Controlling blood sugar levels through diet is crucial for those with type 2 diabetes. Consume fresh whole fruits and berries as they contain mineral, vitamin, and fiber. Eat fresh organic vegetables that grow above the ground such as cucumber, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, and asparagus. Also cinnamon and low fat-diet are ideal for lowering hemoglobin A1C level.
Our diet plays a vital role in controlling our blood sugar levels. The A1C test is a blood test based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin that provides data about a person’s average levels of blood glucose over a three-month period. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management.1 Before we can tackle the problem, we must understand what causes the increase in A1C levels. The prime cause behind rising A1C levels are the carbohydrates and sugar in our diet. By controlling these, we can prevent the increase of A1C level. Here are specific foods that will help you lower A1C levels.
Drinking fruit juice and eating whole fruits is not the same. Eating fresh, whole fruits instead of juices can prevent your blood sugar from shooting up. Whole fruits contain fiber, which helps in reducing the rate at which your body absorbs the sugar. In the case of fruit juices, all the fiber content is lost and the sugar in the fruit directly enters the bloodstream. Moreover, fiber in the fruits take longer to digest and that prevents you from feeling hungry quickly. This results in you eating less. Most fruits, like apples, for instance, have high fiber content and are useful in controlling blood sugar. Melons such as muskmelon, cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew are rich sources of potassium, anti-oxidants, vitamin C, and folate.
Vegetables are rich in many minerals, fiber, vitamins, anti-oxidants, polyphenols, and compounds that help lower blood sugar, A1C and inflammation. A diet comprising fresh organic veggies can transform our health positively. Consume more of the vegetables that grow above the ground like cucumber, lettuce, spinach, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, tomato, green beans, broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, red onions, Asian greens and much more.
Berries contain high levels of anti-oxidants and are a rich source of vitamin C, K, and manganese. Berries are also a great source of fiber, which is beneficial in slowing down the absorption of sugar. Blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and red grapefruit are effective in reducing LDL cholesterol and promoting cardiac health. Grapefruit sometimes may interfere with certain medications, and it is better to consult your physician before including grapefruit into your diet.
Studies have shown that cinnamon has the potential to lower the hemoglobin A1C in people with type 2 diabetes. Just one gram of daily adjunct cinnamon in addition to usual care seems to lower HbA1C in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.2
5. Low-Fat Diet
Consuming excess fat usually found in red meat and red meat products shoots up the blood sugar levels in the body. So, most red meat products were off-limits on a diabetic meal plan. Fish was promoted as a safer alternative to red meat and was recommended to people with type 2 diabetes. However, recent studies commissioned by the U.S. government have shown that fish intake may increase type 2 diabetes risk by increasing blood sugar levels.3 Since fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that lower triglycerides, fish was suggested instead of beef, pork and other red meat products. Instead, to be on the safer side, replenish your body with low-fat or no-fat yogurt, which is a rich source of protein, zinc, and calcium.
What Causes Elevated A1C Levels?
An elevated A1C level is common even in adults without a history of diabetes.4 The presence of high blood sugar causes an increase of A1C hemoglobin. An increase, as well as a decrease of A1C hemoglobin, can make the A1C percentage higher. Certain types of anemia associated with decreased hemoglobin production or longer lifespan of red blood cells can elevate the proportion of hemoglobin present in the A1C form. People with anemia due to lack of iron, folate or vitamin B12 may also have an elevated A1C even if they don’t have diabetes. Even the anemia that commonly occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy can falsely elevate A1C levels. Anemia caused by certain types of kidney disease may also cause an increased A1C level.
Which Foods Cause Elevated A1C Levels?
Some foods are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. In such foods, carbohydrates are quickly converted into energy causing the blood sugar level to increase. Examples of such food are:
- Polished white rice
- White bread
- Artificially sweetened drinks
- Fast foods
Some foods high in protein and fat such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, and oily foods can also cause blood sugar level to increase. It is important not to overeat to ensure that insulin works efficiently.
As with most things, moderation is the key to good health. A balanced diet with moderate portion sizes that is a healthy mix of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, fats, and complex carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, and other starches will help in controlling blood sugar levels. Consult a nutritionist or a dietician to better understand your intake vs. metabolism.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The A1C Test & Diabetes. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|2.||↑||Crawford, Paul. “Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial.” The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 22, no. 5 (2009): 507-512.|
|3.||↑||Greger Michael. Why Would Eating Fish Increase Diabetes Risk. Nutrition Facts.org. 2015.|
|4.||↑||Selvin, Elizabeth, Hong Zhu, and Frederick L. Brancati. “Elevated A1C in adults without a history of diabetes in the US.” Diabetes Care 32, no. 5 (2009): 828-833.|