Plant-based diet for diabetes

Nutrition guide for diabetes

Suitable food for diabetes

What foods should diabetics eat? Food plays an important role in controlling and preventing diabetes. Ingesting adequate food, along with maintaining an ideal weight, and the practice of some physical exercise is the appropriate way to prevent or control the high blood sugar levels.

It is important that the diabetic person goes to the doctor or dietitian to provide him/ her with an adequate diet.

What foods should diabetics eat?

We can say that these are the main suitable foods for the diabetic diet:

Foods containing fiber are good for diabetes

Fiber prevents the rapid absorption of sugar. Fruits are rich in soluble fiber which, besides preventing the rapid absorption of sugar, free sugar gradually.

Among them the most interesting ones are:

Because their fiber content, pears should be included in the diet for diabetes
  • Apples or pears: They deserve special attention, since they are very rich in pectin, a non soluble fiber, and minerals magnesium and zinc, which stimulates insulin production. They contain sugars, very assimilable sugars, mainly fructose.
  • Dragon fruit: Rich in pectin fiber
  • Psyllium seeds or zaragatona are very interesting because they are very rich mucilages, another type of vegetable fiber.
  •  Guanabana or soursop (Annona muricata) The ethanol extract of soursop is hypoglycemic (it reduces the concentration of sugar in the blood), according to scientific studies. These conditions authorize it as a very suitable fruit in the diet for diabetes.
  • Vegetables rich in fiber: Such as artichokes, spinach, lettuce, chard, thistles, cabbage, etc. This foods doesn’t contain carboydrates and reduce de glycemic index of cereals and beans. For this reason, it is recommended to combine vegetables with potatoes, rice, oats, and foods containing sugars.


Artichokes are recommended for diabetes

Foods containing sugars that the body absorbs gradually

oats flakes
Oats flakes sugar is progressivily released in the blood. This helps keep sugar levels steady.

This makes the sugar level in blood can be kept lower and more constant than when eating foods that release their sugars rapidly. Within this group we have:

  • Legumes (soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc). It is recommended to consume more legumes than cereals (rice, pasta, etc.). The high fiber content of pulses regulates the absorption of its carbohydrates.
  • Whole grains (bread, rice, pasta, etc).
  • Whole oats: They are specially rich in soluble fiber. Their usual intake reduces cholesterol in the blood and prevents sugars from food to be absorbed quickly. (More information)
  • Whole bread, with similar properties.

Foods that prevent the rapid absorption of sugars

These are foods rich in soluble fiber, which, in addition to slowing the absorption of sugars, help to eliminate cholesterol a disease that can increase the risk of diabetes. Among these foods, those rich in complex carbohydrates (starches) are the most suitable. Among them all, we will mention:

Foods that stimulate insulin production

Brewer's yeast
Brewer’s yeast is rich in vitamins B, magnesium and chromium, so it can stimulate insulin production

These foods are rich in minerals such as zinc (celery, asparagus, etc.), magnesium (beans, spinach, purslane, or wheat germ) or chromium (brewer’s yeast)

Protein low fat foods

They help lower cholesterol and reduce weight, which favors lower levels of sugar in the blood. The main plant foods within this group are:

  • Legumes or their derivatives such as tofu. Tofu and beans (lentils, chickpeas, etc.) are specially advised for diabetes. They are a good source of protein and its fiber regulates the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Non vegetarian people should eat lean meats as a source of protein (especially chicken or turkey).
  • Milk and its derivatives (yogurts, cheese, kefir, etc) should be skimmed.

Vegetables and low-fat foods especially recommended in the diet for diabetes

  • Foods containing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids: They help lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation. Good sources of these acids are:
    • Blue fish (sardine, salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc)
    • Flaxseed.
    • Some vegetables contain fatty acids in a lower proportion such as strawberries, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts or cabbage.

Non suitable food for diabetes

What foods should diabetics not eat?

Sugary products are not good for diabetes

People with diabetes should be specially careful with sugary food, particularly those with a rapid absorption, and with saturated fat food.

Sweets and diabetes

Control of sweets and other carbohydrates (sugars, fibers, and starches) have to be done taking into account how fast they are absorbed.

To take control of body levels of glucose, people with diabetes you should control fast absorbing – carbohydrates, that should be avoided or eaten occasionally and moderately.

High-glycemic carbohydrates

People with diabetes must avoid the intake of high glycemic carbohydrates, specially those whose

This include:

  • Potatoes
  • French fries
  • Bananas
  • White bread or derivatives from refined wheat (white pasta) or refined cereals (barley, oats, couscous.)
  • Refined breakfast cereals
  • White rice
  • Sugar
  • Sugar containing soft drinks.
  • Ice-creams
  • Pastry

Fats and diabetes…

punto rojoMore information about diabetes

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

2 May, 2024

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