10 Best Foods To Prevent and Control Diabetes

Below are 10 best foods to prevent and control diabetes:

1. Bitter gourd (bitter melon)

Bitter gourd (bitter melon) contains compounds that help lower blood glucose and fats levels in the body. Bitter gourd juice is an excellent beverage for people with diabetes. In fact, it is more effective than some second-line drugs for controlling glucose levels in the body. 

It works through various mechanisms to lower blood sugar levels. It limits the breakdown of the carbohydrates into glucose by inhibiting the carbohydrates metabolizing enzymes.

Furthermore, bitter gourd enhances the glucose uptake by tissues and increases glucose metabolism. It repairs damaged beta cells that make insulin and prevents their death. It contains chemical compounds such as charantin and polypeptide-p that exhibit a hypoglycemic effect. 

Polypeptide-p or p-insulin is an insulin-like protein. It works by mimicking the action of insulin in the body and is very effective in controlling sugar levels in patients with type-1 diabetes.

Bitter gourd helps in treating obesity by boosting the system and enzymes responsible for converting fat into energy. It prevents the accumulation of fat in the body, which prevents fat-induced insulin resistance. In season, you must eat at least one medium bitter gourd or 50-100 ml of bitter gourd juice in a day.

Bitter gourd could be your magic pill to reduce your dependence on your anti-diabetic medications. If you are healthy and young but have a family history of diabetes, then you should start eating bitter gourd to prevent diabetes in the future.

2. Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds are the second most effective food, after bitter gourd to control diabetes naturally. Regular consumption of fenugreek seeds effectively prevents the development of diabetes. Fenugreek seeds increase glucose-induced insulin release. 

The research finding shows that after consumption of fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water, significantly decrease fasting blood sugar, triglyceride, and LDL-cholesterol up to 30%. If you have diabetes, you should eat fenugreek seeds every day.

But before you start eating them, consult your doctor because regular consumption of fenugreek seed decreases your blood sugar levels, and you need a lesser dose of your prescribed drug. Soak fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight. The next morning on an empty stomach, chew the seeds and drink the water in which the seeds were soaked.

3. Bottle gourd/Calabash

Consumption of bottle gourd helps reduce blood sugar levels. Bottle gourd is very low in calories and high in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. It contains almost 90% water, which makes it a choice of vegetable in diabetes.

Bottle gourd helps prevent the development of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. It inhibits the action of an enzyme called protein-tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) 1B, which improves glucose metabolism and enhances insulin sensitivity without causing lipid accumulation in the liver and thus helps in obesity control.

Make sure you don’t eat bitter bottle gourd. First taste a piece of bottle gourd before cooking, discard it if it is bitter because bitter bottle gourd is not edible and can even cause toxicity and stomach ulcers.

4. Barley

If you want to prevent diabetes, start eating barley regularly. The lower consumption of dietary fiber is associated with the increasing prevalence of diabetes. Barley is an excellent source of soluble fiber along with antioxidant minerals such as magnesium, copper, selenium, and chromium

Research shows long term consumption of barley is effective in lowering blood glucose levels by mimicking the mechanism of action of your first line anti-diabetes drugs. It decreases insulin resistance and interferes with carbohydrates absorption and metabolism. Carbohydrates in barley convert into glucose gradually, without rapidly increasing blood glucose levels. 

It increases a hormone that helps reduce chronic low-grade inflammation. Barley is an incredible preventive food for those who are at high risk for developing diabetes. You can grind barley and make flour. Add barley flour in wheat flour whenever you make chapati or bread; you can even add barley flour to your cake batter.

5. Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and avocado can be advantageous for those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who are trying to lose or maintain weight. High-monounsaturated-fat diets cause a modest increase in HDL-cholesterol levels, and lower LDL-cholesterol levels, as well as improve glycemic control

Oil containing monounsaturated fats is the choice of oil in diabetes, so choose your cooking oil accordingly. You can protect your heart by replacing saturated fats in your diet with monounsaturated fats. 

Regular consumption of monounsaturated fats prevents insulin resistance and accumulation of abdominal fat by increasing your fat-burning hormone adiponectin. Keep in mind that oils are high in calories, even the healthiest oils, so consume them in moderation. 

Your objective should be to replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats. Keep the intake of polyunsaturated fats (soybean oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil) less than 10% of total energy consumption. Your total fat consumption should be less than 35% of total energy consumption (from carbohydrates and protein).

6. Legumes

Legumes are a superfood for people with diabetes. Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and peas help manage and reduce type 2 diabetes risk. They are low on the glycemic index (GI) scale despite containing carbohydrates. 

They increase serum adiponectin concentrations in type 2 diabetic patients that help in preventing abdominal fat and reducing the risk of insulin resistance. 

Always choose dried beans over canned beans because lots of salt is added in canned products, which can increase your risk of high blood pressure. If you must use canned beans, be sure to rinse them to get rid of salt as much as possible.

7. Zinc

Zinc plays an antioxidant role in type 2 diabetes. It improves oxidative stress by reducing chronic hyperglycemia. It has been seen that people with diabetes have lower levels of zinc than people without diabetes. 

Zinc deficiency may lead to the development of diabetes. It is because zinc plays a crucial part in insulin metabolism; it helps in the production and secretion of insulin. As zinc strengthens the immune system, it protects beta cells from destruction.

Moreover, zinc prevents diabetes by increasing the levels of adiponectin hormone in the body that helps reduce weight. Studies suggest zinc-rich foods help lower blood sugar levels in type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes. Foods that are high in zinc are cashew nuts, sesame seeds, chickpeas, kidney beans, milk, and oats.

8. Fruits

Because of the sugar content, generally, people with diabetes avoid fruits, which is not right. Fruits are full of soluble fibre and don’t contain free sugar that is found in chocolate, cakes, biscuits, fruit juices, and cold drinks. 

So, if you want to cut down the sugar intake, avoid fruit juices, sugary drinks, and cakes than whole fruits. You can easily have one large banana or a medium apple or one

slice of papaya in a day.

9. Low-fat yogurt

Probiotics help to reduce inflammation in the body. Yogurt is the best example of probiotics. Yogurt is low in carbohydrates and contains a good amount of protein, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. It reduces fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, lipid profile, and other cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Probiotics control the glycemic condition by lowering insulin resistance and decreasing the production of inflammatory markers. People who eat yogurt have better control over blood sugar in comparison to those who do not eat yogurt. Choose low-fat yogurt over regular yogurt to prevent weight gain.

10. Indian gooseberry/ Amla

The Indian gooseberry is the richest source of vitamin C, containing 20 times more vitamin C than that of orange. Vitamin C lowers blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes and protects your heart. Indian gooseberries are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, gallotannin, and corilagin. These all are potent antioxidants

Through their free radical scavenging properties, these phytochemicals help prevent and control hyperglycemia, cardiac complications, and diabetic complications like nephropathy and neuropathy

Amla favorably impacts on the lipid profile, it significantly elevates HDL-cholesterol and lowers LDL-cholesterol levels. Eat it raw or make chutney or simply boil and consume the strained amla juice.

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Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. The best part is you can prevent and control diabetes by making some lifestyle modifications. Lack of awareness and over-promotion of unhealthy foods and bad lifestyle choices are the reasons why the incidence of diabetes is increasing in population. 

There is no harm in enjoying unhealthy foods, considering you are consuming them in moderation. Whether or not your blood sugar level is high, to effectively prevent diabetes, reduce your frequency of eating out. Eat homemade foods. Make every unhealthy food at home, and make it from scratch. 

By the end, when your food will be ready to eat, you will involuntarily fill with the guilt of eating so many unhealthy things at a time. From the next time, you will crave less. Try this trick, it works!

If you are on diabetes medications, consult your doctor and pharmacist before adding the foods mentioned above in your diet. They can provide you with the best advice about which foods you can eat and which ones not, given your diabetes condition and the complications of your diabetes. 

When you eat the foods mentioned above, your blood glucose levels drop, and you need a lesser dose of medicines. So, regularly discuss with your doctor to adjust the dose accordingly, sometimes doctors just repeat the previous prescription in a hurry without checking your current blood sugar levels.

Key Points

  • Regularly check your blood pressure. Maintain blood pressure <130/80 mm Hg. Tight control of blood pressure can be more effective than glycemic control in preventing heart disease.
  • Be active. Play outdoor games, use stairs, don’t sit for long. A sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity, which causes insulin resistance. 
  • Increase adiponectin (fat burning hormone) levels in your body by eating monounsaturated fats.
  • Don’t just add additional monounsaturated fats in your diet, instead replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps remove excess sugar from your blood through urine.
  • Eat foods that contain soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates that are low in the glycemic index. You can typically eat protein, but proteins are restricted in people who have or are at risk of kidney damage.
  • Keep an eye on your hypoglycemia symptoms. Always keep some glucose tablets with you.
  • If you have diabetes, avoid diabetes complications by getting regular diabetes tests, which can catch problems early and can help you prevent serious diabetes complications. Get a yearly eye exam to ensure no blood vessels of the retina have been damaged. Get your cholesterol levels checked. Get a regular urine microalbumin test to check your kidneys’ health, and, electrocardiogram to check your heart health.

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