Several foods may help lower your blood sugar, but some may be more effective than others.
Here are 17 foods that may help regulate your blood sugar.
Sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood sugar-reducing properties. This plant chemical is produced through an enzyme reaction when broccoli is chopped or chewed (5).
Test-tube, animal, and a few human studies have shown that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has potent antidiabetic effects, helping enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and oxidative stress markers (
Broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucosinolates such as glucoraphanin. Research suggests that these compounds help promote insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when supplemented as a powder or extract (
The best way to enhance the availability of sulforaphane is to enjoy broccoli and sprouts raw or lightly steamed or add active sources of myrosinase, such as mustard seed powder, to cooked broccoli (
Seafood, including fish and shellfish, is a valuable source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help regulate blood sugar levels.
Protein is essential for blood sugar management. It helps slow digestion, prevents postmeal blood sugar spikes, and increases feelings of fullness. Plus, it may help prevent overeating and promote excess body fat loss, two essential effects for healthy blood sugar levels (
A high intake of fatty fish such as salmon and sardines has been shown to help improve blood sugar regulation.
For example, in a small study with 68 participants, adults with overweight or obesity who consumed 26 ounces (oz), or 750 grams (g), of fatty fish per week had significant improvements in postmeal blood sugar levels compared with those who consumed lean fish (
Brightly colored and packed with fiber and antioxidants, pumpkin is a great choice for blood sugar regulation. Pumpkin is a traditional diabetes remedy in many countries, including Mexico and Iran (
Pumpkin is high in carbs called polysaccharides, which have been studied for their blood sugar-regulating potential. Treatments with pumpkin extracts and powders have been shown to significantly decrease blood sugar levels in both limited human studies and animal studies (
However, more research is needed to determine how whole pumpkins may benefit blood sugar.
A small 2018 study with 40 participants found that consuming 2 oz (65 g) of pumpkin seeds reduced postmeal blood sugar by up to 35% compared with a control group (
Research has shown that eating nuts may be an effective way to help regulate blood sugar levels.
In a small study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, consuming both peanuts and almonds throughout the day as part of a low carb diet reduced fasting and postmeal blood sugar levels (
Also, a review found that consuming various types of tree nuts led to reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, the authors noted that the results were not clinically significant and that more research is necessary (
Okra is a fruit that’s commonly used like a vegetable. It’s a rich source of blood sugar-lowering compounds such as polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants (
Okra seeds may be beneficial as a natural remedy for diabetes due to their potent blood sugar-lowering properties (
Rhamnogalacturonan, the main polysaccharide in okra, has been identified as a powerful antidiabetic compound. Plus, okra contains the flavonoids isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside, which help reduce blood sugar by inhibiting certain enzymes (
Although animal studies suggest that okra has potent antidiabetic properties, human research studies are needed.
Flaxseed is rich in fiber and healthy fats and may help reduce blood sugar levels.
In an 8-week study of 57 people with type 2 diabetes, those who consumed 7 oz (200 g) of 2.5% fat yogurt containing 1 oz (30 g) of flaxseed each day experienced significant reductions in HbA1c — a marker of long-term blood sugar regulation — compared with those who consumed plain yogurt (
Moreover, a review of 25 controlled studies found that eating whole flaxseed led to significant improvements in blood sugar regulation (
Beans and lentils are rich in magnesium, fiber, and protein. These nutrients may be able to help lower blood sugar. They’re particularly high in soluble fiber and resistant starch, which help slow digestion and may improve blood sugar response after meals (
For example, a study of 12 women demonstrated that adding black beans or chickpeas to a rice meal significantly reduced postmeal blood sugar levels compared with eating rice alone (
Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut contain health-promoting compounds, including probiotics, minerals, and antioxidants. Research associates these compounds with improved blood sugar and insulin sensitivity (
A 2021 review concluded that probiotic foods had a notable effect on blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers noted that these foods had the greatest impact on people whose diabetes was not well managed and those who were not on insulin therapy (
However, most studies into the effect of fermented foods on blood sugar regulation involve rodent or cellular investigations. As a result, further controlled human studies are necessary (
Eating chia seeds may benefit blood sugar regulation. Some studies link chia seed consumption to reductions in blood sugar levels and improvements in insulin sensitivity.
