Snacks for low blood sugar

Foods to Boost Low Blood Sugar

People with diabetes try hard to keep their blood sugar from getting too high, but sometimes they succeed too well. Certain diabetes medications — including insulin injections and pills such as chlorpropamide (Diabinese) — can sometimes make blood sugar too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. People with diabetes can also get low blood sugar simply by skimping at mealtime, drinking too much alcohol, or overexercising.

Low blood sugar is usually mild and easy to fix, but if you wait too long, you can lose consciousness. If your blood sugar level drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or if you notice signs of hypoglycemia — shakiness, dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, anxiety, weakness, heart palpitations, blurry vision, hunger, or sweating — you can bring your level up again with a quick, sugary snack. If you are away from home and experience symptoms, and you can’t test your blood sugar first, it’s better to have a small snack before you become even more ill.

Here are some proven sugar-boosting options:

  • One-half cup of fruit juice
  • One-half cup of non-diet soda
  • 1 cup of milk
  • A small handful of hard candy
  • 1 tablespoon of either sugar or honey
  • 3 or 4 glucose tablets

About 15 minutes after your snack, check your blood sugar again. If you’re still below 70, try another dose of sugar. Check again 15 minutes later, and keep the pattern up until your blood sugar is in a normal range.

It’s important to treat low blood sugar as quickly as possible. If you wait too long, you could pass out. For this reason, you should keep a sugary snack within reach at all times. Even if you aren’t able to check your blood sugar, you can head off hypoglycemia whenever you get that sinking feeling.

American Diabetes Association. Hypoglycemia. http://www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabetes/hypoglycemia.jsp

Mayo Clinic. Hypoglycemia. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypoglycemia/DS00198/DSECTION=symptoms

Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is one of the simplest ways to manage your blood sugar and elevate your health to a whole new level. Your blood sugar controls several different hormonal responses in the body, all of which contribute to your energy, your mood, and even your hunger levels. Healthy blood sugars are also vital to prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hypoglycemia. Eating a diet that supports your blood sugar can also help prevent obesity.

Plant-based foods are jam-packed with fiber, which is the main reason they’re so supportive of blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down the release of sugar within the bloodstream, which helps steady insulin levels. This prevents those blood sugar “ups and downs” that foods high in refined sugars, animal foods, and highly- processed foods can cause.

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To take care of your blood sugar, all you have to do is prioritize higher fiber sources of whole foods versus foods lower in fiber, such as foods with refined or added sugars, animal products (which dramatically raise insulin), and most processed foods.

To keep things easy and simple, focus on eating foods that do support your blood sugar. As you’ll see, there are some pretty delicious plant-based foods and meals you can make with them that support your blood sugar. These foods will keep you energized, satisfied, provide your body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and even some protein too!

1. Magnesium-Rich Leafy Greens

All leafy greens such as: kale, spinach, romaine, arugula, collards, turnip greens, all lettuces, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, and any other green you can think of, are absolutely wonderful for your blood sugar. However, a few are especially rich in magnesium, which is acts like a “super nutrient” once it enters your body. Magnesium-rich greens include: kale, spinach, collards, romaine, and Swiss chard. Which pack more of a nutritional punch for your blood sugar than other types. Aim to pack a few servings of these into your day if you can and be sure to rotate your greens if you’re using them in a green smoothie. Use these nutritious greens to make a more filling, healthy smoothie to support your blood sugar even further.

2. Seeds

Seeds such as chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and sesame seeds are powerhouses of nutrition! They’re wonderful sources of vitamins, minerals like magnesium, protein, and even iron. Take a look at this: chia seeds have 24 percent of your daily magnesium requirements, while animal-based foods have little to none. Chia, hemp, and flax are especially high in fiber, with as much as 10-15 grams in two tablespoons. All seeds are also rich sources of protein. So, their complete nutritional profile supports your blood sugar on every single level. Aim to add a few tablespoons of these seeds to your meals throughout your day. Try them in some yummy oatmeal , a nice smoothie, mixed into a snack, or even sprinkled on soup or salad.

