Foods You Should Be Eating If You Are Diabetic

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Dr Sarah Brewer shares her expert advice for type 2 diabetics, discussing beneficial foods and items with hidden sugars to avoid. Dr Sarah Brewer works on the medical advisory board for CuraLin, the all-natural supplement that helps people with diabetes balance their blood sugar levels, naturally.

Dr Sarah Brewer

Dr Sarah Brewer

Beneficial Foods for Diabetes:

Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and antioxidant flavonol glycosides. Eating a handful (68g/2.4oz) per day lowers  LDL-cholesterol and raises HDL-cholesterol enough to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by  12%.

Apples are one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidant flavonoids. Flavonoids can prevent the progressive impairment of pancreatic beta-cell function due to oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes. A study involving 38,000 women found those eating at least one apple a day were 28% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those eating no apples.

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Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidant flavanols. Only select dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa solids, or drink unsweetened cocoa. 100g/3.5oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) per day can lower blood pressure by 5.1/1.8 mmHg. Dark chocolate has also been shown to decrease insulin resistance. Cocoa extracts can significantly lower glucose levels.

Cinnamon contains substances that promote secretion of insulin from beta-cells in the laboratory. 1g per day can improve blood glucose levels by 10% in people with type 2 diabetes.

Yellow/orange fruit & vegetables are rich sources of antioxidant carotenoids (eg carrots, sweet potatoes, guava, mango, pumpkin). People with the highest intake of carotenoids are half as likely to have poor glucose tolerance than those with low intakes.

Garlic is a source of allicin which lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and makes arteries more elastic, plus ajoene which helps to lower blood glucose levels. Aged garlic also contains potent antioxidants such as s-allylcysteine. 2.7g/0.1oz fresh cloves per day (two to three cloves) can lower LDL-cholesterol enough to cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 25%. Ajoene can lower glucose levels by 25%. Aged garlic inhibits formation of glycated proteins. Recent research suggests that garlic oil improves glucose tolerance and can decrease protein loss through the kidneys.

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Ginger contains gingerol, zingerone and essential oils. Gingerol reduces blood clotting, boosts circulation and lowers blood pressure. Research suggests ginger increases insulin secretion and increases insulin-sensitive glucose uptake in fat (adipose) cells. Preliminary research suggests it may also reduce diabetes-related kidney damage.

Grapefruit contain antioxidants, with red grapefruit having a higher flavonoid and anthocyanin content. Grapefruit interacts with several prescription drugs, including statins – check medication insert sheets. Both blond and red grapefruit lower LDL-cholesterol (7% for blond, 15% for red), while red grapefruit lowers triglycerides by 17% (5% for blond).

Grapes, especially black grapes, are rich sources of antioxidant anthocyanadins such as resveratrol. Compounds found in red grapes can significantly increase levels of protective, antioxidant glutathione in pancreatic cells and increase insulin production in type 2 diabetes.

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Jerusalem artichokes contain  the enzyme, inulase, and a complex sugar, inulin, made up of units of fructose giving it a low glycemic index. Inulin and inulase may help to stabilize glucose levels, especially when combined with higher GI foods.

Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants: vitamin E carotenoids and polyphenols. A diet rich in olive oil has been shown to reduce blood pressure, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 25%.  Following an olive-oil rich Mediterranean-style diet is predicted to prevent over 90% of type 2 diabetes, 80% of coronary heart disease and 70% of stroke when combined with regular physical activity and not smoking.

Oranges – especially the red ‘blood’ oranges have high levels of antioxidant vitamin C, anthocyanidins and flavones. Cyanidin-3-glucoside and delphinidin-3-glucoside found in red oranges were recently shown to promote insulin secretion to improve glucose tolerance.

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Pomegranate is an unusually rich source of polyphenols and anthocyanin antioxidants. Pomegranate juice lowers LDL-cholesterol and can reduce systolic blood pressure by 5% when drunk daily. Consumption of pomegranate juice does not worsen glucose tolerance but significantly raises the antioxidant content of immune cells.

Spices contain a variety of oils and antioxidants that are beneficial for glucose control. Fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seed, curry leaves are all reputed to have hypoglycemic effects.

Tea – especially green and white tea – contains antioxidant catechins that increase insulin sensitivity. People with type 2 diabetes who drank 1500 ml oolong tea daily for 30 days reduce blood glucose levels by 30% compared with a similar period when drinking water. A study involving 38,000 women found that those drinking 4 or more cups of tea per day were 27% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those drinking none.

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Tofu made from isoflavone-rich soy protein. Silken, Japanese-style tofu (kinugoshi) includes a seaweed extract called nigari. Among postmenopausal women, those consuming the most tofu and other soy products were half as likely to develop glycosuria (sugar in the urine) than those consuming the least. A soy-based diet has been shown to improve kidney function in both young adults with type 1 diabetes, and older people with type 2 diabetes, as well as lowering LDL-cholesterol by 9%.

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant red pigment which is released in higher quantities when cooked. Lycopene reduces platelet clumping to help protect against the abnormal blood clotting linked with heart attack and stroke. Drinking tomato juice can protect against oxidation of LDL-cholesterol almost as effectively as high dose vitamin E supplements in people with type 2 diabetes.

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Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that have a beneficial effect on blood fat levels. Regular consumption of 30g walnuts per day can lower LDL-cholesterol enough to decrease the risk of a heart attack by 30% – 50% . Eating 84g walnuts daily for four weeks reduced total cholesterol level by 12% more than a control group not eating walnuts; LDL-cholesterol was reduced by 16%.

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Dr Brewer recommends joining the CuraLin Facebook Community:

If you or friends are diabetic then you might be dealing with both the physical impact of type 2 diabetes as well as the mental side of it too. From doctor appointments, to restricting your diet, the restraints and worries of the disease can have a huge effect. Luckily, online communities exist that offer extra support from individuals who are experiencing the same thing! CuraLin has a wonderful community on Facebook with over 14,000 members who are sharing their successes and tips. Search ‘winning type 2 diabetes together’ on Facebook to join.

Curalin tub

CuraLin (RRP £59.00) is a specially tailored natural formula that promotes healthy and balanced blood sugar levels and insulin production in those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. The nutritional supplement is made from a mixture of ten natural ingredients, which work with the body to help balance the blood sugar profile. Dr Sarah Brewer recommends CuraLin for those suffering with type 2 diabetes due to the positive effects reported and measured by its users. Dr Brewer explains, “The blend of 10 Ayurvedic herbs within CuraLin have a range of beneficial effects on glucose control and metabolism. As a result, users report that their glucose control quickly improves and, in some cases, normalises within 4 weeks. Users also report reduced cravings for sweet food, and experience improved energy, sleep and general quality of life.”


Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!