Insulin is one of the most important hormones in your body. It is responsible for keeping your blood sugar levels low, which is very important in preventing type 2 diabetes. In fact, one of the signs that you are at risk of developing diabetes is when your body stops properly responding to insulin. When this happens, you are considered “pre-diabetic” and need to take steps to increase your sensitivity to insulin. The good news is that this can be done by changing your diet and lifestyle. Here are eight natural ways to boost insulin sensitivity.
What is Insulin Sensitivity?
When you eat, your pancreas releases insulin to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Insulin takes the sugar out of your blood and places it into cells to be used for fuel or storage. However, cells can stop responding properly to insulin and will not take in sugar. This leads to increased blood sugar levels. Chronic high blood sugar then leads to type 2 diabetes. The key to keeping your blood sugar regulated is to keep your body sensitive to insulin.
8 Natural Ways to Boost Your Insulin Sensitivity
1) Exercise More
Exercise immediately boosts your body’s sensitivity to insulin. When you exercise, your muscles readily take sugar in for storage and fuel. Depending on your workout, you can increase insulin sensitivity for up to 48 hours after you stop exercising! Both cardio and strength training increase insulin sensitivity, so you can do both throughout the week to keep your body as healthy as possible.
2) Sleep More
Sleep is incredibly important for your health. When you sleep well, your body has a chance to repair itself. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to a decrease in insulin sensitivity. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. You can make a sleep a priority by making your bedroom as calm and peaceful as possible, so you can easily fall asleep and stay asleep.
3) Eat More Fiber
Fiber does more than just keep you regular. Increasing your fiber intake can help increase your insulin sensitivity too. Fiber helps your body slowly absorb sugar and keeps insulin and blood sugar levels low. Fiber also helps increase the good bacteria in your gut. Make sure to eat foods high in soluble fiber like oatmeal, legumes, vegetables and fruits.
4) Use More Spices
Adding delicious spices and herbs to your foods can do more than make it taste good! Herbs and spices have been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of illnesses. And we now know that several different spices can help increase your insulin sensitivity. Try adding garlic, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek seeds, and cinnamon to your dishes. All of these spices work with your body to reduce insulin resistance.
5) Cut Carbs and Sugar
Simple carbs like white bread, bagels, and pasta raise your blood sugar just like eating sugary treats like cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate. This spike in blood sugar leads to an increase of insulin. When there is too much insulin production, you risk your body no longer responding properly. Avoid sugar and carbs as much as possible and enjoy fruits and dark chocolate instead.
6) Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may not sound like an appetizing drink, but regularly drinking it can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Apple cider vinegar reduces blood sugar, which decreases the production of insulin in your body. If you cannot stomach drinking apple cider vinegar, you can add it to dressings, sauces, or mix it into a smoothie or tea.
7) Lose Weight
You are much more likely to decrease insulin sensitivity if you are overweight or obese. Fortunately, when you lose weight, your insulin sensitivity will automatically rise. This is particularly true if you carry your excess weight in your belly. Pay close attention to your diet and exercise regularly to lose weight in a safe, healthy way. Even taking a few pounds off can dramatically boost your insulin sensitivity.
8) Reduce Stress
We all know stress is bad for your health but it can also significantly impact your insulin sensitivity as well. When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones that increase blood sugar levels and trigger insulin production. Stress hormones also contribute to your body’s inability to properly respond to insulin. Try to lower the stress levels in your life and actively seek out calming practices like yoga, reading, meditation, and relaxation.
If you are diabetic or just worried that you are not sensitive to insulin, then you can start making changes today to increase your body’s insulin sensitivity. It is very important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, no matter how healthy you may feel. Always try to lower your stress levels and look into adding spices, herbs and apple cider vinegar to your diet. These consistent, small changes will make a big difference in how your body responds to insulin and will keep you healthy and feeling good.