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3. Cacao

The cacao bean is thought to be the most abundant source of magnesium in the world. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, iron, and even protein that benefits your blood sugar. While it’s not the best idea to eat cacao all day, one or two ounces go a long way. Cacao is also rich in chromium, a mineral that also helps lower blood sugar even further. It might also help improve your focus, your mood, and even help you lose some weight! Go for cacao powder or nibs in a smoothie, use them in energy bars and bites, stir them into any breakfast porridge of your choice, or come up with your own idea! Here’s our favorite 20 Vegan Superfood Recipes Made With Raw Cacao if you need some new ideas!

4. Almonds

Almonds are also another powerhouse of magnesium, fiber, and protein, right alongside seeds like hemp, chia, and flax. Almonds contain a particularly higher amount of magnesium than other nuts, with cashews being a close second. All nuts, almonds included, are also rich in chromium to assist blood sugar levels even further. Go for a handful of raw almonds next time you get the munchies. Just a small handful will go a long way to support your blood sugar levels and provide your body with raw nutrition. If you want to get a little fancy, these Almond Power Bars with Chocolate Topping make a great snack or pre-workout food on-the-go. This homemade almond butter isn’t too shabby either – in fact, it’s a pretty amazing paired with some raw vegan crackers or even a simple apple or banana.

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5. Whole Grains

Oats, rice, wheat germ, amaranth, teff, quinoa, brown and wild rice, and millet are also great sources of magnesium. They can all be made into a porridge for breakfast or used in various recipes of your choosing. Try out these 10 Delicious Ways to Use Oats if you’re tired of your usual bowl of oatmeal. This Healthy Quinoa Salad is also an excellent dish to lower your blood sugar and keep you full throughout the day.

*Bonus Tip*

Try sprinkling a little cinnamon onto any of your favorite blood-sugar friendly recipes. Cinnamon is especially rich in chromium and one of the most recommended foods for diabetics due to its ability to lower blood sugar quickly.

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Other great foods for your blood sugar include: beans, legumes, vegetables like broccoli and carrots, and seaweed such as kelp and spirulina. As you can see, the plant-based kingdom is jam-packed with foods rich in fiber and magnesium. Along with protein and other nutrients to support your blood sugar and other aspects of your health.

Want more blood-sugar friendly meal ideas? Check out our favorite 30 fiber-rich recipes!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

For more Vegan Food, Health, Recipe, Animal, and Life content published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter!

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Underrated Snacks for Treating a Low Blood Sugar

We’ve all been there

It’s 3:30 a.m. You’re sleeping soundly. Suddenly, a low jolts you awake. You test your blood sugar to see a 54 staring back at you. An intense hunger pang takes over your body. You feel the adrenaline rush in your legs, that shaky feeling we’ve all come to know over the years. You amble to the kitchen and open the fridge. A world of possibilities stare back at you.

For an instant, you want to eat it all, but, you remember that the last time that happened, your blood sugar skyrocketed the other way and you played catch up for the next 24 hours, not to mention you’ve thrown yourself off your nutrition goals for the day as well.

You’re sick of glucose tabs (and would rather eat chalk) and are out of juice and Gatorade. So, what do you eat that will raise your blood sugar to normal, but not over-treat the low or derail your nutritional objectives? Here are four unexpected and underrated low snacks to try that will do both:

(Note: These were selected with the intent of raising blood sugar levels quickly and effectively in a pinch, not necessarily to urge you to adopt these options as part of your core diet)

Candy Corn

Nutrition information (1/2 serving):

Calories: 70

Carbs: 18g

Candy corn stigmas aside, the main ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, and dextrose. To break it down further, corn syrup is maltose, a disaccharide (sugar molecule) made of two linked glucose molecules. Dextrose, what glucose tabs are made of, is another name for glucose. Sugar itself is sucrose, which is composed of fructose and glucose.

You only need 9 pieces to reach that 18g serving to treat your low, obviously adjust your intake depending on your needs. The big advantage of candy corn is that its main ingredients are the most effective types of sugar to raise blood sugar levels and to raise them quickly. It is also portable and has a very long shelf life.

