Whenever the discussion on ‘what foods cure diabetes’ takes a serious turn, myths and doubts often cloud the minds of a diabetic. There are so many rumors (both online and offline) on which foods to eat and which ones to avoid that a diabetic often gets confused.
Simply put, information overload on the correct diet for diabetics is what makes things worse. Online platforms are flooded with articles based on diabetic friendly diet. Most have been rehashed.
In such a scenario, the original content needs to be based on solid grounds. If the base article offers half-baked information then, the remainder write-ups (its offshoots) cannot provide justice to their article headline.
In this write-up, I shall try and approach the diet plan for a diabetic in a non-rehashed manner. The idea is to provide a detailed and fresh perspective to a diabetic food plan. After all, all a diabetic needs is basic knowledge to reduce insulin spike.
So, here goes!
What Foods Cure Diabetes Article Contents:
1) What can I Eat to Cure Diabetes?
2) What Foods Reverse Diabetes?
3) What Foods Help Prevent Diabetes?
4) What Should a Food Plate of a Diabetic Look Like?
5) What Foods should be Avoided by a Diabetic?
6) Conclusive Analysis
What can I Eat to Cure Diabetes?
When it comes to treating diabetes then, healthy lifestyle changes are best suggested. Medications are not the best means for treating diabetes.
This is owing to the simple fact that there is no medicine that has been known to cure diabetes permanently. Containing the disease is one thing. Curing it completely is not possible (at least for those suffering from Type 1 diabetes).
Type 2 diabetes is treatable and can even be cured completely. This (permanent treatment for Type 2 diabetes) has been claimed by Ayurveda. On the other hand, medical science has yet to affirm this fact.
So, treatment of Type 2 diabetes still hangs tentatively (divided between Ayurveda and traditional medical science). Nonetheless, your food choices determine how your diabetes shall treat you.
If you eat a diabetic friendly diet then, your insulin levels shall remain steadfast. On the other hand, if you consume a diet that is not friendly with diabetics then, your blood sugar levels shall always worry you.
Here are the foods a diabetic can consume without a fuss:
Consume artichoke to maintain optimal blood sugar levels in your body. It is high in potassium, Vitamin C, Magnesium and fiber. Artichoke has high amounts of iron content as well. It has high levels of fiber that helps slow down the natural digestion process.
The second food that you need to consume is baby marrow. Ayurveda claims that this vegetable is a boon for diabetics. It is high in potassium, sodium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and magnesium.
French beans are yet another food that diabetics should consume. Commonly known as snap beans, this vegetable is a rich source of potassium, fiber, iron, Vitamin C and Magnesium. It is a boon for diabetics as it controls your cholesterol levels.
Just like an onion, sparrow grass is an offshoot of a flowering plant. Grown in colder areas such as the European countries, sparrow grass is high in potassium and protein. It is good for diabetics as it helps regulate thyroid functionality.
Squashes such as yellow crookneck or globe crookneck are yet another preferred food choice for diabetics. This plant is native to South America. Squashes have nutty flavors and are rich in Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene.
Popularly known as avocadoes, Persea Americana is grown primarily in the United States. It is backed by a science that dates 500 centuries.
Founded and used by Mesoamerican tribal people in the United States, avocados have been used as a staple diet. It has now become a health boon for diabetics.
It is claimed that avocados contain high amounts of monosaturated fats. It also contains high amounts of fiber and folate. The end result is controlled blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels and a stronger heart.
Common to almost every household across the world, onions are blessed with potassium, Vitamin C and antioxidants. They help in controlling your blood pressure and improve your digestion.
Another diabetic friendly food item is cabbage. It is derived from a leafy plant and is fortified with Vitamin C, Vitamin K and antioxidants.
It lowers blood pressure, improves digestion and manages cholesterol levels in diabetics. Brassica oleracea has anti-inflammatory properties and it helps lower your cholesterol levels. This in turn helps maintain a healthy heart.
Yet another superfood that helps control diabetes is olives. It is grown in the Mediterranean area. Olives are good for diabetics because they are fortified with healthy fats, fibers and antioxidants.
Olives are also rich in Vitamin E, sodium, copper, iron and calcium. It also contains antioxidants such as Hydroxytyrosol, Quercetin, Oleuropein and Tyrosol.
Diabetics may consume green or black version of olives. They may even consume California olive without a fuss. Consuming olives shall help you control your blood sugar levels.
Another vegetable that is considered diabetic friendly is cauliflower. It is from a vegetable family Brassicaceae and is a storehouse of nutrients.
Cauliflower is fortified with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and has ample fiber content. The presence of folate and Pantothenic acid makes cauliflower healthy for diabetics.
Various essential minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese enable a diabetic to perform various bodily functions without a hitch.
