How to Increase Insulin Sensitivity Naturally
If you want to get hold of your blood glucose levels, lose weight, and improve your overall health without medications, you need to learn how to increase insulin sensitivity naturally.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas whose function is to carry glucose from the blood into the cells to be used for energy.
It can also convert excess sugar into fat.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance or low insulin sensitivity means your cells are rejecting insulin, leading to glucose accumulation in the blood. This is what happens in type 2 diabetes.
But that’s not all. With insulin also being a fat-storing hormone, it will convert the excess glucose in the blood into fat and store it in the body, specifically around your mid-section and internal organs.
These may increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
So if you’re looking to better control your blood glucose without storing it as fat, you have to improve insulin sensitivity.
Here’s how to increase insulin sensitivity naturally.
1. Engage in resistance training
For such a long time, traditional aerobic endurance exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming have been the number one recommendation for increasing insulin sensitivity in both healthy individuals and those with insulin resistance, such as in type 2 diabetes.
However, studies are now clear that resistant training works best to help your body increase insulin sensitivity naturally, lose weight, and regulate your blood glucose.
With resistance training comes new muscle cells that are more sensitive and receptive to insulin.
In a controlled study published by the American Diabetic Association, progressive resistance training done twice weekly without any weight loss diet on type 2 diabetes individuals for 4 weeks recorded an increase in insulin sensitivity by 46%.
It also reduced belly fat and improved fasting blood glucose levels.
This popular practice within the weight loss industry may help you reverse insulin sensitivity naturally.
While some people may go for alternate day fasting, others may opt for intermittent fasting, and if done correctly, they both can help improve insulin sensitivity.
Intermittent fasting simply involves periods of eating and not eating. It is not a calorie restriction diet. However, studies have shown that it can be easier to follow and even more effective than restricting your daily calorie intake.
When you eat, you increase insulin production, which facilitates glucose storage in the liver and the conversion of glucose into fat. When you are not eating (fasting), you decrease insulin while burning the stored sugar and fat.
Fasting is one way to avoid triggering insulin. This will help the cells heal and become more sensitized to insulin.
3. Reduce inflammation
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of most diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. Read More. This comes from an unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.
To increase insulin sensitivity and reverse insulin resistance, you must first eliminate inflammatory foods such as:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Refined carbohydrates
- Trans fats
- Vegetable and seed oil
- Processed meats
Then incorporate anti-inflammatory foods such as:
4. Adopt a low carb diet
Carbohydrates are digested to release sugar, and on a high carbohydrate diet, more sugar will be released into the blood, requiring more insulin to carry it.
And because the cells are rejecting insulin, but the body doesn’t send that signal to the pancreas to stop insulin production, insulin will keep being released to help get the glucose out of the blood. This can cause up to 7-9 times more insulin production than usual, causing more insulin resistance.
With high insulin, you can’t lose weight, and your body will keep storing fat.
A 2019 publication by The American Diabetic Association stated that a low carbohydrate diet was the most effective approach in the management of diabetes.
5. Get adequate sleep
Lack of sleep may impair insulin sensitivity.
Different studies have linked a lack of adequate sleep to reduced insulin sensitivity, heart disease, and an increased risk of infections. Top 10 Benefits Of Getting Enough Sleep.
6. Reduce stress
Chronic stress will cause an increase in cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It converts the amino acid in protein into sugar and reduces the effects of insulin. This can lead to an increase in blood sugar with poor insulin function causing more insulin resistance.
7. Eat foods high in soluble fiber
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.
Although they are both beneficial to your health, insoluble fiber acts to add bulk to your stool and help with bowel movements. In contrast, soluble fiber helps feed your good gut bacteria and has been linked to increased insulin sensitivity.
8. Include cinnamon in your diet
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice and probably one of the best to include in your insulin-sensitive diet due to its ability to reverse insulin resistance naturally.
Cinnamon can help increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood glucose regulation through its ability to imitate the effects of insulin and improve glucose utilization within the cells.
In one review, 543 patients with type 2 diabetes recorded lower fasting blood sugar, reduced total cholesterol, decreased LDL, and increased HDL (good cholesterol) for 4-8 weeks that they were on cinnamon.
Insulin is an essential hormone that helps regulate your blood glucose levels, among other functions. However, chronic elevation in blood glucose may cause the cells to be less receptive to insulin, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more.
Luckily, this article provides different things you can do to increase insulin sensitivity naturally, helping you maintain your health and wellbeing.
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