By Dr.Kristie Leong
Image Credit:Jakob Suckale
A significant number of people are resistant to the insulin their body makes. Insulin is important for transporting glucose into cells so it can be used for energy production or for storage in the cells until it’s needed. When a person is resistant to the effects of insulin the body pumps more and more of it into the bloodstream to compensate. Not only does this not help the problem, it increases the risk of health problems such as heart disease, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Is there a way to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of these complications?
One of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance is to change how you eat. Eating processed foods that are high in sugar and processed grains with little nutritional value sends insulin levels soaring – which is not a healthy situation.
Start replacing processed grains with whole grains that are high in fiber and substitute colorful vegetables for potatoes, white rice, and pasta. Choose foods with a low glycemic index and low glycemic load whenever possible to prevent rapid rises in blood sugar after a meal.
Replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fish oils and monounsaturated ones found in olive oil and nuts. Select lean cuts of meat as a protein source instead of fatty ones. High fiber, low fat diets are best for increasing insulin sensitivity.
Increase Insulin Sensitivity by Getting Physical
Physical activity is as important as diet when it comes to increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering resistance to insulin. The best type of exercise is a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Both forms of exercise work together to increase insulin sensitivity.
Walking is a good exercise, but you’ll get more benefit by adding in some intense intervals such as jogging or walking at the fastest pace you can for a minute or two.
Resistance training using hand weights or your own body weight helps to build muscle which takes up glucose and helps to lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. Exercise also helps with weight loss which increases insulin sensitivity.
Other Ways to Increase Insulin Sensitivity
Factors that increase the amount of stress hormones such as cortisol the body produces also leads to insulin resistance. The best way to reduce stress hormone levels is to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night and practice relaxation techniques. Mind-body exercises such as yoga, Tai-chi, deep breathing exercises, and meditation all help to get stress hormone levels under control.
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity: The Bottom Line?
Taking these three steps to increase insulin sensitivity could save your health. Make them a part of your everyday life – and, hopefully, you can avoid health problems later.
The copyright of the article, "Simple Ways to Increase Insulin Sensitivity," in "Interesting Health Articles" is owned by Dr.Kristie Leong M.D. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.