We were forced to deal with, and over time learned to live with diabetes. Within a short time we noticed several things we could do that made a positive impact on our health. We followed the tips below and were able to lower blood glucose levels, lose weight, and generally live healthier.
20 TIPS to Lower A1C – Blood Glucose Levels:
- Exercise daily. Become more active. It can be as simple as starting to walk regularly. One step at a time. If you can’t walk, move your limbs while you are seated. Start out with perhaps 20 minutes if that is all you can do and work your way up.
- Stay hydrated. A good goal is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces. Example: If a person weighs 160 lbs: 160 ÷ (divide by) 2 = 80 ounces of water a day. One measuring cup of water holds 8 oz. So, that means a person weighing 160 lbs should aim to drink 10 measuring cups of water, roughly 6-8 glasses (depending on size).
- Eat more often, but smaller meals. Heavy, large meals are not good for anyone and going hungry isn’t either. To keep your blood glucose levels even, aim to eat smaller meals at regular intervals.
- Be mindful when eating. Try to eat slower, chew food thoroughly, focus on the meal vs focusing on tv while eating, and enjoy your food.
- Test blood glucose often to see how your body reacts to different foods. Avoid foods that make your blood sugar spike. Culprits: white bread, white rice, potatoes, things that have regular flour, and items that contain regular sugar.
- Aim to reach a healthier weight and BMI (with your physician’s approval). Good news: If you cut back on carbs and sugar and begin to exercise (even lightly, but regularly) you most likely WILL see extra weight come off. Losing just 5-10 lbs will lower your chance of getting diabetes and can help you control it, if you already have it.
- Use aids that can help you keep on track, like: 3 Compartment Portion Plate can be a huge help.
- It aids in gaining a better understanding of proper portion sizes.
- It’s a reminder to proportion the food groups properly. Most people today are used to filling their plates with more meat than vegetables. The Portion Plate is a visual reminder to fill about 1/2 of the plate with vegetables and eat less meat.
- Learn all you can about diabetes. Good sources of information: Your Physician and Dietician, Books like: Diabetic Living: Meals by the Plate , reputable like Diabetes.org, and trustworthy magazines like Diabetes Forecast Magazine
- Purge your house of high-carb, processed, and sugar-rich foods. When you feel like a snack, there is no temptation to reach for chips or cookies.
- Have healthy snacks readily available. A bag of nuts in the freezer, carrots cleaned and ready in fridge, hummus and celery sticks waiting to be munched on, high protein – low carb snack bars you either create yourself or buy (recommended to us, occasionally: KIND Bars)
- Have a meal plan. Plan your meals one week at a time. Do the prep-work ahead of time and plan the meals so you have leftovers for the next day and/or to freeze for later
- Buy and prepare fresh foods, avoid processed foods
- Eat more vegetables. Most of us do not eat enough vegetables. We should aim for 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. But how much is a serving?
- Eat more fish and legumes. The American diet often does not include enough of these protein-rich foods that so good for us.
- Cut down or eliminate Sodium and unhealthy fats / oils. Instead, use herbs for extra flavor and use healthier fats and oils like Olive Oil and Coconut Oil instead.
- Aim to have a variety of protein sources during the week: Fish, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Legumes, Shellfish and try to go meatless once a week (but do eat proteins from non-meat sources).
- Get needed protein from organic plants and grass-fed sources. If possible, buy Non-GMO, grass-fed, fresh organic foods whenever possible. Ex: Organic eggs, meat and diary products from grass-fed animals, organic produce and meats that are non-GMO certified. Read this article to see why it is important.
- Include fermented foods in your diet, like yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchee, and others.
- Speak to your doctor about adding supplements to your diet that help to stabilize glucose, like: Cinnamon, Chromium, Apple cider; and ask about supplements that aid heart health and general well-being like: Fish Oil, and vitamins like Vitamin E and C, as well as others. Go with your physician’s recommendation to ensure there are no negative interactions with other medications or supplements you take.
- Allow yourself occasional treats. Reward yourself and have something to look forward to but make sure your treat is sugar free and low in carbs. It would be sad to think “I will never have sweets or baked goods again.” BUT: Realize that you CAN have treats in your life, just make them treats that are healthier for you.
- Anytime you make significant changes to your diet, activity level, or change dietary supplements you should consult with your doctor to make sure he / she approves.
- All of these changes were doctor and dietician recommended changes we made and they worked for us. Within 3 months blood glucose levels came down from over 500 to an average of 110. Medication has already been reduced to only a low dosage of one medication. Our goal is to lower blood glucose levels to a point where no medication is needed.
- Weight loss: Between both of us we’ve lost 55 lbs. in just three months. This worked for us and I hope it helps others too.