14 Best Foods for Diabetes: What to Eat & Avoid

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Medical Reviewed by Sindhu Vas, Masters of Food Science and Nutrition

Type 2 Diabetes or Diabetes mellitus is one such lifestyle condition that can be easily managed with a good diabetic diet and weight loss. And if you are thinking about how to control diabetes with Indian food, then you have come to the right place.

We bring to you the top 14 foods for the best Indian diet plan for diabetes type 2.

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A Diabetes Diet plays a crucial role in dealing with the disease. Hence it is very important to know which foods can help. A typical diet plan for type 2 diabetes should contain healthy fruits and veggies.

However, there are certain superfoods like Quinoa, Oats, Bitter Gourd, legumes which are not that popular but are great choices to control diabetes with Indian Foods.

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Superfoods for Type 2 Diabetes patients

Here is the ultimate list of superfoods that are easily available and apt to control diabetes with Indian foods. The best part is, they are highly nutritious and are beneficial in not just bringing down the sugar level down but also bringing up the health quotient.

According to the American Heart Association, diabetics are 2-4 times prone to heart diseases or experience life-threatening strokes.

Below are some of the best food for diabetics, both Type 1 & Type 2

  • Fenugreek Seeds
  • Psyllium Seeds
  • Millets
  • Bitter gourd
  • Oats
  • Seeds
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Cinnamon
  • Legumes
  • Wild Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Extra Virgin Oil
  • Chickpeas

We have compiled the list of 14 superfoods for Type 2 Diabetes management in the video below.

1. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds or methi seeds are one of the top superfoods for diabetes mellitus prevention and control. Studies have found that fenugreek helps lower the blood sugar by affecting the rate of digestion of starch and other carbs.

In addition, several clinical trials seem to have shown methi seeds to reduce the metabolic conditions seen commonly in diabetes mellitus. A study even found that 100 grams of fenugreek seeds seemed to lower the fasting blood sugar levels.

2. Psyllium Seeds

Psyllium husk is one of the major foods for diabetes that you can incorporate in the diet. In the digestive system, viscous fibers present in psyllium husk absorb water and swells to form a thick, jelly-like mass.

According to a study conducted by  Cleveland Clinic, the resulting viscous substance slows down the rate at which a food is broken down and nutrients like glucose are absorbed.

In this way, it reduces the rise in glucose levels after consuming foods. And hence, a high intake of viscous fiber is linked to a low risk of developing diabetes.

Possible’s Tru Fibre combines best sources of fiber in the world i.e. psyllium husk, gum, basil seeds.

3. Millets


The Millets are a group of small seed grasses grown in semi-dry areas of Asia and Africa. millets are all a rich source of magnesium, a mineral which is extremely important for starch digestion. Magnesium makes many carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, even the ones which manage insulin’s action.

Researchers find that magnesium-rich whole grain consumption can help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes. In addition to this, low-fat dairy was also shown to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes owing to the presence of calcium.

4. Bitter gourd

Karela or Bitter gourd has been known to be one of the oldest natural remedies for controlling high blood sugar levels. Research has found karela to have at least 3 naturally active substances which seem to have high glucose lowering properties.

They are charantin, vicine, and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. In addition to these, karela or bitter gourd also contains lectin which suppresses appetite and thus lowering blood sugar levels, all the more reason to add it to any diet chart for Diabetes Type 2.

Do you know?

The number of people living with diabetes has nearly quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries.

Research proves that making a few key changes and adopting a diet for  Type 2 Diabetes by eating more fresh produce, fewer refined carbohydrates, plenty of lean protein, and more ‘good’ fat can help improve the blood-sugar levels and cuts the risk of diabetes-related complications.

5. Oats

Ever wonder why oatmeal is so good for people with Type 2 Diabetes and even weight loss?

It’s because it’s loaded with soluble fiber which, when mixed with water, forms a paste. Just as it sticks to your bowl, it also forms a gummy barrier between the digestive enzymes in your stomach and the starch molecules in your meal.

Oatmeal in diet loss

So it takes longer for your body to convert the carbs you’ve eaten into blood sugar. Don’t like oatmeal in the morning?

Oats are flexible too. Here are some of the recipes to control diabetes with Indian foods. Oats and spring onion parantha, Banana oats and seeds cocktail smoothie, minty vegetable oats soup

Chef’s tip: 

Buy oat flour and use it as a thickener in casseroles and soups or add to the wheat flour to make the dough for chapatis.

You could also add ground oatmeal (not the instant kind) to muffin, pancake, or waffle batters. You won’t even know it’s there.

