Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how the body processes blood sugar (glucose). In diabetes, either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it can’t properly use the insulin it makes. This causes glucose to build up in the blood, which can lead to serious health complications if left uncontrolled.
Lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage diabetes. Some research also suggests certain fruit and vegetable juices may help support blood sugar control in people with diabetes. This article reviews some of the best juices for diabetes and their potential benefits.
What is diabetes?
There are a few different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body stops making insulin. It often starts in childhood or young adulthood and requires insulin injections to manage.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. It happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin. It primarily affects adults, though rates in children are rising.
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy in women who did not previously have diabetes. It usually resolves after delivery but increases a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later.
- Prediabetes refers to blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Making lifestyle changes can prevent or delay progression to full-blown diabetes.
Diabetes must be managed properly to avoid complications like nerve, kidney, eye, foot, and cardiovascular damage. While medications are often necessary, nutrition and lifestyle strategies also play a key role in managing diabetes.
Can fruit and vegetable juices help reverse diabetes?
No juice can “cure” or completely reverse diabetes on its own. However, some juices may help support blood sugar control when included as part of a healthy diabetes diet and lifestyle plan recommended by your healthcare provider.
Certain fruits and vegetables contain nutrients and compounds that may help:
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Lower inflammation
- Protect cells from high blood sugar damage
Let’s look at some of the top juices for diabetes and what research says about their benefits.
Bitter melon juice
Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd or Momordica charantia, is a tropical vine grown in parts of South America, Africa, and Asia. Its extract has traditionally been used to help treat diabetes and high blood sugar.
The bitter taste comes from compounds like vicine, polypeptide-P, and charantin, which are thought to contribute to its therapeutic effects.
In particular, human and animal studies suggest bitter melon contains several compounds that may help:
- Increase insulin secretion from the pancreas
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Reduce glucose production by the liver
- Increase glucose uptake by cells
One review of over 650 studies found bitter melon significantly reduced blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, larger and longer human studies are still needed.
Try juicing bitter melon with carrots, apples, lemon, or ginger to improve the flavor.
Aloe vera juice
The fleshy, succulent leaves of the aloe vera plant contain a clear gel that’s rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds. Drinking aloe vera juice made from the gel may benefit diabetes.
A few studies in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes suggest aloe vera juice may:
- Lower fasting blood sugar levels
- Improve A1C levels (a measure of average blood sugar over 2–3 months)
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Reduce triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol
Compounds like aloesin and aloemannan in aloe vera have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and glucose- and lipid-lowering effects that may benefit diabetes management.
However, more research is needed on optimal dosing. Talk to your healthcare provider before adding aloe vera juice to your regimen.
Green apple juice
Apples are nutritious, fiber-rich fruits full of polyphenol antioxidants. Studies link eating apples to lower diabetes risk.
Drinking apple juice may also help control blood sugar. One study gave apple juice, apple polyphenol extract, or a placebo drink to 19 healthy adults. Consuming the beverages significantly lowered blood sugar and insulin levels after a high carb meal compared to placebo.
Green apples may be especially beneficial. They’re sourced from unripe apples and contain higher polyphenol levels than ripe apples.
In a small 2015 study, drinking 12 ounces (350 ml) of green apple juice every day for 12 weeks significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes or early diabetes.
More research is needed, but adding unsweetened green apple juice to your diet may aid long-term blood sugar control.
Broccoli sprout juice
Broccoli sprouts are a superb source of sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound with potent antioxidant effects.
Test-tube and rodent studies indicate sulforaphane may help:
- Preserve insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas
- Reduce glucose production
- Enhance glucose uptake
- Lower oxidative stress and inflammation
One human study gave 97 people with type 2 diabetes either broccoli sprout powder equivalent to 150 grams of sprouts or a placebo every day for 12 weeks. The broccoli sprout group had significantly greater decreases in insulin resistance and oxidative stress markers than the placebo group.
More research is underway, but drinking broccoli sprout juice may potentially aid diabetes management by improving insulin sensitivity.
Cucumbers are low in carbs and loaded with nutrients. Animal research indicates cucumber extract may help lower blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes-related complications.
Compounds in cucumbers, such as cucurbitacins and other sterols, appear to have anti-diabetic effects. They may work by blocking enzymes involved in carbohydrate digestion or improving insulin secretion and activity.
One 12-week study gave cucumber juice to 13 people with diabetes. Drinking 14 ounces (400 ml) per day significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels compared to baseline.
More studies are needed, but adding cucumber juice to your diet may benefit diabetes by improving glycemic control.
Fenugreek is an annual herb traditionally used to treat diabetes in many parts of the world. Human and animal research indicates it may improve several markers of blood sugar control, including fasting glucose and A1C.
Compounds like trigonelline, galactomannan fibers, and 4-hydroxyisoleucine in fenugreek appear to stimulate insulin release while slowing carb and sugar digestion and absorption.
One 8-week study provided 2.5 grams of fenugreek twice daily to people with type 2 diabetes. It significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels and improved glucose tolerance test results compared to a placebo.
You can make fenugreek juice by blending soaked, sprouted fenugreek seeds with water or mixing fenugreek powder into juice.
Garlic is an aromatic bulb commonly used for flavoring. It’s rich in allicin, a sulfur compound thought to lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation.
In human and test-tube studies, allicin has been shown to decrease hepatic glucose production, increase insulin secretion, and enhance insulin sensitivity.
