Foods That Lower A1c
Last updated on July 18th, 2017
Type 2 Diabetes is essentially a disease of poor lifestyle and dietary habits. Thus, logically this is the condition that can be either prevented, stopped or even partially reversed in many cases just through lifestyle modification and dietary measures.Therefore dietary modifications have to be an essential part of any anti-diabetic program (Fowler, 2007). A1c is the measure of glucose associated with hemoglobin; it shows how well the person is controlling his or her sugar level in blood for last 8 to 12 weeks(Practitioners, n.d.). Thus it is not something that can be brought down overnight, but rather through consistent efforts over the time.
Carbohydrates, Glycemic Index, and Glycemic Load
Before planning a diet plan that helps to bring down blood sugar we got to know some basics. We get most of our energy needs through carbohydrates, which are converted to glucose. Carbohydrates are essential to meet our energy needs. To avoid the high sugar levels in the blood, we have to take the diet which is low in glycemic index, and preferably low in glycemic load. So the question arises that what is glycemic index and glycemic load?
Understanding glycemic index and glycemic load are essential for dietary planning and choosing right kind of food products in diabetics. Glycemic index is measured on the scale of 0 to 100; it tells us how quickly the given food will raise our blood sugar (glucose) after ingestion.Thus foods with higher glycemic index are harmful, and foods with lower glycemic index are right as they only slowly get absorbed and do not raise our blood glucose level in a sharp manner(“About Glycemic Index,” n.d.).Whereas Glycemic Load tell us about the amount of sugar (glucose) in any food, lower glycemic load means lower sugar in a portion of the product(“Glycemic Load,” 2013).
Thus let us look at some of the foods with low glycemic Index(Harvard Health, n.d.).Products with a glycemic index below 50 can be regarded as those with low blood-sugar level raising effect. Food products like tortilla bread, pearled barley, parboiled converted white rice, milk, reduced fat yogurt with fruit, apple, grapefruit, baked beans, black beans, peanuts, carrots, chicken nuggets, have low glycemic index. more information about more commonly used such foods can be found here.
One can search the database at the link provided,to know about the glycemic index of any commonly used products here(“GI Database,” n.d.), thus know how any food product is going to affect the levels of blood sugar.
It has to be noted that glycemic load is also equally important, as some foods may have a high glycemic index but still low glycemic load and thus low sugar content in a given portion. A good example of this being watermelon, it has aglycemic index of 72, that may sound alarming, but due to high moisture content, it has a very low glycemic load. Thus a 120 mg serving of watermelon has a glycemic load of just 4, making it quite healthy for diabetics.
So usually most vegetables would be aright balance of glycemic index and load, one has to be selective with fruits. White meat is low in glycemic index. So are many fiber-rich grains. Eggs are also low in carbs and agood source of high-quality protein.
Control Your Serving Size
One of the easy ways to remember about the balanced diet is to know the rule of hand. Your palm is the amount of proteins that should be in a portion. Your fist tells about the volume of veggies to be included in the food, your cupped hand tells about the amount of carbs to add in the food, and your thumb tells about the amount of fats to add in food(Pinola, n.d.).
It is equally important to eat daily at a fixed time. Cut down on your portion size, and further learn to estimate the size of your portion(Drive, Arlington, & 1-800-Diabetes, n.d.-a; Gibson et al., 2016). It is also a good idea to have big breakfast, but light dinner, as you have the whole day to burn your calories(Drive, Arlington, & 1-800-Diabetes, n.d.-b).
Supplement Your Diet
Once we have understood about what food to eat more, and what less, and how to control our portion sizes, it will be worth looking at some herbs, minerals, and vitamins that can be especially useful in controlling the blood glucose levels. In modern times, the secret to healthy living is, eating well, moving more often, and supplementing the diet with useful elements.
- Cinnamon: spice, obtained from the bark of the tree has long been known to help with diabetes and at the same time enhance the flavor of various food preparations. Known to lower the blood sugar and help control the cholesterol levels, have an anti-inflammatory effect and antioxidant effect(Qin, Panickar, & Anderson, 2010).
- Vitamin D: Recently vitamin D has received lots of attention, as it has been shown that most of the diabetics are deficient in this vitamin. Moreover, vitamin D has been demonstrated to increase insulin secretion, help in decreasing insulin resistance, thus helping to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics. Not to mention other metabolic benefits of vitamin D, like helping in the absorption of calcium and making bones stronger(Norman, Frankel, Heldt, & Grodsky, 1980).
- Chromium: the micro-element, has been shown to decrease the insulin resistance, help insulin to work better. Many clinical trials have demonstrated the beneficial effect of chromium in diabetes and lowering the a1c(Broadhurst & Domenico, 2006).
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: It is considered to be helpful in tackling the nerve damage in diabetes, and keeping kidneys healthy in the diabetic person(Ziegler et al., 1999).
- Fenugreek: It has been used as aspice in many cuisines, fenugreek has been long known to help with diabetes, helping decrease the blood glucose levels, and keep cholesterol down to ahealthy Many clinical trials have been done, and most of them have been supportive of its use in diabetes(Kassaian, Azadbakht, Forghani, &Amini, 2009).
- Ginseng: well-known supplement from Eastern medicine, it has been long known for various health benefits, stimulant and adaptogen has now also been demonstrated to help in lowering blood sugar levels(Xie, Mehendale, & Yuan, 2005).
In modern days non-communicable disease has become amajor reason of morbidity and mortality. However, most of them can be avoided with lifestyle changes, like eating healthy, doing exercise, and using natural supplements.
- About Glycemic Index. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://www.glycemicindex.com/about.php
- Broadhurst, C. L., & Domenico, P. (2006). Clinical Studies on Chromium Picolinate Supplementation in Diabetes Mellitus—A Review. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 8(6), 677–687. https://doi.org/10.1089/dia.2006.8.677
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- Harvard Health. (n.d.). Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods
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