Popularly known as mushrooms, this fungus is a boon for diabetes patients. It is fortified with pantothenic acid and has ample quantities of riboflavin. It also contains niacin.
Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin D. They are also rich in potassium and magnesium. It is a low calorie food that is fortified with zinc.
It helps a diabetic improve their immunity. Mushrooms also assist in strengthening your bones. It aids weight loss and improves heart health. Mushrooms also maintain healthy digestive system in diabetics (owing to their high fiber content).
Another food meant for diabetes patients is celery. It is a plant that is usually grown in marshes. Apium graveolens is great for diabetics because it has a low glycaemic index.
It is loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. Apium graveolens contains less sodium and high amounts of potassium. It is also rich in folate and is high in fiber content.
Vegetable Derived from Palm Trees:
Last but not the least, palm trees have a special white colored vegetable that is considered good for diabetics. It is popularly known as heart of palm.
It is rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, zinc and copper. Heart of palm is also high in fiber and low in calories. When consumed by a diabetic, this vegetable maintains optimal weight, lowers cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
What Foods Reverse Diabetes?
Reversing diabetes may be too far-fetched an idea. Nonetheless, it needs to be noted that by making changes to your existing lifestyle, you can control diabetes. Consuming a healthy and diabetic friendly diet is a part and parcel of this process.
It should also be noted that Type 1 Diabetes is incurable. On the other hand, Type 2 Diabetes can be cured and even reversed. While traditional medical science denies this, Ayurveda claims it can be done.
Here are a few foods that can actually reverse Type 2 Diabetes:
This is a fatty fish that is fortified with Docosahexaenoic acid. Salmon also contains high amounts of Eicosapentaenoic acid. Apart from being a storehouse of proteins, salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids.
In the longer run, the fish is helpful for reducing your cholesterol levels. Your arteries are cleansed and your blood pressure levels controlled.
The high quality fat in Salmon also helps in promoting good health of your arteries and vessels. At the same time, salmon is anti-inflammatory in nature.
If you (a person suffering from diabetes) cannot get hold of salmon then, opt for Anchovies instead. This is also a fish type that is quite similar to salmon.
Boiled or Poached Eggs:
Eggs in any form are considered a boon for diabetics. They are low in calories (less than 85 calories per egg). It is fortified with powerful antioxidants such as zeaxanthin.
It also contains lutein that helps develop your eyes. Eggs have Vitamin A and Vitamin E. They also contain folate and are rich source of biotin. Each egg has 6 grams of protein in it.
So, this is a Superfood that is a boon for people with diabetes. It has healthy fat to keep cholesterol in check. Eggs are great for maintaining insulin production. They are also great for the skin and hair.
Walnuts are Great for Diabetes:
Regardless of whether you suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, nuts and seeds tend to help reverse your condition. Well, maybe they cannot cure you but nuts can control your blood sugar levels considerably.
Psittacosis, cashew, almonds, pecans and walnuts are packed with powerful antioxidants. They are also a storehouse of vitamins and minerals.
As nuts are low in calories, they enable a diabetic to feel full without forcing him/her to gain eight. They reduce inflammation, maintain optimal digestion and lower cholesterol levels.
Never Skip Flax Seeds:
Flax seeds are superfoods for a diabetic. They have low GI index and are a storehouse of nutrients. They are a storehouse of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and protein.
Flax seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber that helps in digestion. Along with chia seeds, flax seeds work wonders in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics.
They also reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood flow. By cleansing the arteries and blood vessels, both chia and flax seeds avoid accumulation of plaque within them. This helps maintain optimal heart health.
Spices are a Boon for Diabetes:
There are certain types of spices that reduce blood sugar levels by activating the pancreas. These include cinnamon and turmeric. Both are spices native to the Indian kitchen.
They improve your hemoglobin count and reduce inflammation. Cinnamon is high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Turmeric is high in iron, Vitamin C, B6 and magnesium.
So together, cinnamon and turmeric can keep your blood sugar levels in check. If you lead a healthy lifestyle then, they might as well cure Type 2 diabetes completely.
Skipping Greek Yogurt is an Offense for Diabetics:
Green yogurt is super-low in calories and high in potassium. It also contains adequate amounts of calcium and is fortified with Vitamin B6. It also contains Cobalamin and has traces of magnesium.
The reason why people with diabetes should consume Greek yogurt is because it is high in protein, great for metabolism and laced with healthy gut bacteria.
Besides helping diabetics lose weight and maintain optimal blood sugar levels, Greek yogurt also improves cognitive functions. This is owing to its ability to influence dopamine and serotonin.
What Foods Help Prevent Diabetes?
When the talk is about diabetes prevention then, your diet definitely has a major role to play. Basically, what you eat determines how your body reacts to insulin spikes.
