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Joy Bauer gives a list of the best foods to eat to control diabetes

Joy L. Bauer, a certified nutritionist, is the founder of Joy Bauer Nutrition Centers and the nutrition expert on NBC's "Today" show. Bauer is quite qualified when it comes to nutrition. She has a master of science degree in nutrition from New York University where she has also served as the exclusive nutritionist for New York University's faculty, students, and athletes. As the founder and CEO of Joy Bauer Nutrition, she headed one of the largest nutrition centers in the country for close to two decades.

Best foods to eat to control type 2 diabetes
Photo by Cindy Ord

Bauer is passionate about giving people scientifically sound health information. Even though she helps people who are not diabetics, she received the 2010 National Media Excellence Award from the American Dietetic Association. She gives tips on type 2 diabetes diet and treatment and advises diabetics to eat the following foods.

Beans, including black, white, navy, lima, pinto, garbanzo, soy, and kidney are a winning combination of high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein, and soluble fiber that helps stabilize your body's blood-sugar levels and keeps hunger in check. Beans are also inexpensive, versatile, and virtually fat-free.

Oatmeal is an excellent food that keeps blood-sugar levels under control. Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in whole grains and high-fiber foods may reduce the risk of diabetes by between 35 and 42 percent. Top oatmeal with 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts to add protein and healthy fat, which stabilize blood sugars further.

Fish is another outstanding source of lean protein that will keep blood sugar from rising. Environmentally friendly variety like catfish, cod, or tilapia are all mild-flavored, white-fleshed fish that can be healthfully prepared by baking, grilling, or roasting.

Fat-free yogurt naturally contains both high-quality carbohydrates and protein, making it an excellent food for slowing or preventing an unhealthy rise in blood sugar. Studies also show that a diet high in calcium from yogurt and other calcium-rich foods is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Stick to low-fat or nonfat brands. Greek nonfat yogurt has twice as much protein as regular nonfat yogurt.

Unsalted almonds provide a healthy, low-carb mix of monounsaturated fats plus magnesium, which is believed to be instrumental in carbohydrate metabolism. A Harvard University study found that high daily magnesium intake can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 33 percent. Eat more magnesium-rich foods like almonds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and Swiss chard.

Wild salmon can help reduce your risk of heart disease, which is important for those with type 2 diabetes, whose risk of cardiovascular disease is already elevated. Wild salmon or sardines are not only rich in omega 3s but also contain a healthy-fat-and-protein combination that slows the body's absorption of carbohydrates, keeping blood sugars on an even keel.

Nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These foods are an ideal source of high-quality carbohydrates and have a low-impact on blood sugar. For most people, including those looking to lose weight, this is one food group that's okay to eat as much as you like.

Egg whites are rich in high-quality lean protein and low in carbs. That's why egg whites are another healthy choice for controlling or preventing type 2 diabetes. One large egg white contains about 16 calories and 4 g of high-quality, filling protein, making egg whites a perfect food for blood sugar control, not to mention weight-loss or maintenance.

Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats, which are generally considered among the healthiest of fats. Monounsaturated fats improve heart health for diabetes who are at risk for heart disease and stroke. Add slices of avocado to your sandwiches in place of mayonnaise, or mash a ripe avocado with cilantro, lime juice, and diced tomatoes for a delicious guacamole dip.

If you are a diabetic, try including some or all of the above foods into your diet, and see how quickly your blood sugar level will be under control.