A healthy lifestyle of exercise with a well-balanced diet should go a long way towards keeping blood sugar levels even. For example, for maintaining good blood sugar levels, my doctor recommends a diet rich in healthy protein and fats, lower in carbohydrates, and plenty of low-carb produce.

But beyond the general principles, there are some wonderful foods that specifically help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy place. Here are six of them.

Tea: Animal studies have shown that black, green, white and oolong teas all help with blood sugar control. One study found that after drinking six cups of tea a day for eight weeks, patient’s blood sugar levels were 15-20 percent lower than before! Drinking tea is a beautiful and traditional practice that could also have a positive role in healthy blood sugar levels.

Dark chocolate: One important aspect of good blood sugar control is how your body handles insulin. Dark chocolate was found to reduce insulin resistance, a vital part of keeping healthy blood sugar levels. This is good news for chocolate lovers — just make sure that it is a truly dark chocolate.

Vinegar: In a surprising study at Arizona State University, vinegar was shown to have the same effect as a leading diabetes medication! In the study, patients were given a vinegar drink to consume before a meal rich in carbohydrates. Starting a meal with a salad with a vinegar dressing could be a good choice instead.

Nuts: When diabetic patients swapped carbohydrate-rich snacks with nuts instead, they were able to lower their general blood sugar levels over time. Nuts are a healthy source of protein, as well as many nutrients (such as vitamin E and selenium), so they are a smart addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Chia seeds: This tiny seed is native to Southern Mexico and Central America and is rich in precursors to omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. It has all of the earmarks for a blood sugar healthy food. In fact, a study found that it helped diabetic patients control their blood sugar and their blood pressure.

Beans: Another fiber- and protein-rich food, beans have been found to help reduce the risk of becoming diabetic, as well as to significantly lower the glycemic response in type II diabetic patients. So whether you want to prevent future problems, or are looking for help with current ones, beans can be an excellent addition to your weekly diet.

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