While there are numerous reasons why you develop diabetes, the main ones include obesity, unhealthy lifestyle, genetics and high levels of unhealthy fats in your body. Unhealthy fats tend to develop high cholesterol levels in the human body.
While you may not be able to cure diabetes via diet, you can certainly prevent its onset.
Here are a few food items that you need to keep in your diet to remain ‘diabetes free’ for life:
A Cup of Fragaria ananassa Everyday:
Popularly known as strawberries, this sweet and brightly red fruit is native to Europe. Loaded with Vitamin C, B9 and antioxidants, strawberries are excellent for keeping your blood sugar levels in control.
Strawberries are also high in potassium and manganese. They are also fortified with ellagic acid and ellagtitannis. These improve your digestion and improve natural immunity.
Strawberries have been known to slow the pace at which glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. This in turn helps keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Whole Grains instead of Refined Flour:
Diabetics should consume whole grains instead of refined grains. Some examples are quinoa, buckwheat, cornflour, sorghum etc. When you consume whole grains, your digestion slows down.
The high fiber content in whole grains keeps you feeling full. This avoids unnecessary snacking. Mineral, vitamins and proteins in whole grains strengthen your immune system.
Refined flour and foods do just the opposite. They shall jeopardize your immunity and reduce your chances of maintaining optimal blood sugar levels.
Stick with Low GI Foods:
If you do not wish to develop diabetes then, you need to consume foods that have low glycaemic index. At the same time, you need to minimize the consumption of starchy foods.
Some classic examples of starchy foods that we all commonly consume daily are bread, pasta and potatoes. These tend to spike your insulin and de-stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Instead of consuming starchy foods, you should try your hand at cabbage, broccoli. In fact, you may even consume green leafy vegetables. Doing so shall help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Consume Beans and Lentil:
If you are a borderline diabetic then, you should consume beans and chickpeas often. These are not only fortified with vitamins, minerals and proteins but they also have high fiber content.
The spike in insulin reduces by as much as 30% when you consume lentil. Even if you include high starchy food (such as rice) with lentil, the insulin spike is reduced.
I (LeanAndFit reviewer) have found that pulses tend to slow the overall digestive process. When sugars are released in a slow yet steady manner, they tend to reduce ‘glucose rush’ in the bloodstream.
Besides, the high amounts of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins in pulses, keep your vital organs functioning optimally.
Consume Healthy Fats Only:
While healthy fats are highly recommended for diabetics, unhealthy fats are to be avoided at all costs. Over here, the idea is to consume fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados and avoid eating trans fats.
Some classic examples of unhealthy fats include pasteurized butter, shortening, mayonnaise, hydrogenated oils, margarine and fast food. When you consume healthy fats, they shall strengthen your blood vessels and arteries.
If (on the other hand) you consume trans-fats then, your weight shall increase. You shall also develop high cholesterol levels. Basically, your heart health shall suffer and your blood sugar levels shall be out of control.
What Should a Food Plate of a Diabetic Look Like?
When you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to get careful. After all, you would not like your blood sugar levels to flare out of control. You have to divide your plate into smaller portions.
An ideal portion serving in a plate for diabetics may look something like this –
>>> One quarter of a plate shall contain salads and easily digested carbohydrates. These need to be non-starchy and highly nutritious. Tomatoes, olives, sprouted lentil etc. are examples of the same.
>>> One quarter of the plate should contain lean protein. It could be baked fish, eggs, pulses etc.
>>> One quarter of the plate should comprise of digestive aids. A classic example of the same is Greek Yogurt.
>>> The last quarter shall contain a healthy juice. Kale and spinach juice is best suited for a diabetic.
More Elaboration on the Ideal Diabetic Food Plate:
While we have discussed the ideal foods that can prevent diabetes, if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes then, here is your ideal portion serving. This is what your food plate should contain.
The Easy to Digest Vegetables:
This could also be termed as a portion of the plate that provides energy to a diabetic. It should comprise of vegetables that are high in fiber and low in calories.
Basically, these foods are non-starchy in nature and blessed with low GI index. Ideal examples include broccoli, mushroom, cabbage, okra, peas, green beans, carrots, celery, and asparagus.
You may leave some and consume others. Basically, you have the choice of picking and choosing the above listed vegetables as per your personal discretion.
The Salad Bar:
A diabetic does need salads in order to reap the desired benefits from his/her diet. Salads not only add variety to your diet, they also help you retain good health. They are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
An ideal plate for a diabetic containing salad includes endive, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, baby tomatoes and snow peas. Basically add variety to your salad bar.
When you do so, you automatically manage to get all the essential macronutrients that your body needs without spiking your insulin.
The Protein Portion of a Diabetic:
The protein serving for a diabetic is of vital importance. Proteins are vital for enabling your body to repair and re-build itself. The proteins for a diabetic are low in calories and easy to digest.
