8 Super Foods for Diabetics

It's a delicate balance - making smart food choices to control your blood glucose levels, while keeping the fun in food. Learning how to adjust your diet takes time, but the benefits are worth it. You'll need less diabetes medication and avoid complications such as nerve damage and kidney disease.

You're probably aware of some of the bounty that has gained the nickname of "diabetic food" such as whole grains, fish and vegetables. But some pack more of a punch when it comes to fighting your disease. Add these eight super diabetic foods to your diet today.

1. Beans. Beans are loaded with dietary fiber; high-fiber foods break down more slowly in the bloodstream and help to stabilize your blood sugar. Beans are also very filling, so you're likely to eat less and reduce your overall calorie intake. Black, lima and pinto beans are the best choices, advises the American Diabetes Association. Recent research also shows that white kidney beans contain an enzyme that slows the breakdown of carbohydrate into sugar and promotes weight loss.

2. Cinnamon. This spice is everything nice when it comes to fighting diabetes and is a tasty diabetic food. It increases your body's sensitivity to insulin so that glucose can enter cells. Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels significantly, so add some to your baking, tea, lemonade and sauces.

3. Fatty fish. Seafood such as salmon, trout, herring, albacore tuna and mackerel are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help to lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels, which are often high in people who have diabetes. They also boost good cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.

4. Figs. These fruit are packed with fiber, so they do a great job at helping to control your blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that fig leaf supplements can also lower blood sugar levels, which boosts this fruit's reputation as a super diabetic food.

5. Green leafy vegetables. Veggies such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard may not win taste contests, but they're definitely on the diabetic food list. They're packed with magnesium and potassium. Magnesium helps to control blood sugar levels, and potassium helps to regulate blood pressure. Green leafy vegetables are also good sources of vitamin K, which plays a role in preventing diabetes.

6. Green tea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this antioxidant-rich beverage has been used traditionally to control blood sugar. Studies also indicate that green tea may help prevent type 1 diabetes and slow down the rate of progression once you have it. Green tea extract powder may also lower A1c levels if you have prediabetes.

7. Potatoes. Potato peel is packed with fiber so keep the skin on when you're cooking them to aid diabetes management. Research shows that blood sugar levels in rats were significantly reduced when potato peel was added to their diet.

8. Soy. This favorite with vegetarians and vegans is quickly becoming a favorite diabetic food. The Harvard University School of Public Health found that soy protein and soy nuts can improve insulin sensitivity, and lower bad cholesterol. Soy nuts have the biggest impact, possibly because they provide soy protein, polyunsaturated fats and a greater amount of isoflavones.