How diabetics can boost immunity through nutrition


There is a misconception that diabetics are at a higher risk of acquiring infections. In fact, infection rate is not higher due to diabetes. Rather, having diabetes can exacerbate the effects of an infection. Living with diabetes generally puts one in a vulnerable state due to an impaired immunity defense.1

For people living with diabetes, ensuring that their immune system is strong can particularly be crucial in order to better manage their condition when they fall sick. When it comes to fighting off an infection or illness, a strong healthy immune system is a diabetic’s best defense.2

It’s even more important to focus on boosting the immunity among type 2 diabetics. That’s because high blood sugar levels can weaken their immune system, making them more prone to infections. Incorporating nutrient-rich foods in their meals will not only boost their immune system but as well help them maintain a healthy blood sugar level. 3

Along with managing stress, regularly exercising and getting an adequate amount of sleep, supporting the immune system through nutrition should be any diabetic’s priority. While there are many methods and debate over what makes a perfect diabetic’s diet, the food portion recommendation is the same for both a non-diabetic and a diabetic. No need to buy specialty foods, it just takes a little more effort to plan.3 4

Across the board though, any dietitian or nutritionist will tell you that ‘portion control’ is a crucial element. The golden ratio goes like: about ¼ of your plate should be filled with low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates (such as whole grain breads, cereals, beans, lentils and other legumes) and the other ¼ should consist of lean proteins such as lean red meat, fish, skinless chicken or tofu if vegetarian. The remaining ½ should be filled with vegetables, broccoli, carrots, and beans. Think of your plate containing a rainbow color of fresh foods! 4

Here is a list of food items that will help diabetics boost their immune system3

Beans & Legumes

Beans and legumes, including chickpeas, are a great source of protein and fibre. They contain zinc and moderate amounts of several vitamins and minerals that reduce your risk of diseases. The protein in chickpeas can help strengthen the immune system and keep your appetite under control. Increasing fibre intake may help reduce fasting blood sugar.3


Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a major source of vitamin A that helps keep your eyes healthy. Carrots also contain lutein, which can help prevent eye damage. The root vegetable can help boost your immune system due to the vitamin C content in it.3

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are low in calories but high in nutrients, particularly vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system and eliminate free radicals that can damage cells in your body. Vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant is also linked to improved blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. They contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K1, folate, potassium, capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin, and luteolin.3


Cruciferous leafy greens such as broccoli are nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C that supports a healthy immune response. The fibre and antioxidants in broccoli may lower blood sugar and improve your health in a number of ways.3


Nuts are delicious and easy to include in one’s diet. They contain fibre and are low in digestible carbs. Various studies have shown that regular intake of nuts may reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar levels. Nuts are loaded with antioxidants that may help keep your immune system strong.3

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