Best Foods To Lower Blood Sugar

  • Dr. Maria WeissenbruchDoctor (Ph.D.), Cell and Developmental Biology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany
  • Regina LopesSenior Nursing Assistant, Health and Social Care, The Open University

Importance of managing normal blood sugar level

For overall health and well-being, it is very important to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Normal blood sugar levels maintain a steady supply of energy to your cells for normal physical functioning and emotional well-being. If your blood sugar levels remain consistently high over some time it can cause serious health issues like kidney disease, nerve disorders, cardiac complications, vision and foot problems.

Therefore it is essential to ensure your blood sugar level remains in normal range for optimum health and well-being. Diet plays a key role in regulating blood sugar levels along with genetics, exercise, hydration, sleep, medications, stress and illnesses.1

How to choose food for lowering blood sugar

When choosing foods to keep your blood sugar levels normal make sure the food you choose is:

Low glycemic index

The Glycemic index of a food tells how quickly each food changes your blood sugar (glucose) level when eaten on its own. Low GI food helps to maintain:

  • Stable blood sugar levels: Low GI foods are absorbed slowly compared to high GI foods, so glucose release in the blood is slow and steady. This prevents sudden spikes in blood sugar levels2 
  • Improved insulin sensitivity: When the rise in blood sugar level is slow and steady, the body cells' response to the blood sugar levels and insulin is also balanced3
  • Reduced risk of hypoglycaemia: Low GI food provides a steady source of glucose that prevents sudden drops in blood sugar reducing the risk of hypoglycemic events
  • Weight management: Low GI foods are more satisfying and keep one feeling full longer, preventing the need for frequent snacking
  • Long-term blood sugar control: If low GI foods are part of your routine diet, then this leads to better long-term control of your sugar levels

High in fibre

Fibre plays a very important role in blood sugar regulation through several mechanisms:

  • Slowing down glucose absorption: Dietary fibre when mixed with water in the digestive tract forms a gel-like substance. This gel makes the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates slower so sugar levels in the blood do not rise rapidly4
  • Improved insulin sensitivity: High-fibre diets have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity depends on how effectively the body's cells respond to insulin and take up glucose from the blood
  • Promoting satiety and weight management: Fibre-rich foods are more fulfilling thus reducing the need for further snacking and better sugar levels5
  • Supporting gut health: Certain kinds of fibres named prebiotics help to grow beneficial bacteria in the gut by serving as fuel for their growth. Beneficial bacteria contribute to better metabolic health leading to better sugar

High in protein

  • Slow down glucose absorption: High protein food Slow down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates when added to your meal
  • Glucagon release: Protein consumption stimulates the release of glucagon. Glucagon releases stored glucose from the liver which prevents blood sugar from dropping too low in the absence of glucose supply from food6
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Proteins also improve the body's ability to respond to insulin
  • Promoting satiety: They increase feelings of fullness thus reducing the need for further snacking

High in healthy fats

Though fats as such do not directly lower blood sugar, healthy fats still help in regulating blood sugar levels by below means.

  • Slow down glucose absorption: Healthy fats slow down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates when added to your meal
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: They also improve the body's ability to respond to insulin
  • Promoting satiety: They increase feelings of fullness thus reducing the need for further snacking

Which foods are best for lowering blood sugar levels?


Leafy greens

Leafy greens are rich in fibre but low in calories so good for filling the stomach with minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Fibres slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and being rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenols they help to improve overall metabolic health leading to better sugar control.7

Below are some examples of leafy greens you can include in your diet.

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Swiss chard
  • Collard greens
  • Romaine lettuce

Sweet potato

The carbohydrates in sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates which take longer to digest reducing the spikes in blood sugar levels. They also have high fibre content and are rich in nutrients. In a review of 23 articles, it has been observed that sweet potatoes are effective in reducing blood sugar.8 You can roast, bake steam, or boil them but avoid having processed and deep-fried versions which can add sugars or unhealthy fats.



Berries are low in calories and rich in fibre. Berries are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This makes berries an excellent fruit which can be used for lowering blood sugar:

  • Blueberries: helping to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity9
  • Strawberries: a very good option to reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity as per the research10 
  • Raspberries: helping to reduce the risk of diabetes11
  • Blackberries: animal models have exhibited reduced insulin resistance and better control over sugar levels12
  • Cranberries: having cranberries with a high-fat meal helps to manage sugar levels even better13


Research study showed that if avocado is added to a lunch it increases satisfaction and reduces the desire to eat over the next 3-to-5-hour period. So, adding half an avocado to a meal can make you feel full for longer and reduce the desire to eat snacks in between meals.14 Avocados contain oleic acid which is known for improving insulin sensitivity which refers to the body's ability to respond to insulin. Avocados are rich in fibre (9 grams per 100 gm) and low in carbohydrates (4 grams per 100) which again helps to lower blood sugar. 


