One out of three Americans will develop insulin resistance,a prediabetic condition that decreases the body’s ability to utilize the hormone insulin, resulting in chronically elevated blood sugars. Insulin resistance can occur as a result of genetic factors, unhealthy lifestyle choices, or both.
Most individuals who develop insulin resistance, sometimes referred to as impaired glucose tolerance or metabolic syndrome, will eventually develop diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious condition and can cause significant damage to the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys over time.
It’s important to get a handle on insulin resistance as soon as it is diagnosed. With proper treatment, insulin resistance can be managed and even eliminated before it has the chance to do real damage.
5 Ways to Treat Insulin Resistance Naturally
In the following article, we will examine the most effective ways to treat this metabolic disorder.
Most medications used for the treatment of diabetes are not appropriate for prediabetes. However, if a patient’s case is more severe, their doctor may use metformin to help the liver slow the output of glucose that results from insulin resistance.
In most cases, however, the types of medication recommended are used to mitigate the secondary conditions that often accompany insulin resistance, such as hypertension and high cholesterol.
There are natural supplements that have shown some efficacy for treating these types of conditions as well. Fish oil, garlic, and CoQ-10can be beneficial in balancing cholesterol levels and promoting cardiovascular health.
Cinnamon and cayenne are known to lower blood sugar levels. Probiotics have demonstrated benefits that go well beyond the gut and can assist with metabolism and weight loss efforts. Patients should always check in with their doctor before incorporating any supplemental medications into their regimen.
2. Monitor the Carbohydrate Intake
The concept of food as a form of medicine is not new, but has definitely become a central theme in disease management in recent years,especially in the treatment of insulin resistance.
For a glucose intolerant patient, the idea is to limit the intake of starchy and sugary foods that will challenge the pancreas and cause big spikes in blood sugar. Ditching soda, candy, and pie may seem like a no-brainer, but other starchy foods can actually be the bigger culprit in the blood sugar challenge.
Watch out for bread, pasta, tubers, and white rice, too.These high-glycemic index foods break down into simple sugars quickly and cause rapid glucose elevation.
Patients should replace the bulk of their dinner plate with protein (including plant proteins) and whole fruits and vegetables, rather than starchy fillers like rolls and potatoes.
3. Eat Non-Starchy Vegetables
It seems odd to be wary of vegetables at all, but when someone needs to monitor their carbohydrate intake, there are actually some types they need to avoid.
Like us, plants create and store glucose for future use, but theirs is in the form of starch. All vegetables will have at least a little starch, but corn, winter squashes like butternut and pumpkin, potatoes, and peas are full of complex carbohydrates and may end up being counterproductive. Eat non-starchy vegetables instead.
Popular choices include standard salad green mixes and toppings, such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions,sprouts, and mushrooms. Artichokes and large shoots, like bamboo and asparagus,are also low on carbohydrates, as are zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, and virtually all peppers.
4. Consume Fish Frequently
Cultures that consume fish frequently have long demonstrated lower rates of heart disease and diabetes, and provide an excellent dietary example to follow in the battle against insulin resistance.
Patients with insulin resistance often struggle with obesity and high cholesterol as well. Making fish a dietary staple can not only help individuals maintain a healthy cholesterol balance, but also promote weight loss.
Fish pack far fewer calories per pound than other types of animal proteins, even chicken. What’s more, cold water fish such as salmon and tuna contain high percentages of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help restore a healthy balance in an individual’s cholesterol levels by raising the ‘good’ cholesterol and reducing the ‘bad.’
The difference between the two lies in the former’s ability to protect individuals from developing coronary artery disease, while the latter contributes to the intravascular plaques that can build up over time and lead to heart problems.
5. Smaller and More Frequent Meals
Every time we eat, our blood glucose levels rise. This change is detected by the pancreas, which in turn releases insulin and begins the complicated biochemical process of either utilizing or repackaging the available sugars for later use, with the goal of maintaining a narrow range of blood sugar. In individuals who are insulin resistant, this process is compromised, resulting in longer elevations in blood sugar and the complications this brings.
Individuals who don’t eat regularly have a tendency to overeat when mealtimes finally arrive. This not only contributes to the weight issues that often plague individuals who are insulin resistant, but causes more dramatic dips and spikes in blood sugar, which can exacerbate the problem.
Eating smaller and more frequent meals can keep individuals feeling full longer, which will prevent overeating, but more importantly, makes the maintenance of a consistent blood glucose level much easier.
Individuals who switch to a grazing rather than gorging mentality will probably find unhealthy cravings brought on by hunger no longer drive their appetite. Of course, the quality of those small meals matters too. Snack on fruits, non-starchy veggies, and nuts in between regularly scheduled,healthy meals.