How to Lower Your Hemoglobin A1C Levels
The A1C test is a blood test that measures average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. It is commonly used to diagnose diabetes, and helps monitor and manage the condition. Higher hemoglobin A1C levels are linked to diabetes complications, so it’s important to reach and maintain your individual goal. A non-diabetic A1C level is under 5.7%, while 5.7%-6.4% indicates a prediabetic level, and above 6.5% is diabetic. Here are some ways you can lower your hemoglobin A1C levels and reduce your risk of health complications.
1.) Eating Clean
It’s no surprise that your diet plays a major role in your blood sugar levels. Sugar is the biggest culprit for blood sugar spikes, so it’s best to avoid candy, soda, and fruit juice. Cutting back on simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, rice, corn, and potatoes, will help lower your A1C levels. Replace them instead with healthy whole foods high in protein, for example nuts and seeds, lentils, quinoa, and fish. Opt for gluten-free bread and pasta made from chickpeas instead of white flour.
Exercise fires up your body’s insulin activity, which helps move sugar from your bloodstream into your cells. The recommended goal is to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Strength training and aerobic exercise both lower your hemoglobin A1C levels. It’s most important that you find something you actually enjoy doing because it will make it easier to stay consistent. It could be walking the dog, playing a team sport, riding your bike, doing yoga or pilates, going for a hike, dancing—anything to get your body moving.
3.) Stress Management
When you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, the stress hormone cortisol floods your body with energy, which contributes to blood sugar spikes. Set time aside for relaxing activities, like meditating, journaling, going out in nature, spending time with a friend, or anything that calms you. This allows your cortisol levels to drop, and helps manage your daily stress.
4.) Follow Your Treatment Plan
Diabetes treatment is very individualized, and there are many factors that will affect how your healthcare team approaches treatment. Always speak with your doctor before making any sudden changes to your diet or exercise plan, or taking any new medications. Your doctor will help you determine how often you should check your A1C hemoglobin levels.