Medically Reviewed By: Tom Iarocci, MD
A healthy diet is important for everyone. For diabetics, it is even more important since the risks of not eating healthy are often greater. The nutrients that diabetics should be looking for include calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A and E and fiber, but that is just the beginning. While nutritional supplements can help you get these extra nutrients, there are benefits of healthy whole foods that can’t be found in a bottle. Here are 11 simple foods and fruits that are readily available and can help you meet your goals for better nutrition and a healthier lifestyle.
Beans are a great source of potassium and magnesium. They also offer protein and are high in fiber. The variety of beans available in the store makes it easy for diabetics to choose an option that suits their preferences.
2.) Whole Grains
Diabetics should focus on including whole grains in their diet as they provide more health benefits than refined grains. Whole oats (oatmeal) and whole-grain barley are both good examples of whole grains that provide fiber and potassium. Most whole grains are also rich in zinc and vitamin E. It is best for diabetics to stay away from processed grains since their nutritional value is more limited.
Fish is a healthy food choice for diabetics as well. One should choose fish types that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon and trout are some favorable fish choices for diabetics.
4.) Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables should be included in every diabetic's diet. They are not only good for supporting overall health, but they also offer a host of valuable vitamins and are good sources of fiber. Spinach and kale are good suggestions in this category.
5.) Fat-Free Yogurt
People with diabetes should also consider having a serving of fat-free yogurt every day. The calcium found in yogurt can be beneficial in keeping bones and teeth strong. The healthy levels of carbohydrates are also helpful in keeping blood sugar at stable levels.
Berries are a great topping for that yogurt. One could choose strawberries, raspberries or blueberries depending on their preferences. Most types of berries are filled with healthy antioxidants.
7.) Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a good source for vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and are often a healthier option compared to regular potatoes, but preparation matters. And as always, watch your portion sizes and total carbs.
8.) Citrus Fruits
Oranges, lemons, limes and all citrus fruits are good choices for diabetics. They are packed with vitamin C and a healthy dose of fiber.
Asparagus is not only renown for its great taste, but is also rich in antioxidants. It contains minimal calories making it a healthy option for diabetics. The antioxidants in this popular vegetable make it easy for a person to deal with the severe health risks associated with diabetes.
Walnuts and other types of nuts are highly nutritious and are a good food source for diabetics. Nuts are rich in magnesium and other minerals that are appropriate for diabetics. Nuts deliver a lot of calories because of their fat content, however, so moderation is key.
For a good dose of vitamins E and C, as well as iron, diabetics should include tomatoes in their diets. You also get potassium and lycopene, which may have cardiovascular benefits. Tomatoes are easy to prepare and can be incorporated in most meals.
These foods are readily available and provide the necessary nutrients for diabetics. For more on the importance of diet and nutrition in type 2 diabetes, and to further explore which foods may work best for you, work with your doctor and nutritionist, who can help you develop an individualized plan.