Food for diabetes

Is there a diet for diabetes? What exactly is diabetics and what foods should a Diabetes patient be eating? What foods should diabetic patients be avoiding? Can diabetes improve or be cured by the right diet? Everybody needs to do some body exercise more especially diabetic patients. The best diabetes diet can be found in African foods. 




What is Diabetes? Types of Diabetes 

Diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to produce enough insulin or the body is not responding to the insulin in the body making the blood have too much or little sugar. 

There are two types of diabetes. 

The type 1 diabetes is when the body cannot produce enough insulin 

The type 2 diabetes is when the body is not using its insulin or the body is not producing the required insulin properly. The most common one to most diabetic cases is the type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is linked to blood sugar levels and it is very important that people with diabetes manage their blood by keeping the sugar in blood under control. Some African foods are really good at managing and lowering blood sugar levels. 


Yes and No
Yes and No


Foods not to eat with Diabetes 

Fried food like french fries, processed food, junk food, fatty food, sugar, dried fruits, sweetened breakfast cereals, processed grains ie white rice or white flour. Canned food is a very bad choice especially the ones packed in syrup or in brine. Carbohydrates convert to sugar in the body. Foods high in carbohydrates (yam, cassava, white potato, and white bread) should be avoided or highly reduced.

Foods with sugar should be avoided 

Drinks to avoid are fizzy drinks, sugary beverages, flavoured coffee, sweetened yogurt 


Yes Foods
Yes Foods


Foods to eat with Diabetes 

The best diabetes diet would be a diet that does not raise the blood sugar in the body. Here are some African food that can help. 

Green Plantain
Unripe Plantain

Green Plantain – unripe plantain is known as green Plantain, it is in the banana family, only it is bigger than a banana and cannot be eaten raw. Green Plantain is low in sodium and calories, high in fibre and rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B6 and C. Always eat the completely unripe plantain, ripe or partly ripe plantain converts to sugar in the body. 



Red Beans
Red Beans

Beans (Cowpea)  – is high in protein and iron, it also contains vitamin B and magnesium. Cowpeas balance sugar levels in the blood.





Sweet potatoes – are lower in glycemic index than the regular potato. This means that the sweet potatoe will not convert into as much sugar in the body as the white potato will. A very good food to manage sugar in the body. 



Okra – Popularly called ‘ladies finger’ contains Calcium, folic acid, vitamins B and C. Okra is high in fibre and low in calories. It is has antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and it lowers blood sugar. This makes an excellent food option for a person diagnosed with diabetes.



Kiwi fruit – has low calorie, it is rich in vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Kiwi helps a lot in lowering blood sugar. 



Oats – is high in fibre, contains magnesium, vitamins B and E. Oats is so good at regulating blood sugar that it could reduce the amount of  insulin injections a diabetes takes. 



Suggested meals

Okra Soup
Okra Prawn Soup

Okra soup  – chop or grate the okra. Pour chopped Okra into boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. 






Okra Stew
Okra Stew

Okra stew  – Make a tomato sauce with your choice of meat or fish. While it is boiling, add chopped okra and simmer for 5 minutes.




Oatmeal porridge  -mix 1 cup of oats in 11/2 cups of cold water, bring it to the boil mixing consistently. Let it cook for 5 minutes, add water to make it into your desired thickness and serve.  Make your oatmeal porridge without sugar. Sweeten it with fresh fruit such as kiwi and nearly ripe bananas. 




Oat Fufu
Oat Fufu

Oatmeal fufu  – Use oat flour and boiled water. Add 1 cup of oat flour to 11/2 cups of boiling water. Using a wooden spoon, mouldy it into a thick dough. Pour 1 more cup of water on the mould and bring it to the boil. Mix water into the mould to make a nice and smooth fufu. Serve with Okra soup, ewedu soup, edikaikong or efo riro.



Plantain Porridge
Plantain Porridge

Plantain porridge  – Chop unripe plantain into 1 centimetre cubes. Boil it in water with onions, spices and fish. When plantain is nice and soft add chopped fresh green vegetable such as spinach, Ugwu or kale. Add 2 tablespoons of palmoil and simmer for 5 minutes. You can serve it hot or cold. 





Plantain Fufu
Plantain Fufu

Plantain fufu  – can be made using 3 methods (1) From plantain flour: bring water to boil, pour in plantain flour and mix into a thick dough, pour in some more water and boil for about 10 minutes. While still on the cooker, mix into the desired consistency. (2) chop raw plantain into 1 centimetre cubes, put the cubes in a blender, pour in some water and blend into a smooth paste. Pour the smooth paste into a pot, boil and mix it contstantly till it is cooked. (3) Boil chopped plantain till very soft, blend and serve. Serve plantain fufu with ewedu soup, okra soup or efo riro. 

