Foods to Eat to Lower Your A1c

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If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is essential to manage your blood sugar levels effectively. One way to lower your A1c, which measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months, is by making certain dietary choices. Incorporating foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and improve your A1c.

Fruits and Vegetables

However, when you have type 2 diabetes, which makes up 90–95% of diabetes cases, your body cannot efficiently remove glucose from your bloodstream. Cauliflower is all the rage right now for a reason—it\’s delicious, super versatile, and a fabulous substitution for pasta if you\’re keeping an eye out for your blood sugar. Mac and cheese is a comfort food staple, but unfortunately it\’s also very high in calories. The pasta adds a hefty amount of carbs, and the butter, cheese and cream add a great deal of fat. “Opt for balanced meals that incorporate lean protein, low fat dairy and plenty of fiber,” Seymour advises.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them an excellent choice for those looking to lower their A1c. Opt for non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, and peppers, and fruits like berries, apples, and citrus fruits. These foods have a lower impact on blood sugar levels compared to starchy vegetables and sugary fruits.

Whole Grains

Including oats and oat bran in your diet may help improve your blood sugar levels due to their high soluble fiber content, which has been shown to have significant blood sugar-reducing properties (49). Pumpkin is high in carbs called polysaccharides, which have been studied for their blood sugar-regulating potential. Treatments with pumpkin extracts and powders have been shown to significantly decrease blood sugar levels in both limited human studies and animal studies (16, 17). The authors of a 2021 meta-analysis of 103 trials looked at how beta-glucan affects blood sugar levels after a meal. They found evidence to suggest that carbohydrate-based meals that contain beta-glucan have a link to lower blood sugar levels than meals that do not contain beta-glucan. Pumpernickel bread and 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread have low GI scores.

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. A study of 18 women found that eating apples 30 minutes before a rice meal significantly reduced postmeal blood sugar compared with eating rice alone (64). A small 2018 study with 40 participants found that consuming 2 oz (65 g) of pumpkin seeds reduced postmeal blood sugar by up to 35% compared with a control group (20). The authors of a 2017 review found that garlic supplements helped manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with T2DM.

When choosing grains, opt for whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats contain more fiber and nutrients, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. They also have a lower glycemic index, meaning they cause a slower rise in blood sugar compared to refined grains like white bread and pasta.

A1c has long been considered the best measure of diabetes management because it was the most accurate tool for observing long-term blood sugar trends. This has changed with the introduction of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Just be aware that some people will see a temporary increase in blood sugars during intense resistance training, rather than a decrease.

You may have a different goal for your weight or other health considerations on your mind. Ask your doctor to help you make a weight loss plan that matches your overall goals. But if you are, you may not need to drop as much as you think to make a difference in your A1c level. A randomized, controlled trial demonstrated an average A1c reduction — from 7.4 to 6.9 percent — with the daily addition of 1 cup of cooked beans, chickpeas or lentils.

Incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your diet can help you manage your blood sugar levels and lower your A1c over time. Remember to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance.

A1c, also known as hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin, is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar over the last 2 to 3 months. A doctor can use this measurement to monitor and diagnose diabetes. When it comes to an A1C target range, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Opt for plain coffee or espresso or a low-sugar flavoring to help keep your glucose levels within the target range and prevent weight gain. You don’t have to stick to water if you have prediabetes or diabetes. Coffee has been linked to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes. Any diet that encourages very low caloric intake (800 calories or fewer per day) can also increase the risk of low blood sugar and reduce muscle mass. These nutrients can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower A1C levels.

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