Eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is one of the simplest ways to manage your blood sugar and elevate your health to a whole new level. Your blood sugar controls several different hormonal responses in the body, all of which contribute to your energy, your mood, and even your hunger levels. Healthy blood sugars are also vital to prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hypoglycemia. Eating a diet that supports your blood sugar can also help prevent obesity.
Plant-based foods are jam-packed with fiber, which is the main reason they’re so supportive of blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down the release of sugar within the bloodstream, which helps steady insulin levels. This prevents those blood sugar “ups and downs” that foods high in refined sugars, animal foods, and highly- processed foods can cause.
To take care of your blood sugar, all you have to do is prioritize higher fiber sources of whole foods versus foods lower in fiber, such as foods with refined or added sugars, animal products (which dramatically raise insulin), and most processed foods.
To keep things easy and simple, focus on eating foods that do support your blood sugar instead of focusing on those that don’t. As you’ll see, there are some pretty delicious plant-based foods and meals you can make with them that support your blood sugar. These foods will keep you energized, satisfied, provide your body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and even some protein too!
All leafy greens such as: kale, spinach, romaine, arugula, collards, turnip greens, all lettuces, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, and any other green you can think of, are absolutely wonderful for your blood sugar. However, a few are especially rich in magnesium, which is acts like a “super nutrient” once it enters your body. Magnesium-rich greens include: kale, spinach, collards, romaine, and Swiss chard, which pack more of a nutritional punch for your blood sugar than other types do. Aim to pack a few servings of these into your day if you can and be sure to rotate your greens if you’re using them in a green smoothie. Use these nutritious greens to make a more filling, healthy smoothie to support your blood sugar even further.
Seeds such as chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and sesame seeds are powerhouses of nutrition! They’re wonderful sources of vitamins, minerals like magnesium, protein, and even iron. Take a look at this: chia seeds have 24 percent of your daily magnesium requirements, while animal-based foods have little to none. Chia, hemp, and flax are especially high in fiber, with as much as 10-15 grams in two tablespoons. All seeds are also rich sources of protein, so as you can see, their complete nutritional profile supports your blood sugar on every single level. Aim to add a few tablespoons of these seeds to your meals throughout your day. Try them in some yummy oatmeal , a nice smoothie, mixed into a snack, or even sprinkled on soup or salad.
The cacao bean is thought to be the most abundant source of magnesium in the world. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, iron, and even protein that benefits your blood sugar. While you probably it’s not the best idea to eat cacao all day, one or two ounces may go a long way towards lowering your blood sugar fairly quickly. Cacao is also rich in chromium, a mineral that also helps lower blood sugar even further. It might also help improve your focus, your mood, and even help you lose some weight! Go for cacao powder or nibs in a smoothie, use them in energy bars and bites, stir them into any breakfast porridge of your choice, or come up with your own idea! Here’s our favorite 20 Vegan Superfood Recipes Made With Raw Cacao if you need some new ideas!
Almonds are also another powerhouse of magnesium, fiber, and protein, right alongside seeds like hemp, chia, and flax. Almonds contain a particularly higher amount of magnesium than other nuts, with cashews being a close second. All nuts, almonds included, are also rich in chromium to assist blood sugar levels even further. Go for a handful of raw almonds next time you get the munchies. Just a small handful will go a long way to support your blood sugar levels and provide your body with raw nutrition. If you want to get a little fancy, these Almond Power Bars with Chocolate Topping make a great snack or pre-workout food on-the-go. This homemade almond butter isn’t too shabby either – in fact, it’s a pretty amazing paired with some raw vegan crackers or even a simple apple or banana.
Oats, rice, wheat germ, amaranth, teff, quinoa, brown and wild rice, and millet are also great sources of magnesium. They can all be made into a porridge for breakfast or used in various recipes of your choosing. Try out these 10 Delicious Ways to Use Oats if you’re tired of your usual bowl of oatmeal. This Healthy Quinoa Salad is also an excellent dish to lower your blood sugar and keep you full throughout the day.
Try sprinkling a little cinnamon onto any of your favorite blood-sugar friendly recipes. Cinnamon is especially rich in chromium and one of the most recommended foods for diabetics due to its ability to lower blood sugar quickly.
Other great foods for your blood sugar include: beans, legumes, vegetables like broccoli and carrots, and seaweed such as kelp and spirulina. As you can see, the plant-based kingdom is jam-packed with foods rich in fiber and magnesium, along with protein and other nutrients to support your blood sugar and other aspects of your health.
Want more blood-sugar friendly meal ideas? Check out our favorite 30 fiber-rich recipes!
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Healthy Quinoa Salad