One study had people with type 2 diabetes take garlic tablets containing 240 mg of allicin daily for 12 weeks. Compared to placebo, garlic significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels and improved lipid profiles.
Blending fresh garlic cloves into juice is a simple way to incorporate its potential anti-diabetic benefits.
Ginger belongs to the same plant family as turmeric. The rhizomes are often used to make juice, tea, and concentrated extracts.
Human and animal research indicates ginger and its active components like gingerols and shogaols may improve insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and metabolic profiles.
A 2015 review of 16 studies concluded that ginger significantly lowered fasting blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Larger, longer-term studies are still needed.
Fresh ginger juice is commonly used in juice blends and smoothies. It adds a touch of sweetness and spice.
Lemons are very low in sugar and high in vitamin C. Research shows higher vitamin C intake is linked to lower diabetes risk.
Lemon juice also provides plant compounds like hesperidin and diosmin. In animal and test-tube studies, they’ve been shown to have anti-diabetic effects:
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Preserve insulin-producing cells
- Improve insulin secretion and sensitivity
- Inhibit enzymes that digest carbs
One rat study found treating diabetic rats with lemon juice for 4 weeks significantly lowered blood glucose levels compared to controls.
While human research is lacking, adding lemon juice to water, tea, or diabetic-friendly juices may provide benefits.
Passionfruit, also called passion flower or Passiflora edulis, is a tropical vine bearing edible passionfruit. The flower and fruit have traditionally been used to treat diabetes.
PASSITO and piceatannol compounds found in passionfruit appear to activate insulin receptors and increase glucose uptake into cells. They also exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that may benefit diabetes.
Animal studies indicate passionfruit leaf and peel extracts may reduce insulin resistance and high blood sugar. However, human studies are limited.
Drinking unsweetened passionfruit juice provides a simple way to get its antioxidants. Blend it into smoothies or other juices.
Spinach is extremely low in carbs and calories yet high in antioxidants that may benefit diabetes, such as vitamins C and E and alpha-lipoic acid.
Human and animal studies indicate spinach helps lower oxidative stress, enhance antioxidant defense, and prevent cellular damage in diabetes.
One study gave freeze-dried spinach extract equivalent to 10 grams of fresh spinach daily to diabetic rats for 4 weeks. It significantly lowered blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Blending spinach into juices is an easy way to incorporate its anti-diabetic nutrients. Try combining it with green apples, cucumbers, carrots, and lemon.
Strawberries are packed with polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Several studies link eating strawberries with lower diabetes risk and improved blood sugar control.
These red berries are high in ellagitannins like ellagic acid, a polyphenol that may:
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Protect beta cells
- Decrease cholesterol and blood pressure
Ellagic acid and other strawberry polyphenols appear to reduce diabetic kidney, brain, and liver damage in animal studies.
While human research is limited, strawberries’ rich antioxidant content supports their potential role in a diabetes diet.
Tart cherry juice
Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, flavonoids that give cherries their red color. They act as antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Tart cherries and their juice have been shown to increase insulin production, reduce insulin resistance, and lower blood sugar levels in diabetic animal models.
In one study, tart cherry juice reduced certain blood markers of inflammation in women with type 2 diabetes. Other human studies are ongoing.
Drinking tart cherry juice provides a simple way to get its antioxidants linked to lower diabetes risk.
Tomatoes provide lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. Research suggests lycopene may protect against diabetes complications.
Human studies link higher lycopene levels to lower insulin resistance, better blood sugar control, and decreased markers of oxidative stress and inflammation.
In one study, drinking tomato juice significantly decreased inflammation markers in overweight women. Tomato juice also improved blood vessel function.
Tomatoes are very low in sugar and can be used to make fresh, low carb juices and smoothies.
Making juices for diabetes
When making juice for diabetes, keep these tips in mind:
- Use vegetables and low sugar fruits like green apples, grapefruit, berries, pears, or stone fruits.
- Avoid high sugar fruits like grapes, bananas, mangos, and pineapples.
- Add healthy fats from nuts, seeds, or avocados to help stabilize blood sugar.
- Combine non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, or cauliflower.
- Skip added sugars, sweeteners, or syrups.
- Don’t overdo fruit content due to the natural sugar.
- Aim for limited fruit juice intake according to your meal plan.
- Incorporate protein like nut butters, protein powder or Greek yogurt.
- Monitor your blood sugar and adjust ingredients or portions as needed.
The bottom line
No juice alone can reverse or cure diabetes, but some juices may help. Bitter melon, aloe vera, green apple, broccoli sprout, cucumber, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, lemon, passionfruit, spinach, strawberry, tart cherry, and tomato juice have shown potential benefits in research.
When used alongside a healthy diet, exercise, and any prescribed medications or insulin, they may help control blood sugar and diabetes symptoms.
Work with your healthcare provider when incorporating juices into your diet. Track your blood sugar carefully to determine their effects.
Juicing several servings of fruits and veggies can optimize your intake of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may help manage diabetes.
|Bitter melon||May increase insulin secretion and sensitivity|
|Aloe vera||May improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity|
|Green apple||May improve post-meal blood sugar control|
|Broccoli sprout||May reduce insulin resistance and oxidative stress|
|Cucumber||May improve glycemic control|
|Fenugreek||May stimulate insulin release and lower blood sugar|
|Garlic||May increase insulin sensitivity and secretion|
|Ginger||May improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance|
|Lemon||May improve insulin function and reduce oxidative stress|
|Passionfruit||May increase glucose uptake and reduce insulin resistance|