15 Foods that Help Lower Blood Sugar

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // April 18, 2024

Keep your blood sugar levels in check (and reduce your risk of developing diabetes) by incorporating more of these 15 foods that can help lower blood sugar.

Your blood sugar naturally fluctuates throughout the day in response to meals, activity, stress, etc. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is essential for your overall health – especially if you have diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance. 

Not all food is created equal when it comes to the impact it has on blood sugar. Foods high in sugar with little-to-no protein or fiber will have the most negative effect on blood sugar. On the other hand, foods that are high in protein and fiber will promote balanced blood sugars while also filling you up. 

The good news is that there are plenty of foods that can help you keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range – while also providing a bunch of other essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Here are 15 healthy foods that help lower blood sugar while keeping you satisfied.


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    1. Broccoli

    Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli help manage your blood sugar because they are generally low in calories and carbohydrates but packed with fiber. Fiber helps slow digestion and the absorption of nutrients (like sugar) into the bloodstream so you don’t have a post-meal spike in blood sugar. 

    One study found that pairing broccoli with a starchy food like white rice can improve post-meal blood sugar by as much as 40% compared to white rice alone.

    In addition to fiber, broccoli contains a couple of unique plant compounds like sulforophane and glucosinolates which researchers believe may help lower your blood sugar by improving your sensitivity to insulin (a hormone that helps shuttle blood sugar into cells)

    2. Olive Oil

    Olive oil is my go-to for cooking because it is associated with so many health benefits. In addition to protein and fiber – fat is also an important factor for building a blood-sugar stabilizing plate that will also keep you full. 

    Olive oil intake has been linked to both a lower risk of developing diabetes and significant improvements in the fasting blood sugars of people who already have diabetes mellitus.

    3. Seafood

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we should consume at least 8 ounces of seafood per week based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Seafood is a high quality source of protein which is essential for blood sugar management since it slows digestion, prevents post-meal blood sugar spikes, and improves satiety. 

    Fatty fish may be more beneficial for blood sugar regulation than lean fish. Some seafood also contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for us to get in our diets and can reduce the risk of heart disease – a common complication of diabetes.

    This 15-minute healthy teriyaki salmon salad recipe is an easy way to get started adding more seafood into your diet.

    4. Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are low in calories and carbohydrates but they contain natural compounds that can help lower blood sugar levels by blocking some of the absorption of sugar from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. 

    They are one of few foods that is a significant source of vitamin D; and low levels of vitamin D have been linked to insulin resistance. If you’re not familiar with the term, insulin resistance occurs when cells no longer respond well to the hormone insulin, preventing them from absorbing the sugar from the food you eat for energy.

    5. Beans and Lentils

    Yes, beans and lentils contain carbohydrates but they are also excellent sources of plant-based protein and rich in fiber. The type of fiber in beans and legumes is soluble fiber, which helps slow digestion and may improve post-meal blood sugar response. 

    In addition, many studies have shown that eating beans and lentils improves overall blood sugar levels and reduces your risk of developing diabetes.

    6. Nuts and Nut Butter

    If you are looking for a satisfying snack that isn’t going to wreak havoc on your blood sugar, try a handful of nuts or toast with peanut butter. Not only are nuts delicious, but they are rich in protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.

    Research has found that people who regularly eat nuts often have better blood sugars and lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Give my peanut butter cup protein shake or my strawberry peanut butter smoothie a try to sneak more nut butter into your routine.

    7. Chia and Flax Seeds

    If you’re looking for a low effort way to improve your blood sugars, adding a sprinkle of chia seeds or flaxseeds to your meal or snack may help. Just 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds daily was able to significantly reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

    Both of these seeds are excellent sources of fiber which we know benefits your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer.

    I love adding ground flaxseed to my high protein overnight oats recipe for breakfast.

    8. Kimchi and Sauerkraut

    The diverse colony of bacteria that lives in your gut – the gut microbiome – has a significant impact on your overall health, including your diabetes risk. In addition to eating fiber, consuming probiotic-rich foods (like kimchi and sauerkraut) is one way to ensure the good bacteria have a chance to thrive.