6. Seeds

Nutritious seeds
Seeds Cocktail

We love eating watermelon, muskmelon but throw away the seeds. You will be surprised to know that their seeds in addition to some others have immense nutrients.

While you might not be able to eat them along with the fruit, you can instead grind them and mix it with some food/drink item. They are low in carbohydrates, provide healthy fats, have high fiber making it a great diabetic food.

Possible makes its own Seeds Cocktail using flax seeds, sesame seeds, and watermelon and muskmelon seeds.

7. Brown rice

chick pea and mint brown rice
chickpea and mint brown rice

We are largely dependent on rice, brown rice can be amazing to control diabetes with Indian food. Unlike white rice, brown rice is highly nutritious. It is a source of the important mineral selenium, which is an antioxidant and supports thyroid health. It is one of the best sources of the mineral manganese, which helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Manganese also aids in the production of an antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. All if them beneficial for digestion of starch and preventing diabetes in the long run. You can substitute white rice with brown rice in various preparations. We give you the recipe of green-brown rice and bisibelle bath prepared from brown rice.

What is diabetes mellitus or Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body is not able to produce sufficient insulin causing abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates from food.

This results in increased levels of blood sugar. One of the causes of this disease to be more prevalent is that the symptoms of diabetes remain unnoticed for a long time. 

8. Quinoa

It is said to have a high ratio of protein to carbohydrate and provides all the essential amino acids our body can’t make on its own. It provides 8 grams of protein in a cup and hence a significant vegetarian source.

Being gluten-free, quinoa is well tolerated by everyone. Its high potassium content makes it an ideal food not only for diabetes mellitus but also for hypertension or high blood pressure. Hence it should definitely be included in your list of Indian foods to control diabetes.

9. Cinnamon

Common spices recommended for Type 2 Diabetes control is cinnamon. Some studies have shown cinnamon to help reduce blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance.

In a study, 1-6 grams of cinnamon was shown to reduce cholesterol levels by 18% and blood sugar levels by 24%. However, many more studies are needed to prove the effectiveness of cinnamon in Type 2 Diabetes control.

10. Legumes

The humble dal as a diabetic food
The humble dal as a diabetic food

This low-fat, low-calorie, high-fibre, high-protein food helps to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The fiber slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which prevents the blood sugar spikes that worsen diabetes blood sugar control and make you feel hungry. Legumes are good weight loss friends too.

11. Wild Salmon

Salmon is highly beneficial for people diagnosed with diabetes. It’s a healthy protein source that will not raise blood sugar levels but will help to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which helps to reduce levels of triglycerides, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

12. Spinach

A great non-starchy vegetable, an important eye nutrient for the eyes. This nutrient is so important for people with diabetes since they have a higher risk of blindness. A cup of cooked spinach contains 839 milligrams of potassium.

13. Extra Virgin Oil

It is time to replace the cooking oil in your kitchen. Extra virgin oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which help lower the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol. Diabetic patients are more prone to heart attack and strokes so replacing the cooking oil will be highly beneficial.

14. Chickpeas 

Like any other beans, chickpeas are high in fibre that can be a replacement for animal protein. Roasted and seasoned chickpeas make a good fibre carb snack compared to potato chips and pretzels.

Chef’s tip:

Legumes of all sorts – chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils – are a great addition to soups, salads and a variety of ethnic dishes. 

Lifestyle & Type 2 Diabetes

One of the first and major steps in controlling diabetes or preventing is to lose weight if you’re overweight and be physically active if you’re leading a sedentary lifestyle. Once you notice any of the symptoms of diabetes mentioned above, you should immediately consult a doctor.

You can also follow a proper Type 2 Diabetes checklist to maintain a healthy daily routine. Aerobic exercise has shown to benefit patients with type-2 diabetes.

Possible’s fitness instructor Sobha Rani shows us how to manage diabetes and high blood sugar effortlessly with this no-weights exercise.

You could get innovative while coming up with a diet chart for diabetes type 2. You can focus on legumes, especially the versatile moong!

Try this moong dal dosa for breakfast, moong and tinda curry, or simply try this dal chutney.

Recommended read: Can you eat rice in diabetes?

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14 thoughts on “14 Best Foods for Diabetes: What to Eat & Avoid

  1. Irfana says:

    Hi, nice article on foods that help to beat diabetes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important as it helps to reduce the risk of diabetes and may reverse your diabetes too.

  2. Neeten says:

    I have Diabetes and hence has been gaining weight. I am trying best to lose weight naturally with foods. These foods really helpful..

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