Type 2 diabetes is a complicated metabolic disorder with both short- and long-term undesirable complications. In recent years, there has been growing evidence that functional foods and their bioactive compounds, due to their biological properties, may be used as complementary treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus. In this review, we have highlighted various functional foods as missing part of medical nutrition therapy in diabetic patients. Several in vitro, animal models and some human studies, have demonstrated that functional foods and nutraceuticals may improve postprandial hyperglycemia and adipose tissue metabolism modulate carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Functional foods may also improve dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, and attenuate oxidative stress and inflammatory processes and subsequently could prevent the development of long-term diabetes complications including cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy. In conclusion available data indicate that a functional foods-based diet may be a novel and comprehensive dietary approach for management of type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: Fruits; Functional foods; Herbs or spices; Insulin resistance; Legumes; Nuts; Prebiotics; Probiotics; Type 2 diabetes; Vegetables; Whole grain.