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10 Winter Superfoods That Can Help Control Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires lifetime management. Seasonal changes, like winters, can sometimes cause difficulties in managing the condition and increase the risk of complications in diabetics.

According to a study published in the journal Medicine, blood glucose control in diabetics is influenced by seasons, with sugar levels decreasing during the summers and increasing during the winter season. [1]

Photo Credit: Food photo created by senivpetro -

The diet helps a lot in controlling blood glucose levels and managing diabetes well. There are certain winter superfoods that not only help manage diabetes but also keep the body warm and boost immunity during the winter season.

In this article, we will discuss those winter superfoods that can help control diabetes during the season. Take a look.

1. Hard-boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs (both egg white and egg yolk solidified) are an important source of protein that may help give you a feeling of satiety without increasing your sugar levels. A study also says that frequent egg consumption of around 2-4 servings/week is linked to a 40 per cent lower risk of diabetes than only 0-1 servings/week. However, this was related to middle-aged men but not women; high egg consumption may increase the risk of diabetes in women. Also, egg helps keep the body warm during the winters and thus, are the best among winter superfoods. [2]

Note: Women can have hard-boiled eggs as an occasional snack to manage diabetes.

2. Walnuts

A study has shown that among walnut consumers, the prevalence of diabetes was lower. Walnuts have largely been associated with glycemic control as they may help improve glucose levels and also contribute to weight management in diabetics. This essential nut is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids that may help maintain skin moisture and is also good for hairs. Walnuts can be a good snack to generate body heat during winters. [3]

3. Winter Squash

As the name suggests, winter squash is one of the nutritional vegetables commonly found during the winter season. It may help lower high blood glucose levels fast and are highly effective for critically ill diabetics, says a study. The strong anti-glycemic effect of winter squash is mainly due to the presence of phytochemicals such as tannins, saponins and flavonoids. These compounds may also help boost immunity during the season and keep diabetics healthy. [4]

4. Ginger Tea

Ginger is widely known to raise the core body temperature and provide warmth to the body. [5] According to a study, ginger may significantly help lower blood glucose levels due to its antioxidative, anti-cholesterol and anti-diabetic effects, thus reducing the risk of complications in diabetes. Ginger tea makes for the best healthy and nutritious drink to keep the body warm during winters, as well as, maintain sugar levels in diabetics. The tea may also help reduce weight circumference and body weight. [6]

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon makes for a great additive to teas, soups, curries and baked goods. As per Ayurveda, cinnamon can bring a great change to the body temperature and that is why, cinnamon tea is the best for winters. Cinnamon also has positive effects on the blood glucose of both healthy individuals and diabetics. In diabetics, around 3-6 g of cinnamon can help maintain sugar levels. Cinnamon's anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties also help keep the immune system strong and prevent the risk of diabetes complications. [7]

6. Fish

Fish consumption and diabetes management are not directly related; however, some studies do relate fish to improved glucose levels. Fish is higher in proteins, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that may help lower cholesterol levels, improve insulin insensitivity and thus, manage diabetes and prevent its complications. Also, hot fish dishes like curries and soups, when prepared with hot spices like chillies, garlic and ginger, can help keep the body warm during winters. [8]

7. Kidney Beans

A study has shown that regular consumption of legumes like kidney beans can play a great role in reducing the risk of diabetes and also help manage sugar levels in people with diabetes. [9] Kidney beans have a low glycemic index that causes them to digest slowly and thus cause less sugar spike after its consumption. Also, kidney beans are known to reduce the glycemic response when consumed with rice compared to rice alone. [10]

8. Orange

Orange is the best winter fruit and also one of the best fruits for people with diabetes. The essential nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, folate, beta-carotene and flavonoids in orange have properties to manage glucose levels, reduce cholesterol and also protect pancreatic cells from oxidative damage. Orange is also a great fruit for digestion and may help efficiently carry out the process of digestion, thus producing heat in the body to combat the cold temperature of winters. [11]

9. Clove

According to a study, clove works in multiple ways to control glucose levels in the body. It significantly reduces post-meal blood glucose, lowers cholesterol levels and also prevents damage to pancreatic cells and kidneys from harmful oxidative damage. [11] Clove is also a great spice to regulate body temperature when consumed. It may help keep the body warm when consumed in the form of teas or soups.

10. Pumpkin seeds

The presence of certain active ingredients such as nicotinic acid, trigonelline, sterol, peptides and D-chiro-inositol in pumpkin seeds have high hypoglycemic effects that may help maintain glucose control in both diabetics and healthy individuals. [12] The presence of fibre in pumpkin seeds may also help keep you full for longer and prevent frequent binging. Great amounts of magnesium in pumpkin seeds may help regulate the body heat and keep you warm during winters. Avoid overconsumption to prevent gastrointestinal issues.

To Conclude

The aforementioned winter superfoods can effectively help maintain glucose levels in diabetes only when combined with proper exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits. Include these foods in your diabetes diet and keep yourself warm and healthy during the season.