The A1C level is the percentage of your red cells that have sugar molecules attached to them. It is also referred to as glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C and HbA1c. Your doctor can measure you A1C number with a blood test to determine your average blood sugar levels over the past two or three months. A normal A1C level falls between 4 and 6 percent. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should strive to keep your A1C number below 7 percent. Eating right can help you do that.
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Foods to Avoid
Control carbohydrates, fatty foods and calories by limiting your intake of potatoes, rice, noodles and foods containing white flour. Pass up sugary desserts, candy, ice cream, soft drinks and store-bought cookies, pies, baked goods and doughnuts. Avoid fried chicken, frozen dinners, lunch meats, sugared soft drinks and flavored water, store-bought smoothies and fruit drinks, milk shakes, frozen pizza, and restaurant french fries, hamburgers, pizza and chicken and fish sandwiches. All of these foods can raise your A1C levels, particularly if you have diabetes.
Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, protein, anti-oxidants and fiber to help balance your blood glucose levels. Eat plenty of asparagus, beans, broccoli, carrots, red onions, spinach, tomatoes and soy as tofu or in soy milk products. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed as an oil or nutty seed can be incorporated into salads, breads, cereals and dressings. Nuts are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering plant sterols but are high in calories. So eat them in moderation.
Include Fruits in Diet
Blueberries, cranberries and red grapefruit can lower your LDL cholesterol and promote heart health. Grapefruit can interfere with some medications, so check with your doctor before adding grapefruit to your diet. Apples provide fiber. Melons, including cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew, and raspberries are high in potassium, antioxidants, vitamin C and folate. Eat raw or cooked fruits in moderation, for better blood sugar control.
Think Low-Fat Lean-Protein
Eating too many fatty meats can raise your blood sugar levels. Try grilled, baked, broiled, or steamed skinless catfish fillets, white fish or orange roughy. Fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of blood clots. Baked, broiled or roasted chicken, with skin removed, is a good lean protein main course or salad.
Other A1C-Lowering Foods
Low-fat or no-fat yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium and zinc and can be made into parfaits. White, green or black tea, thought to contain cancer and heart disease preventative flavenoids, are high in anti-oxidants. Drink them hot or cold, with or without caffeine. For best results, enjoy freshly brewed tea drinks.