10 Powerful Foods To Help Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
Blood sugar is a sneaky health issue, but there are many powerful foods that can help you lower blood sugar levels efficiently and quickly. First, in order to understand why high (and low) blood sugar occurs, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what triggers blood sugar highs and lows, and it all starts with insulin. Insulin is the hormone that goes into our blood stream and delivers nutrients to the cells so that our blood sugar stays stable. While insulin is often thought of as a negative hormone, it’s actually valuable and vital to our health. When our body doesn’t produce insulin or use insulin efficiently, we can develop insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. One of the best things we can all do in order to help insulin do its job is to eat regularly and eat a balanced diet that’s filled with healthy foods.
Start With These Tips to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
To help you get started on filling your plate with more blood sugar friendly foods that will help lower your blood sugar, start by removing refined sugar, refined grains, and most processed foods from your diet. Processed foods (and especially fast food) all contain chemicals and refined ingredients that our bodies don’t recognize as real nutrients, so our cells never really get what they need and we feel hungry all the time as a result. This also leads to blood sugar swings and spikes that cause insulin to work less efficiently.
What helps insulin work best so that blood sugar stays in a stable place are foods that pack dense amounts of nutrition and contain amino acids (that form protein in the body), fiber (which is the best source of carbohydrates), and healthy fats from real food.
Let’s check out some foods that can help lower blood sugar levels by offering us these nutritional benefits, shall we?
Spinach is high in amino acids and actually has 5 grams of protein per cup. Spinach is also a rich source of the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium which all lower blood pressure levels, and it is a good source of fiber to help lower blood sugar. Fiber, protein and minerals are three wonderful components that help balance insulin levels and help the body feel more nourished.
Add spinach to your smoothies, salads, entrees, and remember that while kale is fantastic, spinach offers more overall nutrients per cup than any other green!
Avocados are a superfood for so many reasons, but they’re especially great to lower blood sugar levels. The avocado fruit is a rich source of monounsaturated fats which are the best type of fats for your heart. Avocado is also a good source of fiber, amino acids, B vitamins, minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and it’s a great replacement to foods such as mayo and cheese—especially for those with diabetes or food intolerances.
Chop some avocado into your next smoothie for a creamy texture, add it to a salad, use it in place of mayo or cheese, or feel free to add it to your next omelet. Used in moderation and in place of processed fats, this fruit can be an amazing addition to your diet.
Eggs have had a bad reputation for years, but the truth is they can be a very valuable part of a balanced diet and are a wonderful source of meatless protein, healthy fats, and vitamins such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D. The key is to consume them in moderation (no more than a couple a day), and to buy the highest quality eggs possible such as pastured, organic and non-GMO eggs. Eggs work to lower blood sugar levels very well because they are generally very easy to digest so that nutrients reach the cells quickly and help lower blood sugar levels as a result.
Keep some hard-boiled eggs in your fridge and have one when your blood sugar feels too high or stops to drop. You can also include eggs at breakfast, lunch, or dinner for lower blood sugar levels throughout the day. Egg whites can also be paired with one or two whole eggs for more protein without overdoing the fat from whole eggs.
Broccoli is packed with benefits that lower blood sugar levels. First, it’s a great source of fiber that slows down the release of sugar from foods into our cells. Even if we’re not eating sugar directly, everything we consume is eventually turned into glucose that our bodies use to energize us. However, it’s best to eat foods that turn into glucose slowly so that we get a steady release all the time and not intense swings that we get from eating sweets or junk food. Fiber is a key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels all the time as well as digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
No need to nosh on broccoli raw or eat like a rabbit; have broccoli whatever way you enjoy whether that be roasted, steamed with spices and your favorite source of protein, use it in a stir-fry with lean protein, broth and some other veggies, or sauté it to have with your regular dinner. It can also be added to salads and is one of the most affordable and nutritious vegetables available all year round.
