Insulin resistance is the nemesis of many! It sets the stage for serious health conditions, including weight gain, pre-diabetes, and type II diabetes. However, because insulin resistance has no symptoms, people can go for years without even knowing that they’re at greater risk of developing diseases. Many physicians and patients don’t assertively combat insulin resistance until the diagnoses. Fortunately, type II diabetes and other diseases can be delayed and even prevented through healthy lifestyle changes, especially if you learn early on that you are insulin resistant.
There are many risk factors for insulin resistance and pre-diabetes, including being overweight and having polycystic ovarian disease, fatty liver, elevated triglyceride levels, or a history of diabetes in the family. Knowing the risks and the importance of these diagnoses can prompt you to take simple and proactive steps, from consulting with a diabetes educator to adopting a healthy diet, in order to prevent insulin resistance from developing into more dangerous diseases.
What can you do to reduce insulin resistance?
The first step is understanding what insulin resistance is and what it does to your body. With that information in mind, acknowledge that what you eat and drink has a major impact on your body’s ability to take care of itself. From there, commit to one small change at a time and start building your way towards a healthier lifestyle.
Insulin resistance is when your cells can’t effectively absorb the glucose from all the carbohydrates that you eat. Your pancreas produces hormones, called insulin, which transport glucose throughout your body to be absorbed into the cells in your brain and muscles and used as energy. If the receptors in your brain and muscles have become resistant to insulin, they can’t receive the carbohydrate load from the meals that you eat. The excess sugar gets built up in the blood vessels – some are excreted, while the rest is deposited as fat.
The carbohydrate that doesn’t reach your brain and muscles damages your body. While the damage is silent, it’s very serious and dangerous. It clogs and stiffens your blood vessels, especially those to the heart. Memory and thought processes are significantly affected, as well, because the brain isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. In more extreme cases, it scars the small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys, toes, and fingers and leaves your brain and muscles in a state of starvation. That’s why people with uncontrolled diabetes lose their vision, kidneys, and, sometimes, their limbs.
For uncontrolled diabetics, managing blood sugar that’s out of control is difficult, especially if they’re unable to engage effectively and process all of that information. It’s important to take one step at a time to improve the state of insulin resistance or increase insulin sensitivity. The American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators, as well as the National Fiber Council and other studies, provided the following guidelines to help people reduce insulin resistance and manage blood sugar:
- Lose 5% of body weight to improve glycosylated hemoglobin (HgbA1c)
- Avoid animal fat and decrease overall fat intake.
- Stop drinking sweetened beverages such as sweet teas, sodas, and juices.
- Increase fiber intake, as well as fluid intake.
- Aim for 30 to 50 grams of fiber daily.
- Psyllium is a great supplemental fiber. Oat fiber and bran are also good options.
- Have a minimum of 4 cups of vegetables a day, with 7 to 10 cups being optimal.
- Eat 2 to 4 servings of fruits a day. One to two is acceptable for most individuals.
- Consume protein and vegetables before carbohydrates for every meal and snack.
- Exercise regularly.
- At the minimum, work out for 30 minutes, 5 times a week.
- Optimal is one to 3 hours, 7 times a week.
- Record what you eat, how much you exercise, and your lab values in a journal.
- Obtain quarterly lab values and talk to physicians and experts regarding your diet’s effects on specific values.
- Hemoglobin A1C
- Fasting blood glucose
- Total cholesterol
- Weight loss
A simple way to make all of this possible is to substitute one meal a day with a vegetable NutriBlast smoothie using your NutriBullet. There are literally hundreds of recipes that’ll help increase your fiber and protein intake while keeping your carbohydrate load moderately low. There’s a smoothie for everyone. Even if you’re not fond of the taste of vegetables yet, you’ll start to develop a taste for more natural foods over time as you increase your fiber intake and decrease your carbohydrate intake.
By taking small steps and turning them into healthy lifelong habits, you can reduce insulin resistance and prevent diseases and further damage to your body. Create a structured plan with a nutritious, fiber-rich diet and plenty of exercises. Consult with experts, from your physician to the registered dietitians right here on NutriLiving, if you have any questions or concerns.
Good luck and happy blending!