Diabetes, or hyperglycemia, occurs when sugar in the bloodstream spikes to unusual levels. An estimated 463 million adults are subjected to this condition globally, and the US alone has around 34 million of them, roughly 10% of the country’s population.
There are multiple ways to combat diabetes, but no proven medications can cure the condition. So instead, patients rely on proper and balanced meal plans, physical activities, therapies, and different lifestyle changes to get help from diabetes.
The A1C test is a process of examining the amount of sugar present in human blood. It helps people know whether they are regular, prediabetic, or have diabetes. Patients are recommended lifestyle changes and meal plans according to the test results. Let’s learn what the A1C test is and what methods you can apply to reduce blood sugar levels naturally.
What Should A1C Levels Be?
According to experts, there are three ranges of A1C test results. These ranges include:
- Below 5.7% indicates the person is normal.
- A range between 5.7% and 6.4% indicates the person is prediabetic and has a chance of developing diabetes.
- Above 6.5% indicates the person has diabetes and needs lifestyle changes.
Natural Methods Of Lowering A1C Levels
There are various natural ways of combating diabetes. Four of the best ways are given below.
Healthy Eating And Herbal Supplements
As diabetes doesn’t have medicines that can cure the condition, people with diabetes need to follow a strict and healthy diet coupled with regular exercise to fight the problem. An ideal meal for people with diabetes includes non-starchy veggies like spinach, broccoli, and green beans, food containing no sugar and loads of fiber, and avoiding junk and processed foods at all costs.
Getting a meal plan fixed by well-known dieticians is the best way around since people with diabetes suffer from different severities. Patients should remember to keep the number of carbohydrates consumed in check since eating less will lower blood sugar levels, but cutting down on carbs entirely will result in malnutrition. Thus, patients have to strike an optimum level of carbohydrate consumption.
Ideally, a diabetes patient should consume non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins from chicken and turkey. Eggs and tofu can also be excellent sources of lean protein. In addition, one-quarter of the meal should contain carbohydrates. A glass of milk also acts as a good source of carbohydrates for the body.
When combating diabetes, people often come across dietary supplements that claim to cure diabetes. Unfortunately, none of these supplements will cure diabetes completely, but they might help relieve some symptoms. Natural ingredients or herbal supplements proven to help with diabetes include fenugreek, gurmar, bitter melon, ginger, Java plum, fennel flower, etc. However, patients shouldn’t trust any scammy-looking dietary supplements and should always consult health practitioners before consuming herbal products to relieve diabetes symptoms.
Keeping Oneself Hydrated
Dehydration and feeling thirsty are two of the most common symptoms of diabetes; an increased frequency of either is a marker of diabetes. Due to increased glucose levels in the bloodstream, the body tries to eliminate unnecessary glucose through urine. Excess urination leads to body dehydration if the lost liquid isn’t replenished. Dehydration also leads to increased thirst.
To tackle the situation of thirst and dehydration, people with diabetes are often recommended to drink plenty of fluids.
- Recommendations state that women patients should consume at least 1.6 liters or around 6.5 glasses of water daily.
- The water consumption for men should be around 2 liters or 8.5 cups.
- Other fluids except water can also be consumed, but the fluid should be sugar-free, like milk, coffee free from sugar, herbal tea, and water squeezed with lime.
- Sparkling water free from sugar may also be consumed.
- Patients are discouraged from consuming energy drinks and sodas.
Portion Control And Meal Timing
For people suffering from diabetes, measuring the amount of food they consume daily and for every meal they have is imperative. Overeating is a big no for these patients. Generally, doctors advise patients to consume meals in the following portion sizes.
- Meat, fish, and poultry should be around 3 ounces.
- Fruits should be of one cup or one medium-sized fruit.
- Nuts or pretzels should not be more than one or two ounces.
Since planning meals is tedious, it should be done in consultation with a dietician with experience recommending diet charts to people with diabetes. Not only is portion control a problem for these patients, but another problem is also the timing of the meals.
Generally, these patients consume a wholesome breakfast, a fruit in the middle of breakfast and lunch, a balanced meal in lunch, a small serving of nuts or half a fruit as snacks, and a light dinner. All decisions on portion size and meal time should be made following the doctor’s and the dietician’s prescription.
Regular Monitoring And Self Care
Self-care is the best thing to do when suffering from diabetes. A balanced diet and regular exercise time are imperative to fight the condition. However, since we have already discussed eating habits, we should shed some light on exercising.
- CDC recommends people with diabetes perform at least 140+ minutes of light to moderate aerobic exercise every week.
- If the patient wishes to work out daily, they can perform workouts for at least 20 to 25 minutes daily.
- Apart from resistance training, people with diabetes can also engage in brisk walking, running, swimming, dancing, and many other physical activities daily.
- Regular exercise not only helps treat diabetes but also keeps the body strong, productive, and healthy.
Other than the abovementioned ways, patients should also regularly monitor their condition. They should regularly consult doctors and get their health checkups done to see how much the condition has improved. A1C tests should also be done regularly to get precise results on blood sugar levels.
What You Should Do Immediately
There are certain things that diabetes patients should start considering immediately to see significant changes in their lifestyle and an improvement in the condition they are suffering from.
- As mentioned, taking time from the daily schedule and engaging in physical activities. It helps reduce the excess fat and helps in the efficient working of the internal organs.
- Start eating healthy and cut off junk foods and sugary foods altogether. Eating organic and plant-based foods is the best way around.
- Patients should start consuming healthy fats like oils from olive, sunflower, and cottonseed. Salmon and sardines are fatty fishes providing essential fat and lean protein.
At last, it can be said that despite diabetes being a complex condition, patients shouldn’t be anxious about it. But, they should know that by using natural and immediate steps, patients can get help for diabetes in no time. First, however, you should also research the many other natural methods to reduce blood sugar levels.