5. Plain, Non-fat Greek Yogurt
Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Of course, if you are dairy intolerant or vegan, Greek yogurt isn’t for you, but if you’re incorporating dairy into your diet, high-quality sources can serve as an excellent source of protein in place of fatty cuts of meat or processed sources. Greek yogurt’s nutrients lower blood sugar levels as well as satiate appetite very quickly. Purchase from non-GMO and organic sources whenever possible for the best quality, and avoid yogurt products with added hormones or antibiotics as well as any that have added sugars or artificial ingredients.
You can use Greek yogurt in place of milk in a smoothie, in place of sour cream for less fat in dips and dressings, or use it as a base for sandwiches instead of mayo. It can also make a wonderful dessert with berries and can be frozen for an hour to serve as a more ice-cream like treat at night. If the taste is too sour for your liking, feel free to add some stevia to sweeten it up without any added sugar.
Almonds offer more protein than other types of nuts as well as more fiber and overall nutrition. This makes them an excellent choice for lowering blood sugar levels and even blood pressure levels too. Almonds include 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and only 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar per ounce. They are also packed with magnesium and potassium that help lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Almonds even offer a little calcium, iron and zinc too!
One ounce of almonds is equal to about 22 nuts and makes the perfect serving size as a snack throughout the day. You can also add slivered almonds to meals like salads, stir-fries and even oatmeal if you wish. Or, pair it with some of that Greek yogurt mentioned above for a filling snack or light breakfast.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are tiny in size, but they offer big benefits that you won’t want to miss out on! Chia is a great source of amino acids that provides protein, fiber which lowers blood sugar levels, and nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and iron. Chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fats that our hearts and metabolisms need to stay healthy. These same fats also fuel our brains and help us feel more balanced throughout the day.
Another benefit of chia is that it’s so easy to incorporate into your meals because it is tasteless, yet it helps thicken up anything it’s added to once it sets for a bit. Because of its gel-like consistency, chia is fun to add to oatmeal and smoothies, or you can even include it in your salad dressings and soups.
Though it doesn’t sound very appealing, wheatgrass is actually a bit sweet and one of the most power-packed foods you can eat for better blood sugar levels as well as detoxification and digestion. Wheatgrass is also gluten-free because it comes from a grass and not the actual grain that wheat is made from. It is a rich source of amino acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll, the pigment that makes it so beautifully green in color. Chlorophyll is one of the most overlooked nutrients for lowering blood sugar levels quickly and is found in densely green foods.
Wheatgrass can be consumed as a shot, used in the form of wheatgrass juice powder, or can be bought whole at any health food store and juiced or used in smoothies. I find that a greens powder made with raw and organic wheatgrass juice is the easiest and tastiest way to use it, but many people enjoy using the whole wheatgrass in their daily routines. Whatever way you choose to use wheatgrass, don’t give up on it the first time you try it. It can be an amazing food to lower your blood sugar levels as well as improve your overall diet, hair, and even skin appearance too.
9. Wild Fish
Wild fish is packed with health benefits including lean protein, iron, healthy fats, and B vitamins along with minerals like magnesium and potassium. Fish is a great food to lower blood sugar levels because of its overall nutrition, but remember to purchase lean options like wild salmon, tilapia, halibut, tuna, and avoid those that are fried or coated in breadcrumbs or high amounts of oil. It’s also very important to choose wild fish over farmed to avoid toxic pollutants, mercury, and pesticides.
Fish can be consumed for lunch or dinner, and if you’re into savory breakfast, it even makes a great part of omelets or served over greens. Or bake it, chill it, and use it to make salmon or tuna salad!
Lentils are packed with lean protein, iron, potassium, and fiber which makes them an overall incredible food to lower blood sugar levels. Lentils are also a good source of antioxidants, are very affordable, and offer a creamy and nutty texture that makes them delicious. One of the biggest benefits of these legumes is that they don’t have to be soaked or cooked a long time like beans and some other dried legumes do. Lentils can be cooked in only 20 minutes without any soaking, and red split lentils cook in about 15 minutes. The red ones tend to be sweeter while the other colors are more nutty, so choose whichever variety you enjoy.