Legumes are high in fibres which slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood. This prevents sudden increases in blood sugar in the blood. Legumes are low in glycaemic index and rich in protein and other nutrients. All of these lead to the combined effect of lowering blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity.

Below are a few examples of legumes which you can add to your diet.

  • Chickpeas: better than potatoes or wheat in reducing blood sugar levels15
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans 
  • Pinto beans: adding the above beans to the rice rather than only rice results in better blood glucose management16


Millets are particularly grown in Asia and Africa, these are a group of small-seeded grains which include finger millet (ragi), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet, and sorghum (jowar).

They are low in glycaemic index and rich in fibre content. Many millets are gluten-free, and gluten-free diets are shown to have improved blood sugar control in diabetes17

  • Finger millet (ragi): finger millet when compared with rice and wheat provided better sugar level control18
  • Pearl millet (bajra): pearl millet is best to lower blood sugar levels as it has the lowest glycemic index compared to sorghum, finger millet and mungbean19
  • Foxtail millet: foxtail millet due to its low GI index serves as a very good option for reducing blood sugar levels
  • Sorghum (Jowar): sorghum is again helpful for reducing blood sugar being a low GI food

Fatty fish

Fatty Fish are naturally low in carbohydrates and thus do not cause any spikes in blood sugar. Fatty fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce insulin resistance, so cells can take up glucose from the blood easily. They are rich sources of proteins which aid in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.

In a study conducted on iron-deficient women, it has been observed that oily fish increases insulin sensitivity compared with a red meat diet. This helps in better sugar level control.20

Below are a few options which you can add to your diet.

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Trout 


Nuts have a low glycaemic index, are low in carbohydrates and high in proteins and also contain healthy fats. This helps in preventing low blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity.

  •  Almonds: almonds help in better sugar level control and improved insulin sensitivity21

Results from one study indicated that both almonds and peanuts are good in reducing fasting and postprandial 2-hour blood glucose levels.22

  • Walnuts: in a research study, diabetic patients showed improvement in blood glucose levels after walnut oil consumption23


  • Chia seeds: in animal models, chia seeds showed reduced blood sugar and reduced cholesterol levels. Compared with raw and germinated chia seeds, fermented chia had a higher effect in lowering blood glucose and serum lipids profiles24
  • Flaxseed: flaxseed gum is again helpful in reducing blood sugar
  • Pumpkin seeds: the addition of pumpkin seeds to meals helps to reduce blood sugar levels25


For overall health and well-being it's very important to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Diet plays a key role in regulating blood sugar levels along with genetics, exercise, hydration, sleep, medications, stress and illnesses.

When choosing foods to keep your blood sugar levels normal make sure the food you choose is low in glycaemic index, high in fibres, high in proteins, contains healthy fats and is rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenols. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, Kale, Arugula, Swiss chard, Collard greens, and Romaine lettuce are low in glycaemic index and rich in fibres. Sweet potato, avocado and all kinds of berries provide very good blood sugar level control. 

Legumes are rich in proteins and delay carbohydrate absorption so if rice is eaten with legumes like kidney beans, pinto beans, and black eye beans it prevents sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Nuts like almonds, walnuts and millets including finger millet (ragi), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet, and sorghum (jowar) are also some options which you can use for better blood sugar level control.


