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8 Foods to Help Prevent Diabetes and 5 That Raise the Risk

Looking for the right food to prevent diabetes naturally? Supercharge your meals with things like spinach and almonds—and skip the bacon.

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Ripe red apples in wooden box.Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Apples

An apple a day can keep diabetes away! Apples (especially green ones) are naturally low in sugar and high in fiber. They help to balance blood sugar and keep you full. Try dipping apple slices in unsweetened almond butter (here’s one of our faves) or adding some to your morning oatmeal for a tart treat.

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Washed fresh mini spinach in a colander on the old concrete tabledjero.adlibeshe

Prevents Diabetes: Spinach

To help prevent diabetes, look for fresh foods that are low in carbs like spinach. While even veggies have carbs, spinach is one of the lowest and is rich in fiber and antioxidants. Prep some hearty spinach salads for your lunches for the week or toss some fresh spinach in your morning smoothie to start the day off right.

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Almonds in brown bowl on wooden backgroundYulia Furman/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Almonds

Do you crave salty, crunchy snacks in the afternoon? Beat that 4 p.m. slump and avoid the work vending machine by keeping lightly salted almonds in your desk drawer. Almonds are high in healthy fats and fiber to keep you full and crush cravings. Having a small serving of nuts (like this nutty berry trail mix) can prevent you from snacking later on.

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Top view of bowl with black beans, mini taco boats, cabbage, salsa - ingredients for taco with black beans and vegetables.Natalia Wimberley/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Black Beans

While beans can be high in carbs, a small portion is worth it for their high amounts of fiber and protein. Eating high-fiber foods like beans can balance your blood sugar and prevent heart disease. Whip up an easy, healthy dinner tonight with black bean soup and a side of sliced bell peppers and guacamole.

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Lentils and spoon in a wooden bowl close up on an old table.SMarina/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Lentils

Break out the slow cooker—it’s lentil soup night! Lentils are incredibly high in fiber to keep your heart healthy and digestive tract moving along. A bowl of lentil soup is low in calories and will keep you full all night long, too. Try pairing it with a small whole wheat roll and hearty salad.

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Blueberries in crates at farmers market farm fresh organic fruit in the summer for sale with depth of field; Shutterstock ID 393591292N K/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Blueberries

Blueberries are a tasty superfood that can prevent just about any disease. That’s because they’re rich in antioxidants and vitamins for a healthy body and glowing skin. They’re also low in natural sugar, so they can satisfy your sweet cravings without spiking your blood sugar. Try whipping up your own healthy dessert with this frozen Greek vanilla yogurt topped with plenty of juicy blueberries.

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Fresh and sweet carrot on a grey wooden table5 second Studio/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Carrots

Carrots won’t just help your eyesight—they’ll prevent diabetes as well! Carrots are low in carbs and starch while providing natural sweetness. They’re rich in fiber and vitamins A and C to keep you healthy and balance blood sugar. Try roasting baby carrots for an easy side dish or whipping up this sweet and tangy carrot raisin salad.

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Dried long spaghettiAnna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock

Prevents Diabetes: Whole Wheat Pasta

Just because you’re watching your carbs doesn’t mean you have to give up one of life’s greatest pleasures—fresh pasta! Skip white pastas and opt for whole-grain varieties to keep the fiber and nutrients. Healthify your pasta night with whole wheat pasta and cheesy cauliflower breadsticks.

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Fresh corn on cobs on rustic wooden tableAll for you friend/Shutterstock

Raises the Risk: Corn

Like white potatoes and peas, corn is a starchy vegetable that is naturally high in carbs. It is also lower in nutrients compared to other veggies. If you’re focused on preventing diabetes, ditch the corn on the cob and opt for an equally tasty side dish like this easy balsamic zucchini saute.

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The best marinara sauceTaste of Home

Raises the Risk: Jarred Sauce

Processed foods like jarred tomato sauce are usually high in salt and sugar to preserve them. Look for low-sugar sauces or make your own at home. Homemade tomato sauce is bursting with flavor and nutrients while cutting the sugar! No time to stand over the stove? Try this no-cook fresh tomato sauce for the perfect dinner.

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Bacon on SkilletAnna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Raises the Risk: Bacon

We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but bacon is not the best choice if you’re looking for a diet to prevent diabetes. Bacon is high in salt and saturated fat, so lighten up your breakfasts by trying fresh ham on your breakfast sandwich instead.

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Fish fingers, mashed peas and chips fries. Traditional British fast foodDronG/Shutterstock

Raises the Risk: Fried Foods

It’s no surprise, but fried foods can put you at a higher risk for diabetes because of their high levels of fat, salt and sugar. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a decadent meal sometimes. Ditch the chicken fingers and fries for fresher and yummier options like seasoned chicken strips and rosemary sweet potato fries.

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Homemade Mini Plain Bagels Ready to EatBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Raises the Risk: Plain Bagel

If your go-to breakfast has always been a plain bagel with cream cheese, know that there are healthier, more flavorful options ready for you to try! White bread has been stripped of its nutrients and fiber, so it will spike your blood sugar. Upgrade your morning meal with any of these heart-healthy breakfasts.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.