Insulin resistance is a condition where the hormone insulin is unable to perform its duties in your body.
I’ve written more about insulin resistance in this post. You will know about the causes, symptoms and the biology of why insulin resistance occurs in that post.
In this post, I’m going to share ways to reverse insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance may not seem like a great deal to start with. But over the time, if left unattended, it will make you diabetic.
Refer to the image below as to how this can happen.
OK, so here are three main food items that can help reverse insulin resistance.
Cinnamon is long known for its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. It not only stabilises your blood sugar level but also helps with cardiovascular conditions.
It lowers the bad cholesterol in your blood stream and over the time can even clear blocks in a slow and steady fashion.
Cinnamon improves the ability of the cells to respond to insulin. It not only lowers your fasting blood sugar levels, but also slows the rate in which digestion happens.
How can you take Cinnamon in your diet?
You don’t need much. As small as half a teaspoon per day is all you need!
I usually drink it in the form of tea. I buy Cinnamon stripes and powder them in the food processor to a fine powder.
I store the powder. At about tea time, I boil a cup of water, add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and let it seep for about 10 minutes.
Once the water has cooled a bit I add about a tablespoon of honey (I don’t add it when the water is hot, since that will spoil the properties of honey) and drink it.
If you find drinking it everyday a bit too much, you can drink this tea every other day. It is so refreshing! I do it at least 3 times a week.
Or you could sprinkle some cinnamon powder on your toast in the morning.
Or you could add it to various dishes as you like.
What I try to convey here is, adding cinnamon to your diet is not a big deal.
Ginger is a wonder food that acts as a cure for various conditions ranging from cold, and acid reflux to obesity.
Ginger is a fat burning food and is heavily used to cure obesity. But ginger is also useful to reverse insulin resistance.
It not only stabilises your blood sugar level, but also increases your cells’ ability to respond to insulin.
Ginger is quite common with many Indian dishes. You can also add it to your diet in the form of tea, in smoothies, and much more.
Ginger is also very effective in reducing cholesterol in blood (and hence effective for arterial blocks).
Turmeric is a popular spice in Indian dishes. It is also a crucial ingredient in many skin care recipes.
You could sprinkle turmeric just like that in any dish. And you only need just a little bit everyday to fight insulin resistance.
Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammatory property. It also prevents vascular dysfunction which occurs with prolonged diabetes.
Food and lifestyle changes to reverse insulin resistance
Apart from the above mentioned 3 specific foods, you should have a healthy lifestyle and an eating habit.
Both of them go hand in hand with all your efforts to reverse insulin resistance. Here are some tips!
Eat small meals frequently
Insulin resistance results in heavy fluctuations of your blood sugar level. In order to bring that to control, you should feed your system with small amounts of food at regular intervals.
Instead of having 3 big meals during the day, you could have 3 medium meals and 2 or 3 healthy snacks sessions.
Make sure your breakfast is nutritious. And that your dinner is light and easily digestible.
Also make sure that you don’t eat close to bed time. Leave at least an hour after a meal before you lie down to avoid digestion issues and acid reflux – both of them are related to insulin resistance.
Apart from having a healthy eating style, you should move your body regularly. With insulin resistance, weight gain is most of the times unavoidable.
So it is a must that you don’t have a sedentary lifestyle. You should be physically active as much as possible.
When I say “workout” you don’t necessarily have to hit the gym all the time – even though, if that’s possible, by all means, do it.
But if you can’t go to the gym often, it is not an excuse to stay inactive. You could walk on the treadmill, or go for a walk outside.
A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week, is sometimes all enough.
Being active helps to lower your cholesterol, blood sugar levels and improves your metabolism.
It also helps balance your hormones which play a crucial role in causing insulin resistance (especially for women).
If your profession requires you to sit all the time, make sure you get up, do some stretches and walk a few steps every 30 minutes.
Get up from your chair often to fill up your water bottle, or to grab coffee. Use the stairs as much as possible.
Do some crunches or lunges in the restroom. Everything counts!
Eat a natural, well balanced diet and avoid processed sugars
What you put in your mouth counts a lot to help fight insulin resistance.
In general you should aim at eating a variety of food so you get a well-balanced input.
But that doesn’t mean you could include the junk in your menu. Please keep it off your menu, by all means.
In particular, you should avoid processed sugars and almost all commercial food products have processed sugars, or other bad stuff (like the bad cholesterol, trans fat etc.)
Which is why you should always buy and eat natural, organic stuff.
Avoid commercial soft drinks, carbonated drinks (especially the low fat or diet ones), sodas, commercial snacks (biscuits, chips etc.), canned or processed meat etc.
Alternatively, you could opt for fresh juices, smoothies, healthy homemade snacks, and fresh meat!
And avoid carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed since that will cause a sugar spike. Potatoes are to be avoided but sweet potatoes are safe.
Consume enough of essential fatty acids (EFAs). Eggs, avocado, fish oil supplements, salmon, flaxseed etc. are rich in EFAs.
More importantly, avoid the commercial cooking oils and opt for healthier, natural options instead.
Insulin resistance is reversible
Yes it is. All it takes is some mindful eating and lifestyle habits.
I hope I’ve shed some light on this topic in this blog post.
Try out these tips and the foods that will help you reverse insulin resistance.
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.