humming (a process that is impaired in people with diabetes).
5. Beans, lentils and legumes
Beans, lentils and other legumes provide blood sugar–stabilising fiber and are a great source of protein and other nutrients, including potassium. They also are very low in saturated fat, making them a good substitute for meat.
6. Nuts and Seeds
Craving a snack? Grab a handful of nuts. Even though they’re high in calories, they’re also packed with filling protein and healthy fat that can help keep your weight in check. If you’re a fan of walnuts, you’re especially in luck, because their high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin
7. Healthy Fats
Because diabetes raises your risk of heart disease, it’s smart to avoid saturated fats (found in meat, butter and full-fat cheese and milk products) and trans fats (margarine), which raise your LDL cholesterol levels. Switching to heart-friendly monounsaturated fats (found in olive and canola oil and avocado) and polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil) will lower your LDL cholesterol levels.