Natural ways to improve insulin sensitivity
Metabolic Health

How to Improve Insulin Sensitivity?

The whole concept of diabetes revolves around this one hormone – insulin. This is not an uncommon condition in India, most people are now aware of how diabetes works and the role that insulin plays in the proper management of this condition. Sometimes, the body becomes resistant to insulin and this causes several severe complications in the onset and management of diabetes and its symptoms. If the body is resistant to insulin, it may not be able to use the naturally produced hormone (from the islet cells of the pancreas) at the optimum level. This would mean that the blood glucose levels would be high. 

Therefore, it is important to work on increasing insulin sensitivity in the body. This refers to the overall sensitivity of the cells in one’s body towards insulin. The higher the sensitivity, the better it would be regarding the use of glucose in the blood. This, eventually, would reduce blood sugar. In case there is high resistance, the consequence of that would be the development of Type 2 Diabetes. It is very uncommon to see insulin resistance in younger kids, however, it’s not impossible. In case this happens, there are several ways that younger, as well as older people, could adapt to be able to increase their body’s sensitivity towards this essential hormone.

Natural Ways to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

To improve how well your body reacts to insulin, it would be best to use natural ways and methods. In any case, there is no external medication that would be able to increase your body’s sensitivity toward insulin. If that were the case, the several million individuals afflicted with diabetes would be on those supplements too. Since diabetes and the management of the symptoms is lifestyle-related, let’s see what kind of changes would be required in the daily routine and other areas of life to naturally improve this aspect.

A. Lifestyle

One of the best methods to witness an insulin sensitivity increase in the body would be with the help of changes in the lifestyle. For any person, whether they have diabetes or not, these changes would prove to be beneficial. In case you do have diabetes, these modifications would help your body become more sensitive to insulin, thus reducing the need and dosage of external insulin. In case you don’t have diabetes, effectively adopting these methods could go a long way in preventing the onset of this condition.

1. Exercise

Exercise shows drastic improvements in the way the body uses insulin. Several research studies have confirmed this fact using an insulin sensitivity test. With more physical activities, the body uses up the excess glucose in the bloodstream reducing the need for extra insulin and thus reducing resistance. It also helps to lower the overall blood sugar levels. Using a combination of different exercises and activities like aerobics, sports, walks, gym, etc you would be able to build the sensitivity even more

2. Sleep

Another important element would be good sleep. Studies have shown that people who increase their sleep timings by even an hour become more sensitive to insulin after 6 weeks.

B. Diet 

Diet creates a huge impact on the body’s consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. The more the intake of these two categories, the higher the levels of blood sugar in the body which results in a greater need for insulin. Improve insulin sensitivity by ensuring that the dietary factors are consumed in moderation allowing the body to naturally require lesser insulin. What kind of diet can affect and lower the body’s resistance to insulin? 

1. Fewer Carbs + More Unsaturated Fats

Carbs, as we already know, are harmful to anybody with or without diabetes. Replacing the carb content with a higher level of unsaturated fats would see an increase in insulin sensitivity within the body. Additionally, lower levels of carbs and higher levels of unsaturated fats also lower the risk of high blood pressure causing a reduced risk for T2D. This kind of diet, even for 6 weeks, is known to show great results. 

2. Soluble Fiber

This kind of fiber comes from plants. Essentially, even though these are a type of carbohydrate-rich food category, they do not break down in the body fully. This is why they do not cause an unwarranted spike in sugar levels. Moreover, it was noticed that soluble fibers are responsible for a delay in gastric emptying. This delay helps to bring down the blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes. An insulin sensitivity test also shows that consumption of higher levels of soluble fibers reduced insulin resistance. 

3. Intermittent Fasting

This concept is now widely adopted in India and many people are engaging in intermittent fasting. It is a type of diet that gives more importance to the timings of the food rather than what the food is. It is shown to bring down insulin resistance drastically. Even though this fasting may not reduce blood sugar levels, they have been known to have a great impact on the overall insulin sensitivity within the body.

C. Dietary Supplements

For people who have diabetes, it may not be possible to engage in intermittent fasting all the time. Additionally, in cases of hypoglycemic episodes, they may have to eat foods with high contents of sugar to bring their blood glucose levels back up and not enter into a hypoglycemic shock. This may also derail them from their diet plan. Therefore, many people desire to improve their insulin sensitivity with the help of dietary supplements. This can also be done in addition to the food restrictions or diet plans that they want to follow.

1. Probiotics and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Particularly in people who are overweight, these supplements could provide a drastic insulin sensitivity increase. Since this topic is a hot topic for research, a study in 2014 looked to investigate the effects of these supplements on their sensitivity to insulin among overweight individuals. They found a significant improvement in the parameter. 

2. Magnesium

This is also an effectively beneficial supplement for people looking to lower their insulin resistance. Taking Mg supplements for more than 4 months has been known to improve insulin resistance in people with and without diabetes. 

3. Resveratrol

This is a natural component that is present in the skins of red grapes. A dietary supplement containing resveratrol improves glucose control and leads to improved insulin sensitivity overall. This is particularly for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Bottomline

Having a reduced sensitivity to insulin results in the onset of type 2 diabetes among several individuals. There are many natural ways to lower the body’s resistance to insulin as one can engage in several activities like – 

Exercise : At least 30 minutes of workouts depending on the suggestions of a fitness trainer. For people with diabetes, ensure to check their pre-and post-exercise blood sugar levels.

Diet : A diet with fewer carbs, lower sugar contents, high in unsaturated fats, and fibers is ideal. Additionally, even intermittent fasting works wonders in achieving the desired results. 

Dietary Supplements : Supplements with higher probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and resveratrol are best for improving the body’s sensitivity toward insulin for diabetes.

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FAQs

Can You Restore Insulin Sensitivity?

Yes, you can restore insulin sensitivity by following some highly-effective steps. Things like losing weight, reducing sugar intake, taking adequate sleep, ceasing smoking, eating a healthy diet, and taking the necessary supplements can bring a significant difference. But to see visible results, you must follow these collective steps consistently. 

How Do You Reverse Insulin Intolerance?

If you’re trying to reverse insulin intolerance the natural way, exercising and losing weight are the most effective steps. Start the journey by being active, as it is the best way to combat insulin resistance. As no medicine is specifically approved for insulin resistance, you should depend more on reversing the situation the normal way. 

What Foods Increase Insulin Sensitivity?

Soluble fiber has been linked to various health benefits, and increasing insulin sensitivity is one of them. Food items rich in soluble fiber are best for increasing insulin sensitivity. Some of these food items include oatmeal, vegetables, legumes, flaxseeds, and fruits. These food items also help feed the healthy or friendly bacteria in your gut, so make sure you include these items in your everyday diet.

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