17 Best Foods to Lower Blood Sugar and Control Diabetes

When you have prediabetes or diabetes, a healthy eating plan is essential for keeping your blood sugar levels in check. But it can be hard to know which foods and drinks are the best choices. Fortunately, these 17 options can help you keep your numbers under control. Beans, such as lentils, kidneys, pintos, blacks or chickpeas, are a low-glycemic food.

This means that your carbs are released gradually, so they're less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. A study found that eating a cup of beans daily for three months as part of a low-glycemic diet reduced HbA1c by half a percentage point. Weight loss or control is one of the most effective ways to improve your blood sugar level. Chia seeds can help with that.

In one study, people with diabetes who added about an ounce of chia seeds per 1,000 daily calories to a calorie-controlled diet for six months lost four pounds and trimmed an inch and a half from their waistlines. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, protein and provide 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Glucerna shakes and bars make it easier to eat well when you're having a busy day. Made by Abbott, they contain carbohydrate blends that are digested and absorbed slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes.

With less than 200 calories per shake and less than 160 calories per bar, they're a smart, portion-controlled choice. Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance that can keep the pancreas healthy and prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes. When researchers gave participants who had prediabetes 1500 mg of a curcumin supplement a day or a placebo for nine months, 16 percent of the people in the placebo group became diabetic, while the entire curcumin group remained diabetes-free. Supporting the immune system is even more important for people with diabetes, as viral infections can increase inflammation and cause more serious complications.

Good nutrition is part of general well-being and blood sugar control, but it's also important to consider how diet and muscle health can affect the immune system. A food choice has about the same amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and calories and the same effect on blood glucose as a serving of any other food in that same category. The glycemic index can be a useful measure for determining what foods to eat, but it's important to remember that everyone reacts to food differently. Foods that contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats are better at lowering blood sugar and controlling diabetes compared to foods that are high in fast-acting carbohydrates.