Let's Talk About Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body control the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood by enabling the cells to use it as energy
Insulin sensitivity refers to your body’s sensitivity to the effects of insulin (whether natural or injected). Those who are described as insulin sensitive require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has lower sensitivity or insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is when someone has low insulin sensitivity. This means that their cells do not absorb enough glucose, which may lead to excessively high blood sugar levels. If left unmanaged, this can progress to type two diabetes and other complications.
Insulin sensitivity varies between people and might change according to dietary and lifestyle factors. Improving insulin sensitivity can benefit those who have or are at risk of type two diabetes.
This article explores various natural ways or habits that might help reduce insulin sensitivity:
Getting enough sleep has a multitude of benefits and the case of insulin sensitivity is no exception! Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health, and poor sleep can be harmful as it can lead to an increased risk of infection, heart disease and a plethora of issues. A lack of sleep has also been linked to reduced insulin sensitivity – take this as your sign to get a good quality and quantity of sleep; your body will thank you for it!
Exercise, while a fantastic way to keep your body and your heart healthy, is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity if done regularly. According to research, exercise promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity that lasts from 2 hours to 2 days, as it helps move glucose into the muscles. This is also the case for resistance training; so, a combination of aerobic and resistance training is perfect for improving insulin sensitivity.
Easier said than done, but hear us out... Stress is not good for your body and it negatively affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. Ongoing stress keeps your bodies stress hormone levels high, which increases blood sugar and makes the body more insulin resistant. Relaxing while doing activities such as meditation, yoga and exercise are fantastic ways to de-stress and subsequently reduce insulin sensitivity.
Increasing your consumption of soluble fibre has been linked to an increased insulin sensitivity as well as lowered cholesterol. Oats, beans and sweet potatoes are all great ways to incorporate this into your diet (if low carbing or keto; there are veggies, psyllium husk and many other alternatives).
Colourful fruits and vegetables have also been linked to an increased insulin sensitivity. Not only that but they are nutritious and have antioxidant properties that are amazing for your overall health. They are a delicious way to increase your insulin sensitivity!
A reduction in carbohydrates is another way to help increase insulin sensitivity as carbs are the main cause of a rise in insulin blood levels – high-carb diets tend to lead to spikes in blood sugar. If you are not willing to cut out carbs completely, eating smaller portions of carbs throughout the day is an easy way to benefit insulin sensitivity, as you consume less sugar at each meal which makes insulin’s job easier!
A reduction in added or hidden sugars, particularly fructose, is another way to increase insulin sensitivity – a high intake of fructose can increase insulin resistance among people with diabetes.
Excess weight is linked to a reduced insulin sensitivity and to an increase in the risk of type two diabetes. Losing weight can be a good way to combat this, and it can be done in various ways including diet, lifestyle changes and exercise. Weight loss should be carried out in a healthy way – your health should be your priority, no matter the numbers on the scale!
Herbs and spices can be an amazing addition to your diet and their role in increasing insulin sensitivity is no exception:
- Fenugreek seeds (which can be eaten whole or baked into bread)
The above are some herbs and spices linked to an increase in insulin sensitivity. They are also packed with other benefits and flavours, making them a great addition to any diet!
Green tea and matcha are loaded with antioxidants and are highly valued by many for health. Studies have linked them to an increase in insulin sensitivity and a reduction in blood sugar, making them a fantastic choice for those who have or are at risk of type two diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar is a great source of antioxidants, that can help to improve the effectiveness of insulin and delay the stomach from releasing food into the intestines, which gives the body more time to absorb sugar into the blood stream. One of the best ways to consume apple cider vinegar is via In food and salads or by cooking, as this subdues its acidity.
... there are many natural ways you can try to help increase your insulin sensitivity. Try out a few of the above techniques if this is what you are aiming to do and see what works best for you!