Making certain lifestyle changes, eating healthy, sleeping on time, and exercising regularly can keep many lifestyle disorders at bay. “One such condition that can be prevented, or even reversed, by adopting some healthy habits is insulin resistance, an early indicator of diabetes,” said nutritionist Shikha Gupta.
Insulin, produced by the pancreas, helps keep blood sugar or blood glucose within levels. But sometimes, the body doesn’t respond to the insulin — a condition known as insulin resistance. According to WebMD, “Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, your blood sugar levels go up.”
While the exact cause is not known, there are many risk factors that can increase a person’s risk of insulin resistance.
Some of the most common are:
Being overweight or obesity
High carb or sugar diet
According to Gupta, insulin resistance happens due to “excessive intake of carbs, long sitting jobs, not working out, and taking stress“.
What can be done?
Cut down excess carbs
Insulin is responsible for absorbing glucose from food and allowing the body to use it as energy, and also store it as glycogen in muscles, liver, or as body fat when in excess. “But, if you put too much pressure on insulin, it gives up. That means, when there is excess carb intake — that causes the glucose to increase in blood — insulin spikes and, with time, resists working for you,” she explained.
What should be eaten?
3-4 servings of rice/roti/jowar/bajra/nachni/oats/fruits are just enough to bring down insulin load in a day.
Resistance or weight training can help improve the “sensitivity of the hormones”. “Resistance training helps in better uptake of glucose in the body,” she mentioned.
How much to do?
Three sessions of resistance training in a week is important.
Eat more good fats
Fats like ghee, coconut, avocado, nuts, and seeds should be consumed.
“This has a major impact on stabilising the fluctuating insulin. This will immediately show improvement in energy levels, reducing sugar cravings, and pigmentation,” she said.
No maida, refined oils, refined salt, or sugar. Even excess fruits must not be had until you bring down your insulin levels,” she added.
*Stop packet foods
*Have omega 3 rich foods like fish, flaxseeds, walnut, almonds.
*Eat more fibre from vegetables. “Four-five cups is good enough to meet daily requirements,” she said.