Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is essential for everyone, but is of utmost importance for people with diabetes or prediabetes. Protein-rich diets have been shown to reduce hazardous swings in blood sugar levels.
When counseling clients as a dietitian, I generally suggest they get 20-30% of their daily calories from protein. If lowering your blood sugar levels is a priority for you, consider stocking up on these 10 proteins.
One big egg has 6 grams of protein and a plethora of other vital elements, making it a practically ideal protein source.
Eggs’ high protein and fat content keep you feeling full for longer after a meal, reducing the likelihood of mindless snacking that can cause a blood sugar roller coaster.
Both lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants associated with a decreased risk of diabetic eye disorders such cataracts and macular degeneration, can be found in eggs.
On your next trip to the supermarket, pick up a carton of eggs to eat scrambled, poached, baked, or in a vegetable-filled omelet.
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios are just a few of the many types of nuts that are extremely nutritious. About 6-7 grams of protein can be found in an ounce of nuts.
Blood sugar levels are less likely to surge after eating almonds because of the fiber and fat they contain. Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, walnuts are a fantastic option.
Eating nuts on a regular basis as part of a healthy diet has been shown to have additional health benefits, including a decrease in systemic inflammation and insulin resistance.
If you’re looking for a high-protein snack that won’t leave you hungry, try adding a handful of nuts to your yogurt, salad, or oatmeal.
3. Greek Yogurt
Protein-wise, plain Greek yogurt is fantastic, with about 17 grams per 6 ounce serving. The protein content is double that of traditional yogurt. Yogurt’s protein and probiotics promote digestive health and fullness.
The acidic flavor and thick consistency of Greek yogurt make it a suitable substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise in any recipe.
For a satisfying snack that won’t spike your blood sugar, try topping Greek yogurt with berries, chia seeds, and cinnamon, or eating it with an apple. Make sure you get the unsweetened, simple varieties.
4. Cottage Cheese
One half cup of cottage cheese contains 13 grams of protein, making it an excellent protein source. It’s a cheap must-have for any well-stocked fridge.
The creamy flavor and tender curds make for a delicious morning meal or afternoon snack. The high calcium content of cottage cheese is especially beneficial for diabetics because of their heightened susceptibility to osteoporosis.
To boost the health benefits, add some berries, nuts, seeds, or chopped vegetables. Cottage cheese can also be used in place of ricotta as the creamy foundation of low-carb lasagna.
Omega-3 EPA and DHA are known to reduce inflammation, and salmon is a great food source of these nutrients. A 4-ounce meal of salmon is an excellent source of protein (25 grams) and other nutrients (vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, potassium, and more).
Improved blood sugar management may result from the anti-inflammatory, fat-reducing, and insulin-enhancing effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon fillets are a flexible protein option for busy weeknights, as they may be grilled, baked, or seared. Salmon patties and salmon salad may be whipped up in a flash with the help of canned salmon.
One cooked cup of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) has 15 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, and complex carbs.
All of those nutrients work together to reduce the effect that carbohydrates have on blood sugar. They maintain a consistent rate of digestion rather than generating fluctuations. Chickpeas are delicious roasted or added to salads.
You may even use them to make your own hummus or a veggie burger patty. These protein-rich beans can be used in any number of creative ways.
These little vegetarian legumes should live in your pantry always. Lentils have 18 grams of protein and a lot of satisfying fiber per cooked cup. By slowing digestion, the combination of protein and fiber in this food aids with blood sugar regulation.
Studies have shown that replacing other forms of carbohydrates with lentils improves glycemic control. Lentils can be used in a variety of ways, such as in a robust lentil salad with crunchy vegetables or as a simple side dish when braised in broth.
Lettuce wraps, tacos, and lentil sloppy joes all be whipped up in a flash by rinsing canned lentils.
Edamame, often known as soybeans, is a complete protein source since it has all nine essential amino acids. There are a staggering 17 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, and it has a low glycemic index in just one cup of edamame.
Edamame is great for controlling blood sugar and staving off hunger because of this. Get your edamame either in the frozen or fresh variety.
Eat the beans straight from the pod after steaming or boiling them and seasoning with sea salt. Edamame in their shells are a versatile addition to dishes like stir-fries, grain bowls, and tacos.
Tofu is fermented soy milk, which provides 10 grams of protein and probiotics every half cup. Probiotic foods are helpful for maintaining good gut flora, which in turn aids in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Tofu’s isoflavones have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and insulin-enhancing effects. Tofu cubes can be baked or pan-seared before being used into stir-fries and sautés.
Smoothies can be made using soft tofu, and it can be used in place of ground beef if crumbled. Pick plain tofu instead than seasoned or fried options.
About 15 grams of protein can be found in a half cup portion of tempeh, which is produced from fermented soybeans. The fermentation process makes it easier to digest and absorb the food’s nutrients compared to tofu.
As a source of protein and fiber, tempeh is a healthy option for those watching their weight. Manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and beneficial microorganisms can all be found in tempeh.
It tastes nutty and has a hard, cake-like texture. Bake it, sauté it, grill it, or use it as a topping for a salad. Avoid the flavored kinds, as they often have added salt.
The Bottom Line
Increasing your consumption of these protein-rich foods can help in a variety of ways when it comes to controlling your blood sugar levels.
The digestion of protein takes longer, thus it does not result in surges in blood sugar levels. It also aids in maintaining healthy levels of insulin and glucagon, two hormones essential to maintaining stable blood sugar.
Maintain steady blood sugar levels by eating 20-30 grams of protein with every meal and snack. Your nutritionist and your body will appreciate your efforts.
On the benefits of eggs:
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On the benefits of chickpeas for blood sugar:
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On general recommendations for protein intake for blood sugar management: