April 1, 2017

Tips to Improve Insulin Resistance – Part 2

Western diets typically lack certain nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium, fiber, and potassium. These nutrients are especially important to maintain blood sugar levels. So, people with insulin resistance should seek out foods rich in these ingredients.

It's possible to enjoy foods from every food group even with insulin resistance. Understanding which foods increase blood sugar and which support insulin sensitivity is key.

The following foods help to support insulin sensitivity:
  • non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli and peppers
  • high-fiber foods, such as beans and whole grains
  • protein-rich foods, including lean meats, fish, and nuts
  • foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon
  • antioxidant foods, such as berries
  • sweet potatoes, which are lower GI than other potatoes
  • water, especially as a substitute for sweetened drinks
  • unsweetened teas

Certain foods are more likely to raise blood sugar. These foods should be limited or avoided to help maintain a steady blood sugar level:
  • sweetened beverages, including fruit juices, soda, and fountain drinks
  • alcohol, particularly beer and grain alcohol, especially in large quantities
  • grains, whether refined or whole, may worsen insulin sensitivity in some people
  • starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, pumpkin, corn, and yams
  • processed snacks and boxed foods
  • excessive sugary sweets, such as cupcakes, ice cream, or chocolate bars
  • white bread, rice, pasta, and flour, which is lower in fiber than whole grain
  • dairy from cows, especially milk
  • fried foods, even if the food is otherwise healthful
  • foods high in saturated fats, including chocolate, butter, and salt pork

It's possible to sometimes eat foods on this list and still improve insulin sensitivity. The key is to limit these foods, and to replace them with more healthful options as often as possible.

By sticking to a diet rich in fiber and plants while being low in added sugars, it's possible to steadily improve insulin sensitivity. Daily exercise is also an important factor. These lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions.

Research shows ethnic and genetic factors may increase the risk of insulin resistance. However, lifestyle factors also make a big difference.

Making positive changes to lifestyle can greatly decrease the risk of insulin resistance.

Diet affects insulin resistance in at least two ways. Firstly, consuming too many calories whether from too much fat, sugar, or alcohol can make people gain weight. This increases the risk of insulin resistance.

Secondly, different food types affect insulin resistance. Some foods increase the risk and some foods reduce it.

Being overweight makes insulin resistance much more likely. People with lots of fat around their middle, in particular, are at an even greater risk. This is because fat secretes hormones and other substances that may interfere with insulin.

Excess fat around the waist is also linked to chronic inflammation. This can trigger a wide range of health problems, including insulin resistance.

Not getting enough exercise can affect the way insulin regulates glucose. Physical activity plays an important role in keeping blood sugar levels steady. It is a great idea to do light exercise after meals because exercise causes the muscles to use up glucose and they don't need insulin. This lowers blood sugar levels.

A number of other lifestyle factors affect insulin resistance, including:
  • smoking
  • sleep issues
  • older age
  • use of steroids

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