Best Foods to Eat to Help Lower A1C Levels

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Managing diabetes isn\’t accomplished simply by adding healthy foods to the diet, however. The pattern of eating — which includes meal timing, portions, and the overall balance of foods in the diet — is a more important focus. An optimal food pattern will not only control blood sugars, but manage appetite, achieve weight and health goals, and match lifestyle and cultural preferences. Diabetes medications, including pills and insulin, are often used to help get the A1c to target — which is below 7 percent for most people with diabetes.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar levels in check. One way to do this is by maintaining a healthy diet that includes foods known to help lower A1C levels. Here are some of the best foods you can include in your diet:

All fiber-rich foods, including whole grains, nuts, seeds, and whole fruits and vegetables, help with appetite control and may improve blood sugars if they curb overeating. Compounds in garlic may help reduce blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It may also help reduce the complications of diabetes by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. One study found adding garlic to the diet of a person with type 2 diabetes can improve blood glucose control in as little as two weeks. Probiotic yogurt is a great choice for managing blood sugar levels and in one study was shown to lower fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C among those with type 2 diabetes. It\’s full of good bacteria to maintain a healthy gut and contains protein to help manage hunger and maintain muscle — factors that can indirectly contribute to managing your blood sugar.

Fruit- or spice-infused water or carbonated water with no added sugar will keep you hydrated without causing problems with your blood sugar. Tea is also a zero-sugar beverage with antioxidants, which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. Try adding fruit to water to make a naturally sweetened, refreshing beverage. Carbonated waters with no added sugar are also a better option for satisfying that craving for a carbonated beverage without the excess sugar.

Fruits and Vegetables

This is likely due to their low glycemic index and fiber, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemical content. Mushrooms have high concentrations of beta-D-glucans, a form of fiber shown to lower blood glucose response. As a bonus, mushrooms have a low glycemic index and come in a variety of options – portobello, shitake, cremini and more. You can make them a regular staple in your diet and never get bored. Keep it on hand and just cook up the amount you need when you\’re ready for a hot breakfast. One serving of the warm cereal contains 6 grams of fiber–almost a quarter of your daily quota-which helps stave off hunger throughout the morning.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide essential nutrients while helping to lower A1C levels. Some great options include:

  • Berries: Berries are packed with antioxidants and fiber, making them an excellent choice for managing blood sugar levels.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli is a low-carb vegetable that is high in fiber and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • If you\’ve been told you are at risk for diabetes, you can work with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that\’s best for you. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your health care provider will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to help you develop a healthy-eating plan. The plan helps you control your blood sugar, also called blood glucose, manage your weight and control heart disease risk factors. Researchers found yogurt might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in healthy older adults when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

Whole Grains

Choosing whole grains over refined grains can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Some whole grain options to consider include:

  • Oats: Oats are high in soluble fiber, which can slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream.
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a nutritious whole grain that is also a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Brown Rice: Brown rice is a better alternative to white rice as it is less processed and higher in fiber.

Lean Proteins

Including lean proteins in your diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels and promote overall health. Some examples of lean proteins to add to your meals are:

  • Chicken Breast: Skinless chicken breast is a lean source of protein that can help with blood sugar management.
  • Beans: Beans are a good plant-based protein option that is also high in fiber and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Salmon: Fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

By incorporating these foods into your daily diet, you can help lower your A1C levels and better manage your blood sugar. Remember to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.

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