Lower Your A1C with These Healthy Food Choices

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If your BGL doesn\’t drop right away, or doesn\’t come down as fast as you\’d like, resist the urge to take more insulin too soon, as it could lead to hypoglycemia. Rapid-acting insulin may start working in 15 minutes, or it may take up to an hour. Other symptoms may include weight loss, being lightheaded or restless, and tiredness. “The most critical thing is being able to stick to whichever diet you pick, so it’s important to find something that works for your lifestyle, your tastes and your preferences,” Zumpano says.

Managing your A1C levels is crucial for overall health, especially for those with diabetes. While medication plays a role in controlling blood sugar, diet also plays a significant part in keeping A1C levels in check. So, what can you eat to lower your A1C?

Other good substitutes include unsweetened tea (hot or iced), coffee and sparkling water, so long as they don’t include added sugar. Here’s what you should know about it and ways to make sure your A1C is in a healthy range. Foods that have been minimally processed—like apples instead of applesauce, or potatoes instead of potato chips—usually have more nutrients packed into fewer calories.

What may be high for one person might be within range for another person. The A1C test, also known as the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1C, glycated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin test, measures the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin in the blood. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, which can be achieved in many ways.

Fat is an important nutrient but has more than double the calories per gram than carbohydrate and protein. And if you monitor your blood sugar daily, check it before and after exercise. As the ADA explains, exercise improves insulin sensitivity and lowers your blood sugar levels. In certain circumstances, though, stress hormones produced during more intense exercise can also increase blood sugar levels. In addition, other factors, such as what you eat before exercise and the timing of your workout, may also affect your numbers. For this reason, your doctor may occasionally administer a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months.

It is important to note that even foods high in fiber can increase blood sugar. Keeping A1C levels low has been shown to slow the advance of diabetes and minimize the risk of complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These complications include blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart and vascular disease, and gum disease. Keeping your A1C levels down is important for proper diabetes management.

1. Leafy Greens and Non-Starchy Vegetables

If you experience major life changes — whether good or bad — it’s important to practice self-care. The American Diabetes Association suggests making time for stress-relieving practices, such as breathing exercises and physical activity. However, they may increase the frequency depending on your health goals, recent illness, medications, or conditions that may have altered your A1C result. A randomized controlled trial involved 262 sedentary adults with type 2 diabetes and A1C levels of 6.5% or higher who were enrolled in a nine-month exercise program.

Eating plenty of leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli can help lower your A1C levels. These vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates but high in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also have a low glycemic index, meaning they won\’t cause spikes in blood sugar.

2. Whole Grains

Switching from refined grains to whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread can make a big difference in managing your A1C. Whole grains are packed with fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.

3. Lean Protein Sources

Opt for lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes to help control your A1C levels. Protein doesn\’t raise blood sugar levels and can keep you feeling full and satisfied longer, preventing unhealthy snacking on high-sugar foods.

4. Berries

Instead of reaching for sugary desserts, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Berries are rich in antioxidants and fiber, making them a great choice for lowering A1C levels without causing blood sugar spikes.

5. Healthy Fats

Incorporating healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil into your diet can also help manage your A1C levels. These fats are heart-healthy and can improve insulin sensitivity, helping to regulate blood sugar levels more effectively.


By making smart food choices and incorporating these nutrient-dense options into your diet, you can effectively lower your A1C levels and improve your overall health. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to create a personalized meal plan that works best for you.

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