Beans porridge – boil the beans with some onions, pepper, 2 tablespoons of palm oil and little or no salt till soft. Mix and serve. 

Bean soup – boil beans with salt and onion till very soft. Blend boiled beans into a smooth paste and serve. 


Kiwi Smoothie
Kiwi Smoothie

Kiwi fruit smoothie  – peal and chop up kiwi fruit. Put the cut pices into a smoothie maker with some other chopped fruit such as banana and oranges. (Optional: add a tablespoon of oat flour) Blend and serve. 




Start your diet journey today and watch the sugar count in your blood improve. 

To Start eating oatmeal fufu and plantain fufu click on any of the links below 


I would like to know what you think of these meals and if you did give any of them a try, how did it go? Or if you have a question please leave a comment below. 

This article has 17 Comments

  1. I would love to create a website like yours as the template used is really nice, simple and brings about clarity of the write ups, but then you wrote a brilliant article on some of the best diabetes diet to engage. i have gotten to discover new diet thanks to your well researched article. this is good.

  2. I feel like the foods and drinks you mention to avoid if you have diabetes are good ones to avoid in general! I’m no expert, but it feels like so many of our items have unneeded salt or sugar. I really like the recommendations of plantains and red beans. Those were two of our regular staples when we lived down in Costa Rica last winter! 

  3. Thanx, to give us a fantastic article. Its very informative article.I learned more about diabetes from your article.I am very aware of health. You have described about diabetes in beautiful ways.My uncle is a type 1 diabetes patient. From your article I learned that whats I do for her . That’s you really deserve praise.I have learned a lot from it. every Diabetes patient needs to know about it. This has seemed to be good.
    I will share it on my social media. My friend and family person will know more about it.

  4. Very true in regard to those with diabetes looking to improve their nutrition – especially Type II. I’ve always said this as well – the more processed the food is, the more they should steer clear of it. If we’re looking at foods high in sugar or are refined carbohydrates, stay away from them. The good news is that Type II diabetes is reversible when one follows proper measures to take control of their health and well-being. It’s just a matter of starting. 

    Once you start with exercise and of course, the nutritional recommendations laid out in the article, it’ll soon become a habit and the ways of your former lifestyle will disappear. And better yet, it’s likely you’ll be able to get off your diabetes medication as well. A huge bonus. 

  5. Hi,

    this post has a lot of useful informations. My grandma had diabetes but sheloved to eat bread, potato (also french fries) and white rice. She was carefulwith some food, but she didn’t pay attention to everything. For example, shealways took coffee with special sweetener, she didn’t eat to much grapes, butshe ate white bread a lot, meals that are fried and similar. She held dietsonce and awhile, but not as much as she should have. I think she avoidedbananas, we don’t have that type you mentioned. I’m also not sure if they sellokra here. I haven’t seen that, but it looks interesting. I think Kiwi smoothieis great for anyone, kiwi is a great fruit.

    Thanks for all the details,


  6. I am a type 2 diabetes and am always looking for different foods I can eat.  Sometimes it feels like a real boring day when there are only certain things I can eat.  I really appreciate finding articles like this.  Could you give me a little more info on plantains and good ways to cook the.  Thank you for all the great information.

  7. I have a question. Can diabetic patients take honey? Wow these are typical African dishes. By the way, your recipe for porridge beans, are you suggesting that after boiling the beans, you don’t drain the water before adding spices? I didn’t quite understand this method. Or as soon as you put the raw beans on the fire, you add all the ingredients?

    Africa has everything when it comes to food, and I’m glad they are making the best use of it. I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Laurine,

      I would advice diabetic patients to stay away from honey. 

      As soon as you put on your raw beans, add all the spices, cook it till soft and do not drain the water. Mix it and serve. Yummy! 

  8. When my dad was diagnosed with type two diabetes, we researched all over for ways to help control or counter it. I knew exercise and reduced alcohol intake were great options, but had no idea what the benefits of proper eating could do to help. I love the two options of sweet potatoes and oats that you mentioned, as sweet potatoes are great as a side dish and provide a lot of benefits. I didn’t realize that oats had fiber and the vitamins you mentioned – this is an added bonus in terms of bettering health and helping fight diabetes! I am going to send him a link to this to see what options he likes, as kiwi and plantains are something new that can be introduced into his diet that will help him in more ways than one!   

  9. Thanks for this article about healthy African diet. Although I am not diabetic, I love to cook and eat food from different countries. I must admit that although I have tried many different foods, I have never eaten African food. So, it’s a great place to start. I can use some of your recipes at home. 

    By the way, I am curious – is the African food similar all over Africa, or it’s really different in different African countries?

    1. Thank Sandy,

      Africa is a very big continent the weather in the North and south is different from that in the east and west and so does the food. There is some variation in the way we prepare and present our food, but all of Africa eat lots of meats, stews and spices. 

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