Chocolate Milk

Nutrition information (3/4 cup):

Calories: 120

Carbs: 19g

Protein: 7g

This one has been tried and true for years as a great option for post workout recovery due to its combination of sugar to replenish glycogen stores as well as protein, but let’s take a look at it from a low blood sugar perspective:

Similarly to protein bars, it has the source of carbs as lactose, which can be viewed as glucose and galactose; the former will raise blood sugar levels. Sugar is also added to aid that goal. However, the small amount of protein will also aid in the maintenance of blood sugar levels so that low is less likely to repeat.

For our friends who are lactose intolerant, Fairlife brand produces a milk that contains the lactase enzyme to make their milk lactose-free, and their milk actually has 13g of carbs and 13g of protein per cup, making it an intriguing options to treat a low. Have one cup and you’re not likely to be concerned about a repeat episode.

Flavored Greek Yogurt

Nutrition information (5oz Chobani Strawberry):

Calories: 140

Carbs: 20g

Protein: 14g

This is an intriguing and definitely underrated option for a few reasons:

It, too, follows the carbs+protein narrative outlined above, so ideally, blood sugars are sustained once they are treated. The carbohydrate source here is lactose from the milk as well as an added sugar. Here, you also receive “live and active cultures” according to the label, otherwise known as probiotics, to improve gut health. While this isn’t a greek yogurt PSA, it’s certainly an added benefit to be able to treat your low. Also, it typically comes in a single serving container, so it’s easy to maintain portion control.

Marshmallow Fluff — Beyond Type 1 Staff Pick

Nutrition information (1 oz):

Calories: 91

Carbs: 22g

Like candy corn, marshmallows also have a fantastic shelf life. A mere spoonful of fluff works to quickly bring up a low blood sugar and is definitely a worthwhile treat. (Note: Frosting is also a great substitute.)

More awesome low snacks…

  • Jelly Beans, Smarties, Skittles
  • Dried Fruit
  • Leftover Piece of Cake
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Bananas

Remember, when treating a low, the goals are to increase your blood sugar to normal range, sustaining that corrected blood sugar, and portion control as to remain within your nutrition plan and goals. These options, while not what you might automatically think of for a low snack, should help you get there!

TAGS: Food, Management, Nutrition

Ben Tzeel

Ben Tzeel is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holding a Masters in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 1999 and has never allowed it to hold him back from achieving his goals. Ben is a published fitness model and author who writes about exercise, nutrition, and diabetes.

Best Bites to Boost Low Blood Sugar

Picture this: You’re in the mall, shopping with friends, chatting and having a great time when suddenly you start to feel a bit strange. You might become irritated or nervous, your skin may feel clammy or sweaty — and your vision may even seem blurred. If you have diabetes, you’ll recognize these as the warning signs of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

“Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels in the body drop too low,” says Kelly O’Connor, RD, a dietitian and certified diabetes educator at LifeBridge Health’s Northwest Hospital in Baltimore. “Glucose is your brain’s main energy or fuel source. If the level of glucose in the body is too low, it can begin to affect your brain’s functioning. The resulting symptoms are more or less your body’s warning system that you need to take quick action in order to correct the problem.”

Recognizing the Signs of Hypoglycemia

O’Connor says there are a number of warning signs that indicate you might have low blood sugar. “The symptoms can range from very mild — shakiness, clamminess, feeling irritable or jittery, and having temporarily blurred vision — to much more severe, such as seizures and loss of consciousness or passing out, although these are less common,” she says. These symptoms can occur because of many other circumstances, so if you are diabetic and are having symptoms that could be due to low blood sugar, check your sugar levels to see what’s going on, she adds.

Certain things can also put you at higher risk of hypoglycemia, especially if you skip or put off a meal or snack, take too much insulin, don’t eat enough carbohydrates, exercise more than you regularly do, or drink alcohol. In addition, people with type 1 diabetes experience hypoglycemia more often than those with type 2.

Glucose Tablets: A Quick Fix

“If your blood sugar has dropped too low, a quick-acting carbohydrate is needed to bring blood sugar levels back up,” says O’Connor. Glucose tablets are tailor-made to help. This inexpensive fix for low blood sugar is widely available at pharmacies and large chain stores like Walmart and Target.

Usually, three to four glucose tablets are needed to bring levels back up. “We recommend that patients who are prone to hypoglycemia carry glucose tablets with them and put them in several locations in their home and car,” says O’Connor. Glucose is also sold in gel form in small packets, and as a beverage.

