What Lifestyle Factors Can I Prioritize to Lower My A1C?

What Lifestyle Factors Can I Prioritize to Lower My A1C?

Whether you have prediabetes or diabetes, managing your blood sugar is a top priority. The A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the previous three months. Diet and lifestyle factors are the cornerstones of a healthy A1C and the best place to start when your numbers rise. 

Our Macomb Medical Clinic team provides top-quality family medicine care, including helping patients with diabetes lower their A1C and prevent complications of high blood glucose. Here are some lifestyle factors you can prioritize to help bring your A1C down.

Focus on whole foods

Stabilizing your blood sugar is crucial. Preventing significant spikes in glucose lowers your A1C and makes you feel better. A stable blood sugar throughout the day boosts energy and mood. 

Eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It’s especially beneficial to focus on high-fiber foods, as a diet rich in fiber is shown to improve glycemic control and lower A1C levels.

Limit processed foods and sugars

Foods you avoid are just as important as those you eat. Reducing intake of processed foods and added sugars prevents blood sugar spikes. Avoid sugary beverages, sweets, and refined grains, which can cause rapid increases in blood glucose levels. 

Adopting a diet lower on the glycemic scale can lower A1C. Choose foods that release energy slowly and gradually. Low-glycemic foods prevent sudden and rapid rises in blood sugar. Non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy without added sugars are low-glycemic foods. 

Increase physical activity

Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently, which can lower your blood sugar levels. The more sensitive your cells are to glucose, the less insulin your body needs to release to manage blood sugar levels. 

Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, making it vital for keeping A1C levels in check. Regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, combined with strength training, is a good approach to lowering A1C levels. 

People who engage in aerobic and resistance training have greater reductions in A1C compared to those who only do one type of exercise.

Maintain a healthy weight

If you’re overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can significantly impact your A1C levels. Focus on gradual, sustainable weight loss through diet and exercise.

Choose carbohydrates wisely

Monitoring your carbohydrate intake and choosing high-quality carbs can help control blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates have the most potent impact on blood glucose, so it's essential to monitor your carbohydrate intake and choose nutritious complex carbs that help keep blood sugar stable. Spreading your carbohydrate intake evenly throughout the day is also helpful.

Manage stress

Chronic stress does more than make you feel tense; it contributes to low-level inflammation that negatively impacts blood sugar levels. Stress-relieving activities like mindfulness practices are potent weapons in combating elevated A1C. 

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that mindfulness practices significantly improve glycemic control and lower A1C.  

Get adequate sleep

The body regulates several important hormones during sleep, and failing to get restorative sleep can throw off blood sugar regulation. Prioritizing sleep is vital to overall well-being, including promoting good blood glucose control. Creating a sleep schedule and a bedtime routine that creates a relaxing sleep environment can help you get better sleep.

Macomb Medical Clinic is your partner in living well and preventing and managing chronic conditions like diabetes. For this and all of your family medicine needs, contact our Sterling Heights, Michigan, office to request an appointment today.

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