Insulin is a chemical that the body utilizes in food to obtain energy from carbohydrates. The blood sugar levels of an individual may build up too high without insulin and cause damage to the body, especially to the kidneys, nerves of the hands and feet, and eyes.
Ideally, the balance in the body is between blood sugar and insulin. However, several cases occur where insulin does not work as well as it should, causing the body to manufacture an unnecessary amount of insulin. This is referred to as insulin resistance, which is both a risk factor for the development of diabetes and a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
Insulin levels may need to be managed by a person who is insulin resistant and wants to maintain a healthy weight and body.
Many of the measures associated with enhanced insulin resistance are already known as healthy habits that many individuals will still do well to follow. In this post, we take a look at some of them.
Three diet tips
1. Eating foods that keep blood sugar levels low
Sometimes, foods that keep blood sugar levels down are also foods that help sustain down levels of insulin.
Instead of triggering sudden spikes, certain foods are known to sustain a slower, steady need for insulin. These are classified as foods with a low glycemic index and are preferred carbohydrate sources.
To keep insulin and blood sugar levels low, the Diabetes Council recommends consuming the following foods:
- peanut butter
- slow-cooked oatmeal
- yogurt without added sugars
2. Avoiding foods that cause insulin spikes
Just like there are foods that are helpful in decreasing the amount of insulin, there are those that cause spikes. These include foods that are high-sugar, such as candies and chocolates.
Sugar sources that contribute to insulin spikes can also be dried fruits and energy drinks. Avoiding these foods will help hold the amount of insulin down.
3. Following a low-carbohydrate diet
Depending on how much carbs they are allowed to consume, there are several kinds of low-carbohydrate diets a person may choose from. Examples include Atkins, South Beach, and the Mediterranean diet, which favors carbohydrates, such as wheat and beans, that come from healthy, fiber-rich sources. Fruits, fruits , nuts, olive oil, and fish are also included.
Four lifestyle changes
1. Losing weight
According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, if a person is overweight, weight loss can probably help them decrease their insulin levels. This is because insulin resistance, and thus an increased insulin level, is associated with excess weight and body fat.
Why many doctors recommend that women with polycystic ovary syndrome ( PCOS) lose weight is the connection between body fat and having too much insulin. This syndrome causes excess amounts of “male” hormones known as androgens and excess amounts of insulin to be produced by a woman.
For women with PCOS, losing weight isn’t easy, nor is it easy for anyone who has a hormone-related condition. Some changes in lifestyles, however, can make weight loss possible. Losing weight can lead to lower levels of insulin.
2. Regularly exercising
It can be very helpful to fit in 60 minutes of workout on a daily basis or several 15- or 30-minute sessions. Walking, taking an exercise class, riding a bicycle, or taking part in another physical activity that gets the heart beating faster can be part of the exercise.
3. Engaging in resistance training
According to another article in the journal Diabesity, resistance training enhances muscle mass, which increases the amount of glucose a person uses and helps their insulin function more efficiently.
4. Taking action to decrease stress
Since the body is trying to release more insulin to use with carbohydrates for energy, stress can lead to excess insulin production. Measures to reduce stress include:
- getting enough sleep at night
- taking 15 to 30 minutes each day to do something enjoyable
The use of supplements in lowering insulin levels has been supported by some research.
One research , published in the Nutrition & Metabolism Annals, found that overweight women taking a dietary supplement consisting of 125 milligrams ( mg) of green tea, 25 mg of capsaicin, and 50 mg twice daily of ginger extract resulted in a higher decrease in body weight and insulin levels compared to those taking placebo.
Chromium, which is a trace mineral present in the human body, is another supplement that has been extensively studied for its insulin-lowering benefits. Chromium supplements can help increase the efficacy of insulin, which will hopefully help to lower overall insulin levels.
Studies have not yet definitively shown the advantages of chromium in reducing insulin. However, one study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that by helping to reduce blood glucose and insulin levels, taking chromium supplements reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Often, a drug known as Metformin is administered by physicians. This medication makes the body more responsive to insulin, which, since the body uses it more, will help to lower insulin levels.
Women with PCOS who were overweight, followed a healthier lifestyle, and took metformin were more likely to lose weight than those women who embraced a healthy lifestyle alone, according to the Center for Young Women’s Health.
However, there are side effects of taking metformin, so for women with PCOS or those with similar medical conditions, it is not necessarily the right option.
RECALL OF METFORMIN EXTENDED RELEASE
The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) suggested in May 2020 that certain manufacturers of extended release metformin withdraw some of their tablets from the U.S. market. This is because certain extended-release metformin tablets detected an inappropriate amount of a possible carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). Contact your healthcare provider if you are already taking this drug. If you can continue taking your medicine or if you need a new prescription, they will tell you.
In the body, excess insulin is known to control how the body functions.
For instance, excess insulin allows the body to store extra fat, which at a later date can be broken down and used for energy. Insulin promotes hunger and weight gain.
A balanced diet, physical exercise, and moderation of stress can all help lower their levels for a person dealing with excess insulin.
Before starting a new diet or any new supplements, a person should always speak to their doctor to ensure they will not interfere with their drug plan or overall health.