Lentils can be used in soups, stews, added to salads and make a fantastic replacement to meat for a vegetarian/vegan option. If you’re not into beans or don’t like them, give lentils a try. They are a phenomenal food to lower blood sugar levels because they take a long time to digest but pack big amounts of nutrition.
Final Tips to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
While diet is important to manage blood sugar levels, so is overall lifestyle. Adequate sleep, enough water intake, and getting movement each day are all important factors that can promote lower blood sugar levels around the clock. Some people find that eating several times a day works better for them while others find they do best with three larger meals throughout the day. Test out both to see which works for you, and listen to your body. Prioritize eating real foods with a balanced intake of protein, fiber, and healthy fats throughout the day for overall healthier blood sugar levels as much as possible.
Other foods worth mentioning for lower blood sugar levels are coconut butter, dark chocolate, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, other nuts and seeds, most all vegetables, greens, fiber-rich fruits like berries and apples, and even black coffee. Remember, there’s no need to deprive yourself when taking care of your body but choosing high-quality, real foods is key.
For more information, check out these tips so you can be on your way to better blood sugar levels in no time!
Diabetes & Diet: 7 Foods That Control Blood Sugar
When you have type 2 diabetes, what you eat can help you control your blood sugar, stave off hunger, and feel full longer.
“Diabetes is when your blood sugar or glucose levels are higher than normal. It’s carbohydrate foods like breads, cereals, rice, pasta, fruits, milk, and desserts that can cause this rise,” says Maggie Powers, PhD, president-elect of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association.
Your eating plan should focus on the amount and type of carbs you put on your plate throughout the day, Powers says.
But it’s also important to have foods you enjoy. You want to eat enough so you feel satisfied and avoid overeating and poor choices. Here are seven foods that Powers says can help keep your blood sugar in check and make you happy and healthy to boot.
1. Raw, Cooked, or Roasted Vegetables
These add color, flavor, and texture to a meal. Choose tasty, low-carb veggies, like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and low-carb squashes, like zucchini.
Go beyond your regular salad and try kale, spinach, and chard. They’re healthy, delicious, and low-carb, Powers says.
Roast kale leaves in the oven with olive oil for quick, crunchy chips. You can also mix greens in with roasted veggies to add texture and a different flavor, or serve them with a little protein, like salmon.
3. Flavorful, Low-calorie Drinks
Plain water is always good, but water infused with fruits and vegetables is more interesting. Cut up a lemon or cucumber and put it in your water, or make ice cubes with some flavoring in them.
If you’re not a hot tea drinker, try cold tea with lemon or a cinnamon stick.
“Not only are these beverages low-carb, they can also help fill you up so you don’t crave other foods,” Powers says.
4. Melon or Berries
Did you know that 1 cup of either of these has just 15 grams of carbs?
“It’s a little more expensive, but it’s a healthy treat packed with nutrientsand fiber, and it’s a little bit sweet,” Powers says.
For a different twist, mix the melon or berries with plain yogurt, or put them in ice cubes.
5. Whole-grain, Higher-fiber Foods
Fill up on these to keep from overeating or choosing the wrong foods.
Try legumes like dried beans, peas, and lentils. You can even enjoy a black bean and corn salsa with your raw vegetables.
6. A Little Fat
Good fat choices include olive oil, avocado, and fatty fishes — think salmon served on of a bed of lettuce, for example.
Bonus: The fat from the fish serves as a dressing for the salad, Powers says.
Powers recommends Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and lean meats. And don’t forget treats.
“Peanut butter on a celery stick is a good fat and protein mix for a healthy, satisfying snack,” she says.
You can also snack on a lower-fat cheese stick or a beef jerky stick — but keep an eye on how much sodium is in them, she says.
Overall, your eating plan “shouldn’t be boring,” Powers says. “It should include the foods you love with a balance of carbohydrates.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!