Classic examples of proteins for diabetics include lean meats, eggs, pulses and fish. You may include lean beef, chicken breast, salmon, swordfish, lean pork, cottage cheese and turkey. Nut batter and tofu are also good alternatives to traditional meats.
Carbohydrates for Diabetics:
While diabetes patients are scared of consuming carbohydrates, you need them to allow your body to function optimally. Choosing your carbohydrates is vital. They should provide you with energy and have low in glycemic index.
An ideal carbohydrate based serving for a diabetic may include brown rice, quinoa, oats, pumpkin, peas, kidney/black beans, sweet potato etc.
Ideal Beverages for a Diabetic:
In order to avoid insulin spike, a diabetic should avoid drinks that are laced with sugar and artificial flavors. Classic examples of the same include fizz based drinks.
A diabetic can however consume chamomile/ginger/green tea. Warm water is highly recommended. You may also drink normal tea or coffee as long as it does not contain sugar. Avoid diet sodas but drink them once in a while (if your craving levels are too high).
Healthy Fats for a Diabetic:
A small portion of a diabetic plate may contain healthy fats. We have discussed about these in great detail in the above sub-headers. Nonetheless just to reiterate, healthy fats for diabetics include nuts, seeds and fatty fish.
So, you may consume a handful of almonds, cashew, walnut or salmon. You may also include unpasteurized butter and Greek yogurt into your meal plans.
What Foods should be Avoided by a Diabetic?
All this while we have been discussing which foods should a diabetic eat in order to remain healthy. Now, it is time to discuss which foods a diabetic should completely avoid.
If you fail to do so then, as a diabetic, your health shall be negatively impacted. In fact, you may never really be able to maintain optimal blood sugar levels despite consuming medications & other therapies.
Foods that a diabetic should stop eating completely:
Proteins a Diabetic Should Completely Avoid:
A diabetes patient needs to consume proteins. This is vital for the repair of muscle and tissues. Nonetheless, high calorie proteins shall do you more harm than good.
@ Avoid eating red meats such as beef and pork.
@ If you like to eat pork then, ensure it is skin-free. It should not be fried but grilled.
@ Meats laced with sodium should be avoided. Even meats that are deep fried should be avoided.
@ While bacon does taste good, it is processed. So, avoid it.
@ Fast foods such as hot dogs should be avoided.
@ Chicken with the skin should be avoided. This goes with all avian friends that can be consumed by humans.
@ The fatty part of the meat such as the T-bones and flank should be avoided completely by diabetics.
Carbohydrates a Diabetic Should Completely Avoid:
@ Starchy carbohydrates need to be avoided. You also need to avoid consuming carbohydrates that are sugar based.
@ Processed carbohydrates such as noodles, bun, pasta, crackers, cereals etc. need to be avoided.
@ Avoid bakery items and do not consume any product made from refined flour.
@ Carbohydrates based on sugar need to be avoided. These include sauces, artificial sweeteners, maple syrup, processed juices, candy etc.
@ Cakes, cookies, donuts and condiments need to be avoided as far as possible.
Fats a Diabetic Should Completely Avoid:
@ Unhealthy saturated fats should be avoided by diabetics. Fats are important as they help absorb vitamins yet, only healthy fats should be preferred.
@ You should avoid butter and lard. Palm oil too needs to be avoided as far as possible.
@ Mayonnaise and dressings made from processed fats need to be avoided by diabetics.
@ Burgers, fries, deep fried chips, dressings for salads made from processed fats and fast foods should be done away with.
@ Ready-to-eat meals should be avoided at all costs. Basically any meal that is fortified with preservatives and acidity regulators should be avoided by diabetics.
Dairy Products a Diabetic Should Completely Avoid:
@ Full cream milk should be avoided by a diabetic.
@ Curd made from whole milk is to be done away with.
@ Yogurt that is either flavored or fortified with added sugar should not be consumed by a diabetic.
@ Cheese made from full cream milk should be avoided.
@ Consumption of cottage cheese is ‘ok’ but it needs to be done in moderate quantities only.
Beverages a Diabetic Should Completely Avoid:
@ Fizz based drinks such as coco cola, fanta, sprite etc. need to be avoided by diabetics.
@ Any drink that has a sweetener should be done away with.
@ Diabetics should avoid drinking wines and alcohol based drinks.
@ Tea, coffee or any other drink that contains processed sugar should be avoided.
When you wish to control diabetes then, you should do so via choosing healthy foods over unhealthy ones. While foods alone may not be able to treat your diabetes completely, they surely can contain it from jeopardizing your life.
It does take effort (from your end) to quit eating what you really like. Nonetheless, after a while, the new food choices tend to stick with your pallet. Sooner than expected, you shall forget all about the fast foods and fizz drinks you once loved.
So, stick with the healthy diet plan and take complete control over your spiking blood glucose levels.