What’s your A1C?
If you’re diabetic, you know. If you aren’t, you probably aren’t as concerned.
Think of the A1C test as an early warning system for complications that happen down the road when we don’t control our blood sugar. If the test shows that our blood glucose level is high, it means that we have a greater risk of developing diabetes.
The A1C test measures how much glucose has been sticking to our red blood cells for the previous two or three months. Our bodies replace each red blood cell with a new one every four months. The A1C test tells us the average of how high our glucose levels have been during the life of the cells.
There are many things you can do to lower your A1C level. Diet and exercise do wonders. There are countless medical articles about how a low carbohydrate diet combined with regular exercise naturally lowers your HbA1c.
Here are my top 4 steps to get your A1c down naturally.
1: Remove the culprits
Simple carbohydrates and sugary foods are the main food groups that raise blood sugar.
Immediately cut out:
Sugary drinks or juice
Pasta, grains, breads, rice
The only fruits I recommend for now are blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, but only in small amounts.
2: Get Active
Daily physical activity is one of the most important ways to keep your blood sugar low.
WALK WALK WALK! The more you walk, the lower your risk of diabetes. A 10 to 20 minute walk after meals can make a difference.
Pump some iron!
Lifting weights or resistance band training can improve muscle mass and strength. For diabetics, the added muscle is very beneficial because muscles are “major clearance sites” for circulating blood sugar.
3: Eat a Balanced Healthy Diet
Start by adding more green leafy vegetables. The British Medical Journal says these foods significantly cut the risk of developing diabetes.
Think: Kale, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, etc. The more fiber vegetables the better!
In moderate amounts, protein is very stabilizing to blood sugar.
Too much protein can cause a condition which can raise blood sugar levels, but it has to be consumed in fairly large amounts in order for that to happen.
Add Healthy Fat.
Fat is the ONLY macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein) that doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It also has a stabilizing effect which is why it can be used to help lower your levels after a meal. Try adding a tablespoon or two or healthy fat at meals (ie. olive oil on veggies or walnuts on salad).
4: Natural Supplements
Cinnamon is not only incredibly delicious, but research has shown that it can stabilize blood sugar. Apply: try adding 2 tsp of Ceylon Cinnamon in your coffee or protein shake. You can also sprinkle on vegetables at meals.
This plant extract has many important benefits. Berberine helps your body metabolize sugars, and become more sensitive to insulin. Try 500-1000mg daily.
Bitter Melon Extract
Bitter melon extract is another substance that has shown blood-sugar-lowering prowess. You can try 500-1000mg.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
One study showed that vinegar after a meal can reduce the blood sugar spike. Dilute 1-2 capfuls in 8 ounces of filtered water. Not the best taste, but the benefits are undoubtedly worth it.
Supplementing with flaxseeds reduces fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein.
Olive Leaf Extract
There have been a couple of scientific papers published, about the role of olive leaf extract in improving insulin production and the sensitivity of your insulin to sugar, thereby reducing your A1c.
Supplement honorable mentions
Magnesium, vitamin D, B50 complex, chromium with vanadium, ginger, stinging nettle, milk thistle seeds. Also incorporate chia seeds, burdock/ginger/dandelion decoction.
These simple strategies will help keep your blood sugar nice and steady so you can reduce your A1c and be healthier in no time! 🙂
Laura Conley is a nutritionist at Heritage LifeFit Fitness. During her twelve years as a private fitness and wellness coach, she specialized in functional fitness, sports performance and holistic nutrition. Laura strongly believes that by incorporating the body, mind, and spirit we can all truly transform and thrive.