- The right ratio of macronutrients. In addition to choosing from low-glycemic foods, follow the standard diet recommended for people with diabetes: 40 to 50 percent of your calories from complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, i.e., low-glycemic), 20 to 30 percent from protein (limit meat and substitute soy and seafood whenever possible to reduce saturated fat); and 20 to 30 percent from fats, particularly “good” (monounsaturated) fats like olive and canola oil.
- Onions and garlic. Make these a regular part of your diet. Animal and a few human studies find the fragrant vegetables can lower blood sugar as well as cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Green or oolong tea. A small study of 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who drank 1 ½ quarts of oolong tea a day for 30 days significantly reduced their blood sugar levels and their levels of fructosamine (a marker that provides information about your glucose levels over the past two to four weeks) compared to when they drank only water. In lab animals, there’s evidence in animals that green tea helps cells soak up more glucose.
- Follow a high-fiber, low-glycemic diet. Make it high in dietary magnesium sources, like leafy green vegetables and whole grains, which studies find can reduce the risk of diabetes. At the same time, decrease the amount of meat in your diet, particularly processed meats like bacon and cold cuts. Studies find the higher your consumption of these foods, the higher your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Maintain a normal body weight. Being overweight or obese is probably the greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Take a yoga class. One study of 98 people with a variety of illnesses, including diabetes, found that nine days of yoga classes reduced blood glucose, total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and triglycerides, while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, likely due to yoga’s ability to reduce the effects of stress on the body.