If you have come across this article, the chances are you are diabetic or are worried about developing diabetes. This is because, when it comes to diabetes, we are always in search of the best resources for combatting the disease. This is why, we have considered it important to provide you, the reader, with the most comprehensive resource when it comes to insulin levels and insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is one of the most important hormones in your body and is produced by your pancreas. The trouble that many diabetic people face is with the levels of insulin in their body. To better explain, insulin is what converts carbohydrates into glucose. It enables the effective breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, thereby regulating your metabolism. It is the absorption of blood glucose into your cells that is primarily facilitated by insulin. Without this, your blood sugar would be too high to be healthy. This is what many diabetic people face, they have insufficient insulin production in their bodies, which result in high blood sugar. This is why, for many seriously diabetic patients, external insulin injections are recommended by healthcare professionals. If you are diabetic, this is because your body simply isn’t producing enough insulin. Without enough insulin, your body is unable to absorb the glucose in your blood, resulting in a high blood glucose level.
With insulin levels being low as with many diabetic patients, high insulin levels are also not considered healthy. High insulin levels in your body are known as hyperinsulinemia and the condition is linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is caused when your body’s muscles, fat and liver are unable to respond properly to insulin, thereby preventing effective absorption of glucose from your blood. This is in essence what we spoke of earlier with regards to diabetic patients.
There are many causes of insulin resistance with the primary reason being obesity. Obesity is usually caused by an inactive lifestyle and a diet high in carbohydrates and high glycemic index food.
If you think you are at risk of developing insulin resistance, then it is probably time to make a few changes to your lifestyle. If you already have diabetes and have already developed insulin resistance, there are certain things you can incorporate into your lifestyle which will help you better regulate your insulin levels.
As promised in the title of this post, we will provide you with 27 natural tips on improving insulin sensitivity. Hence if you have diabetes, or are running the risk of developing diabetes due to your lifestyle, or have a family history of diabetes, read this post word to word; we promise you, it will help.
27 Tips for Improving Insulin Sensitivity
When it comes to diabetes and insulin levels, there are a few things that you can do which would be considered changes to your lifestyle. This coupled with a few natural remedies that are listed below could help you better regulate your insulin levels; thereby ensuring that your body develops better insulin sensitivity.
In order to see the best results, incorporate as many lifestyle recommendations as you can from this list, and incorporate some of the home remedies into your diet. This will give you a good balance of both worlds to ensure that you better regulate your insulin levels. If you can, take into consideration every tip on this list, and decide for yourself, if are able to gain the benefits of making the necessary changes to your life.
1) Sleep Better
If you don’t already know, sleep is highly important to maintain overall wellbeing. Lack of sleep or inadequate sleep has been linked to many health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and you guessed it, diabetes.
When you sleep more, your body’s ability to produce insulin is bettered. In fact, people who sleep less are more prone to insulin sensitivity, which means they have lower insulin levels in their bodies, which results in high blood sugar.
Ensuring that you get plenty of sleep will enable your body to better regulate insulin levels, thereby preventing the risk of developing glucose metabolism dysfunction.
Getting sufficient sleep will also ensure that you don’t stress eat during the day. Unhealthy eating habits can wreak havoc on your insulin levels. Hence aim to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a night.
To understand better the importance of sleep and learn how to sleep better, read our article on, ‘Importance of Sleep.’
2) 10-Minutes Walk After a Meal
This is a very simple tip if you think about it. However, it is probably harder to incorporate into everyone’s busy lifestyle. That being the case, if you are committed to naturally regulating your insulin levels and fighting off diabetes, then you should seriously consider making this lifestyle change.
You don’t have to walk an entire hour after a meal to burn all the calories. All you have to do is, go for a 10-minute walk after every meal. Studies have shown that people who suffered from diabetes gained the ability to better control blood sugar levels by simply adding a 10-minute walk after every meal.
Incorporate this with all three meals of the day. Simply walk around your apartment, your backyard, or the street. You don’t have to walk for long, 10-minutes is more than enough.
3) Regular Exercise
An active lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle. Adding regular exercise into your daily routine can have marvellous effects on your insulin sensitivity. This is because, when you exercise on a frequent basis, your body begins to burn more glucose to produce energy. The more exercise you do, the more glucose is burnt in your body.
This process of burning glucose for energy enables your body to produce a steady amount of insulin, which will enable your body to absorb more glucose into your cells to be used as energy. The more exercise you do, the better your insulin levels will get regulated.
If you suffer from diabetes, then regular exercise is very important in ensuring the wellbeing of self and good health. This is because, exercise enables the regulated production of insulin, which prevents your blood sugar levels from getting too high.
Normally, even after your daily exercise routine, your body continues to produce a steady amount of insulin, which enables the continued regulation of blood glucose levels.
If you don’t know where to start, a fitness diary could help you. If you don’t know what a fitness diary is, read our article on ‘Do I Need a Fitness Diary?‘
4) Avoid High Glycemic Index (GI) Food
When it comes to insulin levels and your blood glucose levels, foods that are high on the glycemic index aren’t going to help you. You have to ensure that you eat food that is low on the glycemic index; this includes all fresh vegetables and fruits.
When it comes to soda, bread, biscuits and cake, you want to steer clear of these type of foods that contains processed sugar. Adding sugar to your fresh juices is another no-no.
The trouble with high glycemic index food is that they cause sugar spikes in your body. This unnatural spiking of blood sugar levels often causes your body to exert itself to produce enough insulin to bring your blood glucose levels back to normal. This can as a result cause insulin resistance in many people. You simply won’t be able to effectively produce insulin to effectively lower your blood glucose levels.
Hence when it comes to your insulin levels, do your body a favour and steer clear of high glycemic index food. This will help you better manage diabetes and better regulate insulin levels.
5) Eat More Prebiotics
Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre, which enables the proper regulation of gut bacteria in your body. They feed the good bacteria which produce nutrients for your colon cells; thereby enabling a healthier digestive system.
Food like garlic, onions and leeks are some great additions to make to your diet to ensure that you are getting a healthy dose of probiotics.
Now you may be wondering, how are prebiotics and digestive health linked to blood glucose levels?
This is because, prebiotics help you better manage your weight, in essence, better enabling you to better manage your blood glucose levels. Studies have shown, that people who consumed a healthy amount of prebiotics in their diet had better-regulated insulin levels and lower blood sugar.
Most of us simply don’t consume enough prebiotics in our diets. However, if you are looking for a natural means to better regulate your insulin level, then this small addition to your diet will provide you with some effective results.
6) Eat More Fibre
Fibre is an important component of any diet. It helps prevent constipation and even reduces the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. It also brings with it the ability to fight diabetes.
This is because fibre enables the effective management of glucose in your body, thereby ensuring that your body generates a consistent amount of insulin. This in essence helps you better regulate your insulin levels.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables enables you to better improve your body’s insulin sensitivity, thereby preventing the onset of diabetes. If you already suffer from diabetes, then eating more fibre will enable you to not only develop better-eating habits but also better regulate your insulin levels.
Foods that are high in fibre include fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.
7) Eat Carbs at the End of the Meal
When it comes to the way you eat, normally the carbs are eaten with the protein and fat on your plate. Little do you eat the meat first and then eat the pasta. However, studies have shown that doing just that could help you better manage your insulin levels.
According to this study, simply saving your carbs to be eaten last could help prevent blood sugar spikes in your body.
This is because eating the carbohydrates last enables your body to produce the levels of insulin it actually needs to metabolise the carbohydrates and absorb the glucose into cells. This enables a better-regulated insulin level in your body.
8) Eat a Mix of Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates
When it comes to your insulin levels, then carbohydrates are not considered your friend. This is because eating too many carbohydrates will result in sugar spikes in your body, which again will cause the overproduction of insulin to absorb all the blood glucose.