Low Blood Sugar: Best Bites When You’re on the Go

Despite your best planning, you might find yourself experiencing low blood sugar when you’re out and about, with no glucose tablets in reach. Here are tips to keep in mind:

Best bites at work Smart foods to keep in a drawer at work are 4-ounce cans or cartons of any type of 100 percent juice; hard candy like peppermints or Life Savers (you’ll need to munch on four to seven pieces, depending on their size); and small boxes of raisins — the ones that contain about 2 tablespoons, says Hope Warshaw, RD, a certified diabetes educator and author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy.

If you don’t have these items on hand, head to the nearest vending machine for any snack containing carbohydrates or sugary candy — but skip the chocolate. “We do not recommend using chocolate as a treatment for hypoglycemia, despite what you might have read,” says O’Connor. She explains that the fat in chocolate slows down how fast the sugar and carbohydrates in the candy can get into the bloodstream.

If you’re choosing foods to help treat hypoglycemia, you should also pay attention to where they fall on the glycemic index, or GI. The higher a food ranks on the GI, the more quickly your body breaks it down into sugar. Life Savers have a GI of 70, while raisins have a GI around 60.

Best bites at the mall If you’re going to be on a prolonged excursion at the mall, plan a stop at the food court for a meal to thwart low blood sugar, but be sensible in the decisions you make, says Cecilia R. Chapman, RD, a nutritionist and diabetes educator in Chandler, Arizona. “Sometimes hours can be spent walking from store to store, and losing track of time is common,” she says. Know where the food court is, because it’s your best bet to find a sugary soda or hard candy if you feel low blood sugar symptoms starting.

Best bites in the air When it comes to traveling, especially in the air, it’s essential to be prepared for the possibility of a blood sugar drop. Not having what you need can become a matter of life or death. “Never place your snacks or fast-acting glucose tablets in your suitcase — always carry diabetes supplies on board,” says Chapman. Find out if a meal will be provided or if food will be available for sale. If not, make sure to bring your own meal, or at least a snack, in case you’re stuck on the tarmac for longer than expected. If you start to feel the effects of low blood sugar, in addition to soda, orange juice is a good option; it’s usually available on board even when the barest beverage service is offered.

Hangry? This Is What You Should Eat for Hypoglycemia (aka Low Blood Sugar)

Technically speaking…

hypoglycemia is defined as blood sugar below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

While those with diabetes are more likely to experience hypoglycemia, there are two types of non-diabetes hypoglycemia — reactive and non-reactive.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia

Symptoms can range from minor to severe.

Some minor symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • shakiness
  • hunger
  • anxiety/nervousness
  • headache
  • irritability
  • nightmares
  • exhaustion
  • drowsiness

More serious symptoms (unlikely unless you take diabetes medication that lowers blood sugar) include:

  • muscle weakness
  • slurred speech
  • blurry vision
  • consistent drowsiness
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness, fainting
  • death

Hypoglycemia with diabetes

For those with diabetes, hypoglycemia happens when there’s too much insulin and not enough glucose in the blood.

Causes include:

  • not eating or skipping meals
  • drinking alcohol without food
  • taking too much insulin
  • increasing physical activity

Hypoglycemia without diabetes

There are a variety of issues that can cause hypoglycemia in people without diabetes. Causes include:

  • binge drinking
  • liver disease
  • hypothyroidism
  • tumors
  • eating disorders
  • malnutrition
  • hemodialysis
  • excessive exercise

Symptoms include

  • fatigue
  • nausea or hunger
  • anxiety
  • sweating
  • changes in vision
  • pounding heart
  • dizziness
  • shakiness

Reactive hypoglycemia (aka postprandial hypoglycemia)

Reactive hypoglycemia occurs within 4 hours following a meal. The exact cause is unknown, but it often relates to variations in your diet, such as the time of day food passes through the digestive system.

Signs of reactive hypoglycemia may include:

  • pale skin
  • hunger
  • shakiness
  • sweating
  • lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • anxiety

Non-reactive hypoglycemia (aka fasting hypoglycemia)

Non-reactive hypoglycemia isn’t necessarily related to food. It may be the result of an underlying condition.

