How to reverse insulin resistance

How to Reverse Insulin Resistance
How to Reverse Insulin Resistance

You may think that a diagnosis of insulin resistance or prediabetes indicates that you have type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that you have diabetes, but just that your glycemic index is higher.

Normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. In these cases, the cells do not respond effectively to insulin, that is, they do not take up sugar in the blood.

Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is very high and the disease has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, but it is possible to reverse the situation by losing weight, participating in physical activity and changing eating habits.

Adjust your diet:

Go for complex carbohydrates. Make sure that the majority of your carbohydrate intake is complex carbohydrate. In other words, thanks to their much more detailed molecular structure, they take longer to be assimilated by the body.

This mechanism can help the body to break down glucose and make you feel more full, but also to control your weight and appetite.

Among the sources of complex carbohydrates, we note mainly whole foods that have not undergone any processing, such as

  • Whole grain products
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Vegetables

Avoid processed foods

Try to go for products that are as close to their natural state as possible. Therefore, limit processed or precooked foods and prepare your meals from basic ingredients.

Often processed foods contain a lot of sugar. Read nutrition labels to determine their presence in the products you buy, but keep in mind that manufacturers don’t have to list added sugars.

  • One of the easiest ways to avoid processed foods is to not eat white foods (white flour bread and pasta, refined rice)
  • For example, 170g of flavored low-fat yogurt contains 38g of sugar (this equates to about 7 scoops)

Limit the intake of simple carbohydrates and sugary drinks

On their own, sugars don’t cause diabetes, but increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup is associated with a high risk of insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Do not consume simple carbohydrates containing saccarose, glucose and fructose. These are the following:

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, table sugar, jams
  • Sweets, cakes and pastries

Increase your fiber intake

According to some studies, consuming insoluble fiber and whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. So, try to incorporate insoluble fiber into every meal.

For example, you can season your dishes with a spoonful of flax seeds. Some of the best sources of fiber include:

  • Wheat, oat or wheat bran
  • Legumes, including white beans, lentils, kidney beans
  • Berries such as raspberries, elderberries and blackberries
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, and barley
  • Vegetables such as peas, squash and green leafy vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Fruits, including pears, prunes, dried figs

Eat more lean meat and fish

Lean meats and fish are great sources of low calorie protein. Be sure to choose not only the leanest cuts of meat, but also skinless (as it is very fatty and is often the part where hormones and antibiotics used for breeding the animal often accumulate. ).

Go for fish that have been caught in the wild, such as cod, salmon, haddock and tuna. They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for health and with anti-inflammatory properties. Eat at least 2 servings of fish per week.

  • Eat less red meats such as beef, pork or lamb, as they increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer

Eat more fruits, vegetables and herbs

You shouldn’t avoid fruits because they contain sugars. Combined with fibers, they help slow down their absorption by the body. Aim to eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.

Remember to use herbs and spices, as they can regulate blood sugar levels. Plus, they help fight cravings for sugar and don’t come with any risks and side effects (if taken in reasonable amounts). Therefore, opt for:

  • Cinnamon
  • Fenugreek
  • Okra (it’s not really an herb, but more of a side dish)
  • Ginger
  • Onion and garlic
  • Basil
  • Bitter melon (consumed mainly as tea 3 or 4 times a day)

Choose a physical exercise

By moderately increasing your level of physical activity, you can reverse insulin resistance. You don’t have to prepare for a marathon.

You just need to do some enjoyable or interesting physical activity. This way you will be more inclined to get active.

  • You can start walking more often, engaging in outdoor activities, climbing stairs, hiking, aerobics, yoga, gardening, tai chi, using an elliptical, exercise bike, flat, rower, or to perform stretching exercises
  • Determine whether it is better to train alone, with a partner, or to play a team sport

Start gradually

Start exercising for 10 minutes a day. If you are comfortable with this level of activity, increase the duration of your sessions by 10 minutes each week. For example, if you have decided to walk more, you can park your car further from the office or get off the elevator 2-3 floors earlier so that you can use the stairs for the rest of the way.

Increase the difficulty level by parking even further away or using the stairs more frequently.

  • In the initial phase, don’t set goals that are too difficult. If you set small, achievable goals for yourself, you are more likely to stay active.

Try to increase your physical activity

Once you become more active, start to challenge yourself. Exercise 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week. To stay motivated, try to combine various activities. You can swim for about 20 minutes and run for about 10 minutes a day.

  • You can join a gym and be followed by a personal trainer. Thus, you will understand what types of exercises can improve your physical condition. The personal trainer can help you develop a personalized training program.

Pay attention to certain signs

If you notice that the skin on your neck, elbows, armpits, knees, and joints has become darker, it is likely that you are suffering from a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans.

It is one of the first signs indicating the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

  • You may also feel more thirsty and hungry, feel more tired, gain weight, or notice increased urination.

Consider your risk factor

Many factors increase your risk of developing insulin resistance, including:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Being inactive or leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Hypertension
  • Low HDL cholesterol (less than 35 mg / dL)
  • A high triglyceride index (more than 250 mg / dL)
  • Age (over 45)
  • A family history of diabetes
  • A history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the birth of a baby weighing more than 4 kg
  • Have a waist size of more than 90 cm (for women)
  • Have a waist size of more than 100 cm (for men)

Get diagnosed

Often, insulin resistance does not cause clinical symptoms. However, the doctor can tell if your glycemic index is above normal by having you undergo one of the following tests.

  • The A1C test: this is an analysis that measures how the body has processed sugars over the past 3 months. If the result is greater than 6.5%, it indicates a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, if it is between 5.7 and 6.4%, it indicates insulin resistance
  • The fasting blood sugar test: this consists of fasting for a few hours. Then the doctor will take a blood sample to measure your blood sugar. If the result is between 100 and 125 mg / dL, this indicates insulin resistance
  • Oral hyperglycemia: a blood sample is taken to measure the level of sugar in the blood. Then you will swallow a very sweet drink and two hours later a second sample will be taken to detect blood sugar again. This test helps to find out how the body manages to process sugar

Consult your doctor

You will need to see him regularly if you have been diagnosed with insulin resistance. Discuss with him the changes you have made in your diet, your desire to lose weight and your activity level.

Your doctor will order blood tests to check your blood sugar.

  • Keep track of your lab tests and use them to continue making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Find out what medications to take

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes you will need to take a medicine, such as metformin, to help control your blood sugar.

Ask your doctor if it is possible to use it along with making changes in your lifestyle and diet to delay or reverse type 2 diabetes

  • Make sure you eat complex carbohydrates primarily at lunchtime and reduce portion sizes for other meals.
  • You should drink 1 or 2 liters per day, or about 6 to 8 glasses of water of 250 ml per day.
  • Doctors and nutritionists strongly recommend that you follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Not only will this help you reverse insulin resistance, but also lose weight.
  • Remember to perform some aerobic and warm up exercises before you work out.

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