To prevent the harmful effects of carbohydrates on your blood glucose levels, ensure to eat a good mix of proteins and fats when you do eat carbohydrates. This will ensure that you eat fewer carbohydrates, enabling your body to produce only the amount of insulin it needs. The chances of developing insulin resistance are lower and you are more likely to have a better naturally regulated insulin level.
9) Eat Carbohydrates in Moderation
When it comes to carbohydrates, one simple tip simply wasn’t enough to iterate the importance of managing carbohydrate to regulate insulin levels. As mentioned prior, if you are suffering from diabetes, then carbohydrates are not your friend.
So when you do consume carbohydrates, you have to ensure that you are eating them in moderation. The overconsumption of carbohydrates will result in the development of insulin resistance. Making sure that you eat your carbohydrates on a moderate level, preferably spread out throughout the day will improve your body’s insulin sensitivity.
We all know that giving up carbohydrates isn’t simply practical, which is why we are recommending that you moderate your consumption and spread it out throughout the day. Don’t simply eat only one meal high in carbohydrates. Instead, eat carbohydrates in all three meals, in smaller portions.
10) Reduce Belly Fat
Though you should definitely work to reduce your body weight if you are overweight (which we will get into next), reducing belly fat, in particular, has to be highlighted separately. This is because belly fat works to reduce insulin sensitivity in your body, which makes you more prone to diabetes.
Belly fat produces hormones that increase the chances of developing insulin resistance. Hence if you can, target your belly fat particularly and if you are obese and looking to lose weight, then make sure to work harder on your belly fat.
11) Don’t be Overweight
If you are overweight, then chances are you need to resolve this to better regulate your insulin levels in your body. Though this is easier said than done, many people who suffer from diabetes manage to find some form of exercise that helps them lose weight.
Be it cardio, kick-boxing or yoga, find what works best for you. Do what it takes to lower your body weight.
The importance of losing weight is highlighted by the fact that cells with lower levels of fat require less insulin for glucose absorption. This means, your body has to produce less insulin for effective blood glucose absorption and regulation.
Hence, if you are overweight, work to manage your weight better. It will drastically help you better regulate your insulin levels.
12) Reduce Stress
Stress brings with it so many health conditions; bad sleep, heart disease, high blood pressure and as it has made this list, obviously diabetes.
Stress decreases your body’s ability to better control your blood sugar levels. This can lead to more stress about your blood sugar levels, resulting in a cycle of stress which you need to break out of.
Stress increases the production of glucagon in your body. Glucagon is the hormone that is responsible for breaking down stored sugar called glycogen. What happens when too much glycogen is broken down in your body, your blood sugar levels rise and your insulin sensitivity decreases. This is why it becomes very difficult for people who are stressed to regulate their insulin levels. If you suffer from stress, we recommend that you find ways to reduce stress in your life, thereby enabling you to better regulate your blood glucose levels.
Stress has an overall negative effect on your life, hence regardless of whether you are trying to regulate your insulin levels, you should really work to lower your stress. Yoga is a great way to lower stress. If you aren’t familiar with yoga and would like to learn of the many health benefits yoga has, read our article on ‘The Health Benefits of a Daily Yoga Practice.’
13) Be Active
When it comes to your daily routine, take note of how many hours a day you spend sitting. Now if you are stuck at work and you don’t have a choice, there isn’t much you can do; but even then, you can take hourly breaks to walk around a little.
The point is simple, the more active you are, the better regulated your insulin levels will be. Decreasing the number of hours you spend sitting can help you fight obesity and even help you fight off diabetes.
A long period of inactivity will result in a slower metabolism. Now if you are at work and sitting down, chances are you aren’t inactive. That being the case, the slower metabolism means that your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, thereby insulin levels are disrupted.
If you do sit for a long duration of the day, it is recommended that you get up and walk a little every 30 minutes. The more active of a lifestyle you have, the better you will be at managing your insulin levels.
