For people with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar, diet is a major part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Although factors like body weight, activity, stress, and genetics also play a role in blood sugar maintenance, following a healthy diet is critical for blood sugar control (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
While some foods, including items high in added sugar and refined carbs, can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, others can optimize blood sugar control while promoting overall health (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Here are 17 foods that may help regulate your blood sugar.
1. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
Sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties.
This plant chemical is produced when broccoli is chopped or chewed due to a reaction between a glucosinolate compound called glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase, both of which are concentrated in broccoli (5).
Test-tube, animal, and human studies have shown that sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract has powerful antidiabetic effects, helping enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and markers of oxidative stress (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
Broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin, and they’ve been shown to help promote insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when supplemented as a powder or extract (8Trusted Source, 9).
Keep in mind that the best way to enhance the availability of sulforaphane is to enjoy broccoli and broccoli sprouts raw or lightly steamed, or to add active sources of myrosinase like mustard seed powder to cooked broccoli (12Trusted Source).
Seafood, including fish and shellfish, offers a valuable source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help regulate blood sugar levels.
Protein is essential for blood sugar control. It helps slow digestion and prevents post-meal blood sugar spikes, as well as increases feelings of fullness. Plus, it may help prevent overeating and promote excess body fat loss, two effects that are essential for healthy blood sugar levels (13Trusted Source).
A high intake of fatty fish like salmon and sardines has been shown to help improve blood sugar regulation.
For example, a study in 68 adults with overweight or obesity who consumed 26 ounces (750 grams) of fatty fish per week had significant improvements in post-meal blood sugar levels, compared with those who consumed lean fish