15 Natural, Science-Backed Ways To Boost Your Insulin Sensitivity to Control and Reverse Diabetes.
Only room for 7 this month, but for the other 8 tips email me for the free Ebook for Costa Cálida Chronicle readers.
1. Get More Sleep
A good night’s sleep is vital for your health. Sleep is our rest and repair mode. In contrast, lack of sleep can be harmful and increase your risk for infections, heart disease and type 2 Diabetes. Several studies have shown how poor sleep will lead to reduced insulin sensitivity. For example, one study involving 9 healthy volunteers found that getting just 4 hours of sleep in one night reduced insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar, compared with getting 8 hours of sleep.
Fortunately, catching up on lost sleep can reverse the effects of poor sleep on insulin resistance.
A lack of sleep can harm your health and increase insulin resistance. Making up for lost sleep may help reverse its effects.
2. Eat More Soluble Fibre
Fibre can be divided into two broad categories — soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre mostly acts as a bulking agent to help stool move through the bowels. Meanwhile, soluble fibre is responsible for many of fibre’s associated benefits, like lowering cholesterol and reducing appetite. Several studies have found a link between high soluble-fibre intake and increased insulin sensitivity. For example, a study involving 264 women found that those who ate more soluble fibre had significantly lower levels of insulin resistance. Soluble fibre also helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which have been linked to increased insulin sensitivity.
Foods that are rich in soluble fibre include legumes, oatmeal, flaxseeds and vegetables like Brussels sprouts and fruits like apples.
Eating soluble fibre has many health benefits and has been linked to increased insulin sensitivity. It also helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut.
3. Reduce Stress
Stress affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. It encourages the body to go into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode, which stimulates the production of stress hormones like cortisol and glucagon. These hormones break down glycogen, (a form of stored sugar), into glucose which enters your bloodstream for your body to use as a quick source of energy. Unfortunately, ongoing stress keeps your stress hormone levels high, stimulating nutrient breakdown and increasing blood sugar.
Stress hormones also make the body more insulin-resistant. This prevents nutrients from being stored and makes them more available in the bloodstream to be used for energy. Many studies have found that high levels of stress hormones reduce insulin sensitivity. This process may have been useful for our ancestors, who needed extra energy to perform life-sustaining activities. However, for people today who are under chronic stress, reduced insulin sensitivity can be harmful.
Activities like meditation, proper breathing, exercise, and sleep are great ways to reduce stress which helps increase insulin sensitivity.
4. Add More Colourful Fruit and Vegetables To Your Diet
Not only are fruits and vegetables nutritious, they also provide powerful health-boosting effects. In particular, colourful fruits and vegetables are rich in plant compounds that have antioxidant properties which bind to and neutralize molecules called ‘free radicals’. These cause harmful inflammation throughout the body because of their toxicity.
Many studies have found that eating a diet rich in plant compounds is linked to higher insulin resistance.
Colourful fruits and vegetables are rich in plant compounds that help increase insulin sensitivity.
5. Add Herbs and Spices To Your Cooking
Herbs and spices were used for their medicinal properties long before they were introduced into cooking. However, it was not until the past few decades that scientists began examining their health-promoting properties. Herbs and spices including cinnamon, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger and garlic have shown promising results for increasing insulin sensitivity.
Cinnamon, well known for its culinary uses, has powerful effects on insulin and blood sugar control.
Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fibre, which helps make insulin more effective. Eating them whole, as an extract, or even baked into bread may help increase blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity.
Turmeric contains an active component called curcumin, which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It seems to increase insulin sensitivity by reducing free fatty acids and sugar in the blood.
Ginger. This popular spice is linked to increased insulin sensitivity. Studies have found that its active component gingerol makes sugar receptors on muscle cells more available, increasing sugar uptake.
Garlic. In animal studies, Garlic has appeared to improve insulin secretion and has antioxidant properties that increase insulin sensitivity.
These findings for herbs and spices are promising. However, most research in this area is recent and was conducted in animals. Human studies are needed to investigate whether herbs and spices do indeed increase insulin sensitivity.
6. Use Supplements to Reduce Insulin Resistance
Milk Thistle is a powerful herb especially for those with liver decline. The herb has been shown to not only help clean the liver, but also reduce insulin resistance
Berberine-containing herbs. Berberine is a constituent found in various plants, such as Coptis, Oregon Grape, Barberry and Goldenseal. It works in a similar way to Metformin in reducing sugar absorption to keep sugar levels in the blood lower.
Nigella Sativa may also provide an array of health benefits. Well-researched benefits include protection against cell damage and inflammation, as well as improved blood sugar control, a stronger immune system and a healthier heart and brain.
Gymnema Sylvestre is highly effective and called the sugar buster in its native Indian climate where it is grown.
Cinnamon, Gymenema Sylvestra, Garlic, Fenugreek, Turmeric, Berberine, Milk Thistle, Nigella Sativa and Ginger may help increase insulin sensitivity. The research behind them is recent and primarily conducted in animals, so more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made. However, numerous testimonials from users confirm the results from large number of animal studies.
7. Lose a Few Pounds
Excess weight, especially in the belly area, reduces insulin sensitivity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Belly fat can do this in many ways, such as making hormones that promote insulin-resistance in the muscles and liver. Many studies support the link between higher amounts of belly fat and lower insulin sensitivity. Fortunately, losing weight is an effective way to lose belly fat and increase insulin sensitivity. It may also help reduce your risk for type 2 Diabetes if you have pre-Diabetes. A study at Johns Hopkins University found that people with pre-Diabetes who lost 5–7% of their total weight over 6 months reduced their risk for type 2 Diabetes by 54% for the next 3 years.
Luckily, there are many ways to lose weight through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.
Weight loss may help increase insulin sensitivity and is linked to a lower risk of Diabetes.
This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor and have zero qualifications. I am an independent researcher who has used alternative treatments and dietary control to reverse a wide range of diseases, including advanced prostate cancer. Therefore do your own research before stopping any prescription medication or altering your diet and lifestyle choices.