14) Get a Good Dose of Polyphenols
Polyphenols are chemical compounds that are found in almost all fresh vegetables and fruits. They have some amazing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Foods that are high in polyphenols lower insulin resistance, thereby ensuring that you better regulate your insulin levels.
Apples are great sources of polyphenols that will help your body by adopting an effective insulin response.
Hence when it comes to your eating habits, make sure that you get a good source of polyphenols for the day to gain the benefits of polyphenols.
15) Consume More Vinegar
Vinger has been studied to show lower levels of blood glucose when enjoyed alongside a carbohydrate-rich meal. This goes to show that simply consuming more vinegar in your diet could help you better regulate your insulin levels.
Vinegar enables your body to produce the right amount of insulin thereby improving insulin sensitivity. It also works to decrease the amount of glucose in your body, caused by the effects of glucagon (the hormone that breaks glycogen into glucose).
Hence to ensure that you better regulate your insulin levels, make sure to add a healthy amount of vinegar to your diet.
16) Cacao Can Help With Blood Sugar
Cacao contains the antioxidant flavanol, which enables the better regulation of insulin in your body. Now when we say cacao, everyone may jump to the question of chocolates.
Chocolates which are commercially available are high on the glycemic index and low in flavanols, which makes them a no-no. However, 100% cacao powder has a greater percentage of flavanol than commercial chocolates.
Hence don’t get us wrong, this isn’t us recommending that you eat chocolates to better regulate your insulin levels; that simply isn’t practical. All we are trying to illustrate is the ability of 100% cacao powder to better regulating flavanol levels in your body, which enables the effective regulation of insulin.
17) Add Some Cinnamon
Cinnamon works to slow down carbohydrate absorption in your body. This enables lower resistance of insulin in your body caused by the lower levels of insulin required by your body to absorb glucose into cells.
This in essence enables the more efficient absorption of blood glucose into cells, resulting in a better-regulated blood sugar level.
The anti-inflammatory properties will help prevent diabetes and for those who have diabetes, it will reduce the progression of the condition.
Just add a little cinnamon to the diet and allow it to work its wonders for your body.
18) Eat Spinach for Magnesium
Spinach contains a good amount of the mineral magnesium. The importance of magnesium in your body should not be underestimated. It is vital for the proper functioning of the heart, the kidneys and even your muscles.
Low magnesium levels have been linked to more proneness to developing insulin resistance. Magnesium plays a great role in insulin functioning, by signalling the better regulation of glucose in your blood. Thus a lower level of magnesium in your body could lower insulin sensitivity.
Hence for those who suffer from diabetes, food that is rich in magnesium, such as spinach, could have great effects in better regulating your blood sugar levels.
19) Get Your Share of Vitamin D
It has been noted in studies that people with low levels of vitamin D had a greater chance of developing insulin resistance.
It is not impossible to source vitamin D from a diet. Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D, so is red meat and oily fish.
Vitamin D enables your body to better absorb glucose to your cells, thereby improving your insulin sensitivity.
Something as simple as getting more sunshine could help you better regulate your blood sugar levels. (Sun exposure is a source of vitamin D.)
20) Cook with Herbs and Spices
Both herbs and species have been praised for their medicinal properties, long before they were used in cooking.
Tumeric, ginger, garlic and fenugreek have shown some great results in improving your body’s insulin sensitivity.
Garlic for instance helps improve insulin secretion by your pancreas, which enables the effective regulation of blood sugar. Ginger enables efficient sugar uptake in cells, thereby helping to better regulate blood glucose levels.
By incorporating these herbs and spices in the preparation of your meal, you give your body an added boost to help you better regulate your blood sugar levels.
21) Drink Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea have been boasted for many years. The praise green tea gets is well deserved. It is an excellent choice of beverage for people who suffer from diabetes.
Green tea helps increase insulin sensitivity, thereby ensuring that your blood sugar levels are better regulated.
There is a powerful antioxidant in green tea known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies have linked EGCG to improved insulin sensitivity.
