There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating with diabetes, but there are some general tips that most people with the condition can follow.
This will help to keep blood sugar levels managed, weight healthy and reduce the risk of complications, like heart or kidney disease.
These foods are among the best to do that:
Pulses – which include beans, lentils and peas – are often a forgotten part of the diet.
They are a great source of protein for vegetarians. But even meat-eaters can gain benefits from them because they are rich in iron, fibre, and three tablespoons count as one of your five a day.
The NHS says pulses, because of their high fibre content, are linked with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
And in those that already have the condition, eating beans, chickpeas, and lentils was associated with improved blood glucose control, according to a 2012 Canadian study published in JAMA.
It also reduced blood pressure, lowered cholesterol and triglyceride (fat found in the blood) levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
These foods are among the best to do that:
Everyone should eat at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish, health chiefs recommend.
Oily fish includes salmon, sardines and mackerel.
These are rich in something called omega-3 oil, which helps protect your heart.
For people with diabetes, fish may be an easy way to protect against kidney disease, which is seen in higher rates among those with the condition.
About one of three adults with diabetes has kidney disease.
A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that greater fish intake reduced levels of microalbuminuria – albumin excretion in the urine.
Microalbuminuria may be a marker of kidney problems in people with diabetes.
Some people enjoy a packet of nuts at the pub. But incorporating healthy nuts into your daily diet could be the key to managing diabetes.
Two servings of tree nuts a day – that’s almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts and pistachios – can lower and stabilise blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
That’s the conclusion of Canadian researchers who reviewed dozens of studies in 2014, publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Nuts are bursting with minerals and are a source of “healthy fats”.
But you have to be careful with the serving sizes of nuts, because although healthy, they are very high in calories.
They’re so small, yet so full of goodness.
Blueberries are higher in antioxidants than the typical fruit or vegetable. The natural occurring phytochemicals in blueberries have been extensively researched for their protective properties, which helps the body combat a long list of diseases.
They may help to keep blood sugar levels in control because, not only are they a source of fibre, but they have a low Glycaemic Index (GI).
This means that, compared to foods with a high GI, they release sugar into the blood slowly, avoiding sharp spikes and dips in blood glucose levels.
They can also prevent people from getting type 2 diabetes, a Harvard School of Public Health paper published in the British Medical Journal said.
The team found that for every three servings of blueberries (as well as grapes and apples) eaten per week, people reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 26 per cent compared with those who ate less than one serving per month.
5. Sweet potatoes
If you have diabetes, you may have heard you need to watch your carb intake.
For people with type 1 diabetes, it’s good to eat some carbs at every meal because otherwise, blood sugar levels can get too low. They can have as many carbs as they like as long as it is matched with their insulin.
Those with type 2 diabetes should get around half their calories from carbs. But, unlike those with type 1 diabetes, they are safe to try low-carb diets to lose weight.
Potatoes are a carb which means they will spike blood sugar levels. They have a medium to high GI.
However, sweet potatoes are lower in GI than white. Pumpkin, squash, carrots and parsnips are also good alternatives.
Sweet potatoes are high in fibre, which helps to release sugars into the bloodstream slower.
Baking or boiling potatoes for too long can also increase its GI. Cooling potatoes after they are cooked can lower the GI. It means a potato salad may be better for people with diabetes than a portion of french fries.
Oats are a great choice for some people with type 2 diabetes thanks to having a lower GI.
Oats also have a good fibre content, which is key for maintaining weight and digestive health, and can protect the heart, which is important because people with type 2 diabetes are prone to heart disease.
Oats can be made into warm porridge and topped with fresh fruit like raspberries and nuts, made into a cold birchen muesli overnight or added to smoothies.
But it’s important to buy plain old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, rather than buying those that are flavoured with sugars like honey and golden syrup.
Researchers said in 2010 that tomatoes might help to reduce the risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetics are more likely to get cardiovascular diseases because high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels over time.
One way to prevent this is to keep blood pressure levels stable.
The study found that people with diabetes who ate around 200g of fresh tomato per day had lower blood pressure after eight weeks.
8. Greek yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is a dairy product – which have been found to improve characteristics of metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, blood pressure and stomach fat.
All these factors “together markedly increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease”, experts warned in a 2014 scientific paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
They noted that yoghurt in particular may be helpful to prevent weight gain.
Weight is crucial to keep healthy when you have diabetes.
But some yoghurts are far better than others – Greek yoghurt is higher in protein, which keeps you fuller for longer, and is not pumped with added sugars, like flavoured yoghurts are.
Greek yoghurt can be eaten at breakfast, as a snack or dessert, so there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate it into the diet.