By Curtis Sheppard
One of the major health problems facing North America is diabetes. One of the main effects of diabetes is low insulin resistance, leaving diabetics unable to produce enough insulin to keep their blood sugar at healthy levels. The typical treatment is insulin shots.
Insulin sensitivity can also impact people who aren’t diabetics, but are on their way there. Eating high glycemic index (GI) foods-like candy, soda, and other refined sugars-cause insulin spikes and often leave the body struggling to absorb the high sugar content of these foods. Over time, this leads to weight gain and insulin sensitivity.
The importance of lowering your intake of high GI foods typically simple carbs-is being increasingly noted as a useful way to manage weight, reduce the risk of diabetes, and improve general health. Of course, cutting high GI foods entirely out of your diet is very difficult. Thankfully, however, there are some natural ways you can control your blood sugar levels and still eat the occasional chocolate bar, macaroon, or bottle of soda.
One of the ways to help insulin sensitivity is to include healthy, monounsaturated fats into your diet. For example, using olive oil in your dishes or having a handful of almonds for desert-or after eating a high GI food-will improve insulin sensitivity. The healthy fat in almonds helps to slow glucose absorption and helps to keep blood sugar levels regulated. Including fiber in your diet can also help.
Another way to keep insulin from spiking after a meal is to go for a short walk. Taking a slow walk for about 15 minutes following a meal-say 20 minutes after finishing-can help the body absorb the glucose without causing an insulin spike. This is because the light exercise helps your body absorb the sugar to fuel the movement, rather than sitting idle in your bloodstream.
Eating more frequently can also improve insulin sensitivity, provided you’re eating relatively low GI foods. When you eat smaller meals more frequently, you can regulate insulin by providing manageable levels of sugar into your body throughout the day. By eating larger meals less frequently, you increase the demand on your body to break down all the calories, resulting in an inability to effectively absorb the sudden influx of sugar. The bigger the meal, the more shock to your system and the more difficult it is to absorb. Typically, it’s ideal to eat every three to five hours.
Eating less saturated fats and lower GI foods are also a great way to manage insulin sensitivity. Because these two things are known to play a role in blood sugar levels, they are really the first place to start if you’re looking to improve your health, reduce the risk of diabetes, and maybe shed a few inches from your frame.
At the end of the day, the choice is really yours on how you want to manage insulin sensitivity. But remember just because the pharmaceuticals are there, doesn’t mean you necessarily want to use them. Taking a shot after meals can be pretty annoying, while altering your diet can be an opportunity to experience something new, while also improving your overall health.