  1. Awuchi, Chinaza G. ‘Diabetes and the Nutrition and Diets for Its Prevention and Treatment: A Systematic Review and Dietetic Perspective’. Health Sciences Research, Jan. 2020.,
  2. Björck, Inger, et al. ‘Low Glycaemic-Index Foods’. British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 83, no. S1, June 2000, pp. S149–55. Cambridge University Press,
  3. Sacks, Frank M., et al. ‘Effects of High vs Low Glycemic Index of Dietary Carbohydrate on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Insulin Sensitivity: The OmniCarb Randomized Clinical Trial’. JAMA, vol. 312, no. 23, Dec. 2014, pp. 2531–41. Silverchair,
  4. Flourié, B. ‘The Influence of Dietary Fibre on Carbohydrate Digestion and Absorption’. Dietary Fibre — A Component of Food: Nutritional Function in Health and Disease, edited by Thomas F. Schweizer and Christine A. Edwards, Springer, 1992, pp. 181–96. Springer Link,
  5. Slavin, J., and H. Green. ‘Dietary Fibre and Satiety’. Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 32, no. s1, Mar. 2007, pp. 32–42. (Crossref),
  6. Claessens, Mandy, et al. ‘Glucagon and Insulin Responses after Ingestion of Different Amounts of Intact and Hydrolysed Proteins’. British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 100, no. 1, July 2008, pp. 61–69. Cambridge University Press,
  7. University of Lisbon - Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal, et al. ‘Vegetables Consumption and Its Benefits on Diabetes’. Journal of Nutritional Therapeutics, vol. 6, no. 1, May 2017, pp. 1–10. Semantic Scholar,
  8. Naomi, Ruth, et al. ‘Potential Effects of Sweet Potato (Ipomoea Batatas) in Hyperglycemia and Dyslipidemia—A Systematic Review in Diabetic Retinopathy Context’. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 22, no. 19, Jan. 2021, p. 10816.,
  9. AL-Ishaq, et al. ‘Flavonoids and Their Anti-Diabetic Effects: Cellular Mechanisms and Effects to Improve Blood Sugar Levels’. Biomolecules, vol. 9, no. 9, Sept. 2019, p. 430. (Crossref),
  10. Deayu Putri, Mahendri, et al. ‘The Effect of Strawberry on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Review’. International Journal of Nutrition Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, Mar. 2020, pp. 1–6.,
  11. Calvano, Aaron, et al. ‘Dietary Berries, Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes: An Overview of Human Feeding Trials’. Food & Function, vol. 10, no. 10, Oct. 2019, pp. 6227–43. PubMed Central,
  12. Robinson, Julie A., et al. ‘Blackberry Polyphenols: Review of Composition, Quantity, and Health Impacts from in Vitro and in Vivo Studies’. Journal of Food Bioactives, vol. 9, Mar. 2020.,
  13. Schell, Jace, et al. ‘Cranberries Improve Postprandial Glucose Excursions in Type 2 Diabetes’. Food & Function, vol. 8, no. 9, Sept. 2017, pp. 3083–90.,
  14. Wien, Michelle, et al. ‘A Randomized 3×3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post-Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults’. Nutrition Journal, vol. 12, Nov. 2013, p. 155. PubMed,
  15. Nam, Taegwang, et al. ‘Effectiveness of Chickpeas on Blood Sugar: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials’. Nutrients, vol. 15, no. 21, Jan. 2023, p. 4556.,
  16. Thompson, Sharon V., et al. ‘Bean and Rice Meals Reduce Postprandial Glycemic Response in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Cross-over Study’. Nutrition Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, Apr. 2012, p. 23. BioMed Central,
  17. Anitha, Seetha, et al. ‘A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Potential of Millets for Managing and Reducing the Risk of Developing Diabetes Mellitus’. Frontiers in Nutrition, vol. 8, 2021, p. 687428. PubMed,
  18. Lakshmi Kumari, P., and S. Sumathi. ‘Effect of Consumption of Finger Millet on Hyperglycemia in Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) Subjects’. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, vol. 57, no. 3, Sept. 2002, pp. 205–13. Springer Link,
  19. Nambiar, Vanisha S., et al. ‘Potential Functional Implications of Pearl Millet (Pennisetum Glaucum) in Health and Disease’. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, vol. :, no. Issue, Dec. 2011, pp. 62–67.,
  20. Navas-Carretero, Santiago, et al. ‘An Oily Fish Diet Increases Insulin Sensitivity Compared to a Red Meat Diet in Young Iron-Deficient Women’. British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 102, no. 4, Aug. 2009, pp. 546–53. Cambridge University Press,
  21. Palacios, Orsolya M., et al. ‘Effects of Consuming Almonds on Insulin Sensitivity and Other Cardiometabolic Health Markers in Adults With Prediabetes’. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 39, no. 5, July 2020, pp. 397–406. PubMed,
  22. Hou, Yun-Ying, et al. ‘A Randomised Controlled Trial to Compare the Effect of Peanuts and Almonds on the Cardio-Metabolic and Inflammatory Parameters in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus’. Nutrients, vol. 10, no. 11, Oct. 2018, p. 1565. PubMed,
  23. Zibaeenezhad, Mohammadjavad, et al. ‘The Effect of Walnut Oil Consumption on Blood Sugar in Patients With Diabetes Mellitus Type 2’. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 14, no. 3, July 2016, p. e34889. PubMed,
  24. Fouda, Farhat. ‘Effect of Raw, Germinated, and Fermented Chia Seeds on Blood Sugar and Lipid Profiles in Experimental Rats’. Annals of Agricultural Science, Moshtohor, vol. 61, no. 2, June 2023, pp. 417–30.,
  25. Cândido, Flávia G., et al. ‘Addition of Pooled Pumpkin Seed to Mixed Meals Reduced Postprandial Glycemia: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial’. Nutrition Research, vol. 56, Aug. 2018, pp. 90–97. ScienceDirect,
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Vaishali S Gunjal

M.Sc. Pharmaceutical Medicine, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences

Vaishali is a Pharmaceutical Medicine Professional currently working as a medical writer based in Leeds, UK. She has been working in the medical field for over a decade advising healthcare professionals and consumers on the proper use, benefits, and potential risks associated with pharmaceutical products used for treatment or prevention of various health conditions.

She developed a strong interest in the safe and effective use of medicines while playing a pivotal role in providing accurate and timely medical information in Pharmacovigilance- Medical Information and Regulatory roles for several years in various pharmaceutical organisations.

Through her medical writing, she aims to empower individuals with accurate health information, promote awareness, and foster informed decision-making regarding health-related issues.

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