Possible causes include:

Heavy drinking: Drinking prevents your liver from doing its normal job of releasing glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream because it’s too busy focusing on processing alcohol. (Sounds a bit like trying to study during college amiright?)

Chronic illness: Liver, heart, and kidney disorders can lead to hypoglycemia.

Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can severely damage your body’s ability to process sugars. Your body is depleted of the fuel it needs to generate glucose, resulting in hypoglycemia.

Medications: Certain medications, such as quinine (Qualaquin), which is used to treat malaria, are known to cause hypoglycemia.

Hormone deficiencies: Children may be affected by hypoglycemia if they have a growth hormone deficiency. Adults and adolescents with pituitary gland or adrenal gland disorders may also be affected.

Tumors: Although rare, certain tumors may cause excessive production of insulin in the pancreas, causing hypoglycemia.

Here are some meal plans to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Sleeping is the best. But your blood sugar levels drop during the night while you sleep. So you should eat something right when you wake up.

Some stable breakfast choices include:

  • oatmeal with fresh berries and milk
  • nuts and sunflower seeds over Greek yogurt
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • whole-grain toast with nut butter
  • unsweetened yogurt with fruit
  • oatmeal with cinnamon and unsweetened applesauce

Studies indicate cinnamon may help lower blood sugar for those with diabetes. That’s because cinnamon, which comes from the bark of the cinnamomum tree, is a rich source of antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids.

Sprinkle it on top of steel-cut oatmeal, the most unprocessed form of the food. It contains lots of soluble fiber to slow down carb absorption, helping to keep blood sugar stable. Stay away from instant oatmeal versions, as they contain added sugars.

What about coffee?

Everyone’s body processes caffeine differently. For some, it may have no effect on blood sugar. For others, it may.

Studies suggest that consuming coffee (even decaf) may reduce your risk of diabetes. But, if you already have diabetes, 200 milligrams of caffeine (about two 8-ounce cups of joe) could cause blood sugar levels to rise or fall.

If you don’t have diabetes, consuming 200–400 milligrams of caffeine is unlikely to noticeably affect your blood sugar levels.

And juice?

It’s best to limit the OJ and other juices to 6-ounces, since they’re high in sugar content and some brands contain added sugars.

You could also try diluting 100 percent orange juice with water to reduce the calorie and sugar intake while still satisfying a sweet tooth. Check out lower-sugar, lower-calorie versions of your favorite Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice blends and V-8 Splash.

They say that food can be the most powerful form of medicine — and that’s definitely true when it comes to managing diabetes. Certain foods contain powerful nutrients that can help control blood sugar, regulate appetite, and protect your heart, which are all especially important when you’re dealing with diabetes.

If you have diabetes, incorporate these 19 superfoods into your doctor-prescribed treatment regimen to help manage your condition and reduce your risk for diabetes-related health complications.

1. Avocado

The healthy, unsaturated fats in avocado can help regulate appetite. “One study found that adding half of an avocado to a meal reduced post-meal hunger without impacting post-meal blood glucose levels,” Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., C.D.E., author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet, tells MensHealth.com. “This helped improve portion control for the remainder if the day, which can be beneficial to anyone with diabetes who is working to manage body weight.”

Eating healthy fats also help reduce risk factors for heart disease, which people with diabetes are at a higher risk for, she adds. Try adding a few slices to a salad.

Photo Alto

“Dried fruit often gets a bad rap for people with diabetes, but prunes contain no added sugars, are lower on the glycemic index scale than most dried fruit, and provide three grams of fiber per serving,” says Palinski-Wade.

This combination of factors means that prunes don’t spike blood sugar as much as many other dried fruits and sweeteners (and they’re lower in carbs), so pureed prunes can be a great swap for added sugar in recipes.

One study also found that eating five to six prunes a day helped prevent bone loss. The study was conducted on women, but since people with diabetes have a higher risk for bone loss, adding prunes to your diet may help maintain bone density, says Palinski-Wade.

3. Steel-Cut Oats

Start your day with a bowl of steel-cut oats to fuel you up and give you energy. “Steel-cut oats are a good source of whole grain, and are also rich in fiber,” says Palinski-Wade. The strain of fiber contained in oats, beta-glucan, has also been found to be effective at reducing LDL cholesterol levels, and achieving optimal LDL levels is key in reducing heart disease risk.”

