If your doctor has recently diagnosed you with insulin resistance, know that this is not the same as prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and there are natural remedies that you can do to improve your blood sugar levels and alleviate the stress that is on your pancreas.
Don’t consider a diagnosis of insulin resistance the death knell. Instead, recognize it as a wake-up call and an opportunity to improve your lifestyle.
If you live with insulin resistance, then you need to learn ways to manage your body’s insulin, and there are many natural ways that this can be done.
What is Insulin and Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas to help the glucose in your blood enter the cells in your liver, fat, and muscles so that it can be used for energy. Glucose typically comes from the food you eat but it can also be produced by the liver when the body is fasting. For normal individuals, your pancreas is able to produce enough insulin in order to convert this blood glucose into energy.
Blood glucose is commonly referred to as blood sugar, and the levels or amount of blood sugar in your body will rise after you eat. At this point, your pancreas would release insulin into the blood to lower it back down to a range that is deemed normal.
For those who are insulin resistant, this process does not occur as it should. Instead, an insulin resistant individual might be producing insulin, but the cells in the fat, liver, and muscles don’t respond to it and can’t take up the glucose from the blood to be converted into energy.
The pancreas can continue to produce insulin in order to overcome a weak cellular response. For these individuals, blood glucose levels will stay healthy. An individual with insulin resistance might operate like this, but they might also have metabolic syndrome, which includes other problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms and Causes for Insulin Resistance
It’s not possible to know if you have insulin resistance based on how you feel. Instead, a doctor will need to test your blood to check blood sugar levels and other tests to determine obesity, cholesterol levels and other risk factors.
Some symptoms of insulin resistance might include:
- Waistline over 100 cm in men, 89 cm in women
- Blood pressure higher than 130/80
- Fasting glucose over 100 mg/dl
- Fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
In addition to this, causes might include:
- Diet high in carbohydrates
- Gestational diabetes
- Health conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Family history of diabetes
This is not the full list of symptoms or causes of insulin resistance, and you should consult with your doctor if you are concerned about your metabolic health.
Common Ways to Fight Insulin Resistance
Many people believe that insulin resistance is fought with external administration of insulin, but this is not the case. In fact, insulin resistance means that your body is still receptive to the insulin that your body produces and that the pancreas is able to produce insulin. For this reason, you want to avoid taking insulin externally as long as possible.
In order to fight or reverse insulin resistance, your doctor might recommend lifestyle and behavioural changes. This will typically include exercising more, eating a diet with fewer carbohydrates, eating more fruits and vegetables, seeking ways to reduce your bad cholesterol levels, trimming down your waist, and losing weight.
Depending on the severity of your insulin resistance or the ability to change your lifestyle, your doctor might also recommend a medication like Metformin in order to help keep the blood sugar levels in check.
How Can You Fight Insulin Resistance Naturally
If you have insulin resistance but you’d like to avoid taking medication, then there are a number of ways that you can treat your insulin resistance naturally and prevent it from turning into prediabetes.
Fighting insulin resistance naturally is largely about reducing weight. So while this sounds simple, we all know that getting down to your desired weight can often be really difficult, and it becomes even more difficult if you have an injury, ailment, or social situation that is holding you back.
However, a diagnosis of insulin resistance, either due to obesity, PCOS, gestational diabetes, or another metabolic risk factor, is something to take seriously. And largely, by knowing that you have insulin resistance, you can begin to work smarter to get down to a healthy weight.
Here are some of the ways that you can fight insulin resistance naturally:
Eating a healthy diet
Bodies that develop insulin resistance (usually by their own doing) are responding to diets high in processed foods and carbohydrates. So an easy fix is to immediately eliminate all of these items from your diet. Common techniques like going through your pantry and throwing out these foods (or donating them) helps to remove the temptation right away. You then need to make a list of foods that you can snack on and plan several healthy meals.
While it might take a while to get into the swing of things, recognize that any amount of improvement is an improvement. So you don’t need to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Take baby steps, and reward yourself with “normal” food throughout the process.
There are several tools that you can consider using to support your healthy habits. There are plenty of meal and food tracking apps that show you clearly how certain foods might negatively impact your health. You can also work with apps to scan items at your grocery store.
Diet apps are also helpful if you want to get started. However, don’t rely on diets to help you lose weight for the long-term. It might take awhile for you to find what you need. Some bodies prefer intermittent fasting, for example, whereas others operate really well on a low carb, high fat and high protein diet.
And, of course, get a buddy! Doing the weight loss journey is super boring on your own. Find someone who wants to eat healthy (they don’t need to be on a diet, per se) so that you can share food photos and struggles together.
Be physically active
When it comes to exercise, some of us are our own worst enemies. However, exercising even as little as 30 minutes a day three to four times a week can drastically improve our cardiovascular health and overall health. Therefore, something as simple as going on a 30-minute walk three times a week can improve your physical fitness, overall health, mental health, and overall outlook on the fitness journey.
When it comes to exercise, you might struggle to find something that your body can do. For example, if you are injured, then finding the movements that won’t hurt you can be extremely taxing.
Work with your physical therapist to find the movements that you can do. Maybe swimming is good for your stiff joints, but this is not always the case. Almost anyone can do meditation, and there are machines at fitness centres that support adaptive exercises.
If you can’t afford to go to a gym, then try to work out in your home as best as you can. Try free fitness apps or free Youtube exercise videos.
Work with a professional
When it comes down to it, you can always turn to a professional to help you with your goals. Whether it is for food tracking and nutrition or fitness, you can rely on a professional to ensure that you continue to take steps toward your goal.
Speak with a dietician or nutritionist, even if it is online, if you are having trouble identifying healthy foods and eating habits. Hire a trainer either online or at your local gym to keep you dedicated to your fitness regimen!
Take a natural supplement
Now when we say natural supplement, we never want to suggest that there is a supplement that is a cure-all, miracle-cure, or a supplement that can guarantee that you will lose weight! Remember, you must move your body, drink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced diet!
There are natural supplements that might improve your metabolic health, though, if that is your problem. For example, if you have PCOS or insulin resistance due to gestational diabetes, then you could consider taking Myo-Inositol, which is a vitamin B complex that helps to regulate the body’s cellular response.
Myo-Inositol has shown to make small improvements to weight (one study found that weight loss of 2 pounds occurred) so make sure that you accompany this supplement with consistent exercise and a moderate calorie, low-carb diet.
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