Insulin resistance affects almost 40% of all Americans, causing weight gain and increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes. But most people aren't sure what that means, or how to improve it.
Insulin is an essential hormone that is made in your pancreas that controls your blood sugar levels by moving sugar from your blood into your cells for storage. When your cells are insulin resistant, they are less responsive and cannot use insulin effectively, leaving your blood sugar high.
This hormone imbalance can effect the entire foundation on which your entire metabolic health rests. When you suffer from insulin resistance, your cells feel “starved” for energy as glucose cannot get in. The pancreas then produces more insulin to keep blood sugar levels stable. Over time, this hyperinsulinemia may lead to diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer growth, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. By the time someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they have likely had undiagnosed insulin resistance for more than a decade.
Improving your insulin sensitivity can help you reduce insulin resistance and the risk of many diseases.
Here are my suggestions for natural, proven ways to boost your insulin sensitivity.
Focus on blood sugar balancing meals.
For most people, the last thing they’re thinking about when putting together a meal is blood sugar. Most of us are considering things like calories, carbohydrate content, or convenience. For those wishing to improve their insulin sensitivity, it is vital to center every meal around balanced servings of protein, fiber, and fat. Minimize foods and drinks that increase insulin production, such as simple carbohydrates, processed foods, and added sugars. Choose high-quality animal proteins, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, and fiber-rich whole grains and legumes.
Control your stress.
The hormone cortisol has a bad reputation, but it is only doing its job to save the day when your body is under stress. It liberates energy from storage to ensure you are ready to “fight or flee.” Unfortunately, in our modern world, many of us are under chronic, unrelenting stress every day. The overproduction of cortisol creates a cascade of hormone imbalances, elevating our blood sugar, stimulating the production of more insulin, and accelerating insulin resistance. Focus on removing controllable stressors, and make time for 10-15 minutes of mindfulness or meditation every day.
Move it to lose it.
Did you know that exercise decreases blood sugar, independent of insulin? This means that when you get those muscles moving, no insulin is required to get the glucose inside the cell. Only 10-20 minutes of walking after a meal reduces blood sugar and insulin by up to 25%. Exercise is an essential key to improving insulin sensitivity, along with all of the other benefits we know about. Building muscle over time improves overall metabolic flexibility, lowers fasting blood sugar, and lowers insulin. Find a type of movement or exercise that you enjoy and make it a daily habit.
Catch some zzz's
We all know that a good night’s sleep is important for your health, and that a lack of sleep can be harmful to your health. Several studies have also linked poor sleep to reduced insulin sensitivity. One study found that getting just 4 hours of sleep in one night had a significant impact on insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar. o put down that energy drink, turn off your devices at least 30 minutes before bed, and strive for healthier sleep habits!
Supplement as needed
In addition to living a healthy lifestyle that includes daily movement and proper nutrition, there are also herbal remedies that may help. Our Blood Sugar formula was designed to help improve insulin sensitivity and balance blood sugar levels. Chromium and Vanadium are two minerals that have been found incredibly effective at balancing overall blood sugar levels. Other single herbs that may help include Fenugreek, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger, and Garlic.
Need help navigating a personalized blood sugar balancing diet and lifestyle for you? Give us a call at (435) 586-4854 to schedule an appointment for a holistic health consultation with Vickie.