Hot peppers are a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate way to add a little fiery flavor to your meals (with health benefits, to boot). “The capsaicin found in hot peppers has been shown to fight inflammation and reduce blood pressure, both of which may offer cardiovascular health benefits,” says Palinski-Wade. “This compound can also help to boost metabolism, which may aid in weight management.”

5. Mushrooms

Believe it or not, mushrooms can be a diabetes-friendly alternative to meat (and a great way to add more fiber and antioxidants to your diet). “Try using sliced mushrooms as a meat alternative in recipes like stir fries for a way to fill up without the added calories,” suggests Palinski-Wade.

6. Greek Yogurt

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“An analysis of research found that consuming yogurt as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes,” says Palinski-Wade. Go for plain Greek yogurt for a boost of protein without a ton of carbs (there are only about 6 grams of carbs per cup, says Palinski-Wade). And you don’t have to just eat it on its own — it can be a replacement for recipes that involve sour cream or mayonnaise (and it can even be used to replace oil in baking).

Jamie Grill/Tetra ImagesGetty Images

It’s time to get familiar with this trendy, water-rich veggie. “One cup of raw jicama contains only 49 calories and 4 grams of net carbs ( 11 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber. When baked, jicama can taste very similar to carb-rich foods such as French fries, making it a delicious, low carb option,” says Palinski-Wade. Plus, the fiber helps keep blood sugar stable to help cravings steer clear.

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In a Finnish study, men who ate the most apples and other foods high in the flavonoid quercetin had 20 percent less diabetes and heart disease deaths. Other good sources of quercetin are onions, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, and berries.

9. Citrus Fruit

Studies show that people with diabetes tend to have lower levels of vitamin C in their bodies, so an antioxidant-packed citrus fruit is a great snack choice. It may seem quicker to get your C from a pill, but since fruit is low in fat and high in fiber, it’s a better choice.

10. Salmon or mackerel

Heart disease strikes people with diabetes twice as often as it does people without diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids —the “good fat” in cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and Atlantic mackerel— can help lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

11. Fiber-rich foods

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Rather than try to figure out exactly how much fiber is in different foods, focus on trying to get a total of 13 daily servings of a mixture of fruits, vegetables, beans, brown rice, and whole grain pastas, cereals, and breads.

Legumes of all sorts — chickpeas, cannelloni beans, kidney beans, and lentils — are a great addition to soups and salads. And this low-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber, high-protein food helps to reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease. The fiber slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which prevents the blood sugar spikes that make you feel hungry.

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Studies show that chronic inflammation caused by high-fat foods, lack of exercise, and eating too few fruits and vegetables can increase risk of hearts attacks and thwart the body’s ability to absorb blood sugar. A simple solution: Drink green tea and orange or cranberry juice. They’re all packed with flavonoids, which are powerful inflammation-fighters. Swap one in for one cup of coffee a day.

Levi Brown

Studies show that people who eat nuts regularly have lower rates of heart disease than people who don’t eat them. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons a day on cereal, yogurt, veggies, or salads.

15. Spinach, kale, and collard greens

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All of these green leafy vegetables are good sources of lutein, a carotenoid that’s good for the eyes. That’s especially important because people with diabetes may develop debilitating eye problems as complications of the disease. These foods are also great sources of fiber, B vitamins, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.

16. Chocolate

Researchers at Tufts University discovered that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity, a crucial improvement in preventing or treating type 2 diabetes. What’s more, dark chocolate also produced a significant drop in blood pressure, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improved blood vessel function. One caveat: dark chocolate packs a lot of calories, so just don’t overdo it.

Omaha Steaks

There’s something in steak besides protein, iron, and B vitamins that’s good for us. It’s a compound that’s part of beef’s fat profile called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Doctors Michael Murray and Michael Lyon point out in their book Beat Diabetes Naturally that experiments have shown that CLA works to correct impaired blood sugar metabolism and also appears to have significant anti-cancer properties.

To get CLA from steak, choose meat from range-fed beef and keep portions to 3 or 4 ounces.

Alexa Tucker Alexa is a Denver-based contributor who covers all things lifestyle, wellness, travel, home, and beauty.

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