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Healthy Nigerian Foods For Diabetics


Diabetes, as a metabolic disorder, comes with some challenges on the choice of food, especially in Nigeria where most of our staple foods are starch-based.

Luckily, a good number of foods have been found to possess a low glycemic index (the rate of sugar release from food into the blood) and so are great in blood sugar control.

It is worthy of note that Diabetes mellitus, Type 2, which results from the inability of the body to make enough insulin or resistance to available insulin can be reversed with low glycemic foods. This is not so with type 1 diabetes where the pancreatic cells do not produce any insulin.

This type of food ensures the blood sugar is maintained as close to normal as possible thereby adjusting the need for medications.

Healthy Foods For Diabetic Patients

  1. FISH  

Fish is a great meal for diabetics especially the fatty ones that contain DHA and Omega 3 fatty acids. The healthy fats from fish protect diabetics from heart diseases.

There are varieties of meals you can make with fish and these includes but are not limited to:

  • Grilled Fish (Fish barbeque)
  • Fish pepper soup
  • Fish and tomato sauce
  • Dry fish with vegetable sauce
  • Fish white soup


  • Oat swallow:  Oat flour are available in stores. You can also make the flour by grinding your raw oat into powder form.
  • Amalla:  A typical low glycemic meal common with the Yourubas in the South Western part of Nigeria.
  • Unripe plantain swallow:   This can be prepared by peeling your green plantain, cut into pieces , blend with water then cook on low heat with constant stirring till it’s done. Or, boil the unripe plantain and pound to obtain a smooth mass.
  • Okpa; made from Bambara nut flour. You can make a swallow with okpa flour to enjoy with okra or any other healthy soup by mixing the flour with water and cooking on low heat for about 10-15 minutes while stirring constantly.
  • Vegetable swallow made with food binder.  A good number of vegetables with just little carbohydrate content can be made into swallow to ensure zero sugar spike in Diabetes. Such vegetables include
  1. Cabbage
  2. Garden egg
  3. Egg plant
  4. Beetroot
  5. Carrot
  6. Cucumber. 
  7. Broccolli


You can prepare any vegetable swallow with the following simple steps:

  • Cut your vegetable into small pieces.
  • Blend with enough water.
  • Strain the water with muslin cloth.
  • Transfer the smooth vegetable blend into a non-stick pan.
  • Add a food binder such as psyluim husk to get your desired consistency.
  • Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Turn and serve with your choice soup.


A good number of Nigerian soups are great for diabetics due to their low glycemic index and dense in nutrients. These soups include;

  • Okra soup
  • Bitther leaf soup
  • Afang soup
  • Waterleaf Soup
  • Oha soup
  • Egusi (melon) soup
  • White soup


  • Garden egg
  • Eggs
  • Groundnut
  • Cucumber
  • Wallnut
  • Pears (Avocado, black pears, etc)


  • Pepper soups: Could be chicken, goat meat, fish, cow tail, cow intestines, or snail pepper soup.
  • Nkwobi: which can be made with goat meat or cow tail with Utazi vegetable.
  • Grilled Liver with tomato sauce.
  • Pepperd meat of your choice.
  • Suya: This can be chicken, beaf, liver or gizzard.


  • Unsweetened yoghurt.
  • Unsweetened Zobo drink.
  • Smoothies from fruits like cucumber, Avocado and lemon.

There are many Nigerian foods you can choose from without fears, as long as you avoid hidden sugars from the numerous seasonings out there. Here are a number of them.

  • Moi moi
  • Yellow yam
  • Water yam
  • Brown Basmati rice with stew
  • Acha
  • Unripe plantain porridge
  • Beans porridge.
  • Ukwa (bread fruit)

The plate method as proposed by the American Diabetes Association is a great guide that helps to incorporate all classes of food into your meal.

With the plate method, your 9-inch plate is divided into 4 imaginary parts. Fill half of the plate with vegetables, a quarter with protein, and the last quarter with carbohydrate food. With a glass of water or other zero calory drinks, you are sure to get a balanced diet with proper portion control.

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