A 2020 review of 17 animal studies concluded that chia seeds might help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation and potentially reduce disease risk, including the risk of diabetes (
Also, a study of 15 healthy adults showed that participants who received 1 oz (25 g) of ground chia seeds alongside 2 oz (50 g) of a sugar solution had a 39% reduction in blood sugar levels compared with those who consumed the sugar solution alone (
People often describe kale as a “superfood” — and for a good reason. It contains multiple compounds that may help decrease blood sugar levels, including fiber and flavonoid antioxidants.
A study that included 42 Japanese adults demonstrated that consuming either 7 or 14 g of kale-containing foods with a high carb meal significantly decreased postmeal blood sugar levels compared with placebo (
Numerous studies link berry intake with improved blood sugar regulation. Berries contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and all of this makes them an excellent choice for people with blood sugar management issues.
A 2019 study found that eating 2 cups (250 g) of red raspberries with a high carb meal significantly reduced postmeal insulin and blood sugar in adults with prediabetes compared with a control group (
In addition to raspberries, studies have shown that strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries may benefit blood sugar management by enhancing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose clearance from the blood (
Avocados may offer significant benefits for blood sugar regulation. They’re rich in healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and adding them to meals may improve blood sugar management.
Numerous studies have found that avocados may help reduce blood sugar levels and protect against the development of metabolic syndrome through fat loss. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure and high blood sugar, that increases chronic disease risk (
However, remember that many studies investigating the effects of avocado intake on blood sugar levels were funded by the Hass Avocado Board, which could have influenced aspects of the studies (
Including oats and oat bran in your diet may help improve your blood sugar levels due to their high soluble fiber content, which has been shown to have significant blood sugar-reducing properties (
An analysis of 16 studies found that oat intake significantly reduced HbA1c and fasting blood sugar levels compared with control meals (
Moreover, a small study of 10 people found that drinking 7 oz of water mixed with 1 oz of oat bran before eating white bread significantly reduced postmeal blood sugar compared with drinking plain water (
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are packed with fiber and contain plant compounds such as naringenin, a polyphenol with powerful antidiabetic properties (
Kefir and yogurt are fermented dairy products that may help regulate blood sugar.
An 8-week study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes showed that drinking 20 oz (600 milliliters) of kefir, a probiotic-rich yogurt drink, per day significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and HbA1c compared with drinking kefir that did not contain probiotics (
Yogurt consumption may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. In a 2022 analysis of 42 studies, the authors concluded that each 50 g (1.7 oz) of daily yogurt intake was associated with a 7% decrease in type 2 diabetes risk (
Eggs are a concentrated source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some studies have linked egg consumption to better blood sugar regulation.
A study of 42 adults with overweight or obesity and either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes showed that eating one large egg per day led to a significant 4.4% reduction in fasting blood sugar and improvements in insulin sensitivity compared with an egg substitute (
What’s more, during a 14-year follow-up study of 7,002 Korean adults, frequent egg intake of two to less than four servings per week was associated with a 40% lower risk of diabetes than eating eggs once per week or less. This association was apparent in men but not in women (
A study of 18 women found that eating apples 30 minutes before a rice meal significantly reduced postmeal blood sugar compared with eating rice alone (
What foods are good for hyperglycemia?
Foods that may help support blood sugar regulation include broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and nuts, among others. These foods may help slow digestion and typically do not raise your blood sugar.
What foods should you avoid for hyperglycemia?
If you have hyperglycemia, you may need to avoid foods that can raise your blood sugar. This can include foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs, such as white bread, bagels, and sweetened dessert items.
What is the fastest way to reduce hyperglycemia?
If you are experiencing hyperglycemia, a doctor or healthcare professional may recommend using fast-acting insulin to lower your blood glucose levels. They may also recommend an appointment with your healthcare team.
You may need to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Your healthcare team can help you develop a treatment plan that involves diet changes, exercise, and medication, if needed, to help lower your blood sugar levels (
Following a healthy dietary pattern is essential for optimal blood sugar management.
Whether you have prediabetes or diabetes or want to reduce your risk of developing these conditions, including the foods listed above as part of a nutritious diet may help lower your blood sugar levels.
However, keep in mind that your overall dietary intake, as well as factors such as your activity level and body weight, are most important when it comes to optimizing blood sugar regulation and protecting against chronic disease.