Experts recommend a diet rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories for diabetics, says Mayo Clinic. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are particularly important for diabetics who need to control their blood sugar.
Heart-healthy fish is also an important component of a diabetes diet, according to Mayo Clinic. Cod, tuna and halibut are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than meat and poultry. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering triglyceride levels in the blood.
Avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts and olives contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels, says Mayo Clinic. People must consume these foods in moderation due to their high caloric content.
Diabetics should strive to avoid foods containing saturated fats and trans fats to lower risk of heart disease, Mayo Clinic warns. Meats such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarine commonly contain trans fats.
Diabetics should also avoid foods high in cholesterol, Mayo Clinic writes. Such foods include eggs yolks, high-fat dairy products, shellfish, liver and other organ meats. It is also important to minimize sodium intake.