    Better gut health can enhance insulin sensitivity which helps manage blood sugar levels.

    9. Avocado

    Incorporating fat and fiber-rich foods into a meal or snack can help prevent that post-meal blood sugar spike and avocados provide both. This popular fruit is low in sugar, but rich in monounsaturated fats and surprisingly high in fiber.

    Avocado eaters had better fasting blood sugars and a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who don’t eat them. All the more reason to whip up my homemade guacamole recipe!

    10. Leafy Greens

    You knew kale would be on this list somewhere right? Kale and other leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, and cabbage are low in calories and carbohydrates but packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. That’s probably why you can find them on the Blue Zones list of foods that the longest living populations in the world eat.

    Leafy green eaters have a lower risk of diabetes than those who don’t eat their greens and researchers suspect the antioxidants in these veggies may be playing a role in their ability to balance blood sugar.

    Try my orzo and kale salad, or my pear, walnut, and gorgonzola salad to add extra leafy greens to your day.

    11. Raspberries

    Natural sugars, like those in fruit, will cause your blood sugar to rise. However, some fruits are naturally lower in sugar than others. Berries, especially raspberries, are packed with fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar – keeping those blood sugar levels in check. They are also one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there.

    Just one cup of raspberries has an impressive 8 grams of fiber and just 5 grams of natural sugar. That’s double the 4 grams of fiber in a cup of blueberries.

    Try my healthy mixed berry smoothie recipe to start your day with this powerful fruit!

    12. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt

    Unsweetened Greek yogurt is a good choice for people who are trying to manage their blood sugar levels. Greek yogurt is much higher in protein than regular yogurt. In fact, a 7-ounce container of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt provides a whopping 20 grams of protein. That’s twice as much protein as a serving of regular yogurt.

    In addition to protein Greek yogurt also contains probiotics and we know a healthy gut also means better blood sugars.

    13. Eggs

    Eggs also make this list because they are another high-quality source of lean protein that is low in carbohydrates. We know that eating a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet improves blood sugars. Eggs are a great way to bump up your protein intake.

    In addition to protein, eggs also provide healthy fats, antioxidants, and other nutrients like potassium and choline.

    These healthy frittata, this omelette in a mug, or these Starbucks copycat egg bites are a great place to start!

    14. Oats

    You might be surprised to see oats on this list since they are high in carbohydrates. However, oats are also high in a specific kind of soluble fiber called beta-glucan.

    Many studies have found that despite its carb content, diabetics who regularly consumed oats not only had better blood sugar management, but lower cholesterol levels too. All thanks to the beta-glucan!

    Check out the surprising health benefits of oatmeal, and a few of my favorite recipes ; ).

    15. Apple Cider Vinegar

    Apple cider vinegar was all the rage on social media not that long ago. While a lot of the claims about this vinegar are a bit of a stretch, there is research to suggest that it may keep post-meal blood sugars in line. 

    You don’t need much apple cider vinegar to do the job either. About 4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with at least 1⁄3 cup of water before a meal may help.

    If the thought of drinking vinegar gives you the ick, just use a salad dressing made with vinegar on your salad or grain bowl. That will also do the trick.

    Bottom Line

    No single food is the secret to better blood sugar control and these foods are not meant to replace medication. Eating a balanced diet that incorporates lots of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and limits sugary foods has been shown to be beneficial for blood sugar management. If you struggle with sugar in particular, check out my guide on how to quit sugar.

    This list is a great place to get you started!

    Diet isn’t the only thing that helps control blood sugar. Lifestyle modifications, regular exercise (try strength training and cardio workouts), stress management, and getting enough sleep also keep your blood sugars in check.

    If you have specific questions about your diet, it’s always best to chat with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian.

    Expert Advice, Food, Healthy Living, Lifestyle, Nutrition

    Printed from GetHealthyU.com

    1 Comment

    on Reply

    Marjoram is not another name for Oregano. Look it up. They are completely different spices. Marjoram smells similar to oregano but is more mild. They may not have the same chemical properties. Please check on this.

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
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