A1C, also known as hemoglobin A1C, is hemoglobin protein that has glucose attached to it. It helps in analyzing the average amount of glucose in the blood. A1C levels below 5.7% are typical. If they are more than 5.7% and less than 6.4%, it is an indication of prediabetes.
A person with more than 6.4% of A1C is at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also lead to other complicated conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, nerve & kidney damages. Besides, high levels of it can sometimes lead to blindness as well.
High levels of A1C can also be caused by several other conditions like anemia, stress, obesity, genetic diseases, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal abnormalities, chronic inflammation, metabolic syndrome, etc.
CURE 1: How to Lower A1C Overnight using Foods
1. Low Sugar Fruits
Low sugar fruits work in two ways in bringing down the blood sugar and lowering the A1C levels. Low sugar fruits prevent blood sugar levels from spiking. Additionally, the natural sugar found in fruits is good for our bodies. Consuming two servings of fruits per day is good for overall health, especially for individuals with raised A1C levels.
Fruits are best eaten raw and whole. You can consume them as a salad with some herbs and toppings. Raw and fresh fruits can be added to smoothies, milkshakes, salsa, and ice-pops. They can also be grilled and cooked to be used in recipes.
Fruits like rhubarb, grapes, guava, plums, and kiwi are great options.
Our body has a tough time breaking down fibers. Therefore, when we consume fibrous foods, we can effectively control blood sugar and lower A1C levels(1).
A recent study conducted in 2018 suggested that a diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of diabetes by 20-30 percent. Some excellent sources of fiber are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts.
The best way to fuel your body with fiber is to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, and barley. Nuts are another great option, which can be consumed as snacks or as toppings on salads or smoothies.
Consuming at least two portions of fiber in a day controls blood sugar and also aids bowel movements.
[ Read: Hemoglobin Rich Foods ]
3. Starchy Vegetables
Starchy vegetables benefit those who have high A1C levels by offering plenty of nutrients and fiber. These vegetables are good when consumed in a limited amount because they contain carbohydrates that are a big no-no for uncontrolled diabetes.
Consuming them once a day can help in managing diabetes and lowering A1C levels. If you are not sure how much will be right for you, ask your doctor to guide you. A certified dietician can also help you build a menu with starchy vegetables.
Some good options include corn, green peas, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and pinto beans.
You can consume these vegetables in various fancy and straightforward recipes, which include mashed potatoes, corn salad, green pea soup, and a delicious pumpkin puree.
CURE 2: Lifestyle Changes
Several studies have time and again proven that moderate exercise like brisk walking reduces the risk of Type-2 diabetes, which, in turn, regulates the levels of A1C.
You can take up exercises like walking, slow jogging, and aerobic exercises. To lower A1C levels and to manage diabetes, 2.5 hours per week, or at least 30 minutes of light activity for five days a week is advised.
Individuals who are dependent on insulin, or have very high A1C levels because of other reasons, should talk to their doctor before starting an exercise plan. A medical practitioner can help with an exercise plan or can recommend a trained professional who will guide you.
[ Read: Exercise for Diabetes Control ]
2. Stress Reduction
Stress is one of the primary reasons for diabetes and increased A1C levels. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), chronic stress can raise blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance(2) in a person, leading to increased A1C levels. Controlling stress using stress-busting methods and self-care can be beneficial for health.
There are many ways to reduce and manage stress in life. One practical and proven method is exercise. Other self-care methods like meditation, talking to a psychologist, and getting proper sleep can also help.
If stress is the reason behind your increased A1C levels, you should consider the methods mentioned above and imbibe them in your routine. Exercising daily, sleeping correctly, and meditating for a few minutes every day can turn around your health.
Bring gradual changes in your lifestyle. Introduce healthy habits one by one and push yourself to eat healthily and stay active. Do not make drastic changes in your routines. Take one step at a time.
Talk to your doctor about the necessary lifestyle changes you need to make. They will give you proper guidance on how much exercise you need, how many calories you should consume, and what your ideal intake should be. Ideally, 30 minutes of exercise and 7-8 glasses of water per day is recommended for adults. Calorie consumption also depends on your weight and other health conditions.
Irregular levels of A1C can cause irreversible damage that can make life extremely uncomfortable. The remedies mentioned above will not only control your A1C levels but also treats the associated health conditions and enriches the body. Some extra efforts can save you a lot of suffering later on.
[ Read: Treat Stress Naturally ]
1. Will my A1C levels normalize if I control my blood sugar?
Yes, poorly controlled blood sugar is one of the biggest reasons behind increased or abnormal A1C levels. Getting your diabetes in control will bring back your A1C levels to normal.
2. Can I normalize my A1C levels without medication?
A doctor can decide how to treat elevated A1C levels based on the underlying causes and A1C readings. In some cases, A1C levels can be normalized with lifestyle changes, proper diet, and regular exercise.