Foods That Lower Blood Sugar for Type 2 Diabetics

Roasted chicken leg and vegetables
Chicken can help to reduce blood sugar levels. (Image: gbh007/iStock/Getty Images)

Diabetes is a serious health condition which involves an inability of the body to naturally regulate its blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes, which usually comes later in life, occurs when the body either doesn't produce insulin or cannot recognize its production of insulin, an important hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream to the cells where it is needed. When blood sugar builds up too high in the bloodstream, diabetics become at risk for serious side effects like neuropathy, heart disease and eye problems. There are medications to help reduce dangerously high blood sugar levels in diabetics, but luckily, several healthy foods can also reduce blood sugar levels.

Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are a healthy choice for type 2 diabetics who want to lower their blood sugar levels. According to the journal "Nutrition and Metabolism," foods which are high in dietary protein, such as chicken breasts, decrease blood sugar levels while at the same time increasing the secretion of insulin so that the body can move blood glucose (blood sugar) into the cells. The nutritional database CalorieKing.com states that a full 6.1 ounce chicken breast contains 53.4 g of protein, but no carbohydrates, which can increase blood sugar levels.

Walnuts

There are two distinct yet important benefits of eating walnuts when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels. The high fat content in walnuts slows down the absorption of carbohydrates so that blood sugar levels rise more slowly, according to "Nutrition and Metabolism." The journal also states that dietary fat can increase insulin production, which can in turn lower blood glucose. Additionally, the fiber content of walnuts may help to negate the effect that carbohydrates have, raising blood sugar levels, states the Joslin Diabetes Center. CalorieKing.com explains that a half cup of walnuts in the shell contains 9.1g of protein and a gram of fiber.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a healthy and hearty grain which is not widely used in the United States. It cooks like rice and tastes similar to rice, however, it has a higher protein content than rice. CalorieKing.com states that half of a cup of cooked quinoa has only 127 calories, but 2 g of fiber and 4.5 g of protein. The protein and fiber combination help to negate the effect of the carbohydrates in quinoa, and slowly reduce blood sugar levels.

Tofu

The Joslin Diabetes Center recommends that adults get 20 to 35 g of dietary fiber each day, especially if they are diabetic, as fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates. Tofu has an excellent balance of the nutrients required to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. CalorieKing.com states that a fourth of a block of firm tofu only has 117 calories, but also 7 g of fat, 12.8 g of protein and almost 1.9 g of fiber. Tofu can be grilled, baked, used in a soup or in a stir-fry dish.

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