If you simply add green tea to your diet and lifestyle, you will be rewarded with the benefits of a naturally regulated blood sugar level.
22) Avoid Eating Large Meals
When you eat one large meal a day and smaller meals throughout the day, you end up messing with your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.
This is because a heavy meal usually follows higher blood glucose levels. In order to regulate blood glucose levels, your body produces more insulin. The trouble with eating large meals is that it causes sugar spikes in your body, which can result in developing insulin resistance. This will lead you to develop diabetes if you don’t already have the condition.
To better train your body to handle the amount of food coming in, it is best to eat smaller meals in equal portions throughout the day. This ensures the prevention of sugar spiking at the same time providing for a better-regulated blood sugar level.
23) Drink More Water
Hydration is an important factor to keep in mind when you are considering your blood glucose levels. A study has linked the greater amount of water a person drank, to the lowered chance of developing high blood sugar.
The same study has identified that people who drank half a litre of water per day had an increased chance of developing blood sugar irregularities.
This is because water helps your body better flush out glucose. It also enables the proper absorption of blood glucose into cells; thereby reducing your blood sugar levels.
Hence, if you are battling diabetes and are trying everything you can to help resolve it naturally, make sure you make it a point to stay well regulated throughout the day.
24) Don’t Skip Breakfast
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is said so with good reasons. Simply skipping breakfast takes a toll on your body’s ability to regulate your blood glucose levels.
There are some real risks to your blood sugar levels on fasting for too long. If made a practice out of, it can reduce insulin sensitivity, which can make it very difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar levels.
When it comes to breakfast, there are some real perks of consuming a protein-rich breakfast as opposed to one rich in carbohydrates. As mentioned prior, carbohydrates are simply not your friend when it comes to diabetes, hence opting for a protein-based breakfast will help you better regulate your blood sugar levels.
25) Eat More Resistant Starch
When it comes to eating patterns, it isn’t as simple to change the things you are used to. However, small changes to your diet could have big results on your body’s ability to better regulate blood sugar levels.
Resistant starch found in potatoes and beans only get broken down in your body in the large intestine. This is great for it prevents the raising of blood glucose levels in your body. As an added bonus, they also help in the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Resistant starch is filled with fibre, which makes them great for keeping you full for a longer period of time. Adding resistant starch to your diet will mean you are less likely to consume food high on the glycemic index throughout the day, resulting in better glycemic control.
26) Record Your Blood Sugar Levels
Simply keep a diary and measure your blood sugar levels and record them to better understand your condition.
It enables you to keep a track of how your meals affect your blood glucose levels. Maintaining a fitness diary and recording your blood sugar levels on it will enable you to identify gaps and holes in your meal plan. It will help you better understand how certain foods react to your condition.
You should try to measure your blood sugar levels every day and keep a log for further analysis.
27) Try Berberine
Berberine is the active ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine which has been used to treat diabetes.
Berberine works to effectively break down carbohydrates to produce energy. This effective breakdown facilitated by Berberine enables you to better regulate your blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that Berberine helped lower blood sugar levels.
Considered as effective as blood-sugar-lowering drugs, Berberine is a great natural remedy for those looking for holistic means of treating diabetes.
Insulin Herb offers a Berberine supplement which has been rightfully labelled the ‘ayurvedic miracle plant.’ If you are looking for a natural means to stabilise and regulate your blood glucose levels, follow the link to their website.
Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
With everything on this list, we worked to provide you with a comprehensive look into what you can incorporate into your life to better regulate your blood sugar levels naturally. Sure there would be lifestyle changes you will have to make. However, if you incorporate the elements mentioned within this post, you will realise that your blood sugar levels are better regulated.
If you are diabetic, you should consider incorporating all the elements mentioned within the post; do all 27 things as mentioned and log your results in your fitness diary as you go along. Do what it takes to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal.
We hope that this list of natural blood sugar level regulation techniques was useful for you and that you enjoyed reading this word to word.