Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas. It promotes absorption of blood sugar into the cells (fat, liver and muscle cells). When blood sugar levels spike, the body reacts by secreting insulin to lower them.
Someone is considered insulin sensitive when their body requires small amounts of insulin to absorb blood sugar. And someone who is insulin resistant requires lots of insulin to absorb blood sugar.
Insulin resistance increases blood sugar levels and prevents cells from absorbing glucose. As time passes, this can damage your cells and cause type II diabetes.
To prevent this from happening, you need to improve your insulin sensitivity. Here are the most effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity.
Add cinnamon into your diet
You probably know that this delicious spice has many health benefits. But do you know that cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity? According to research, cinnamon improves absorption of glucose into the cells.
As we’ll see later, being overweight reduces insulin sensitivity. Well, this study found that cinnamon can increase muscle mass and reduce body fat without exercise.
Do more cardio
Cardio can improve insulin sensitivity and increase absorption of blood sugar into the cells. According to this study, insulin sensitivity can improve in 3-5 days if you perform cardio for 25-60 minutes each day. To experience permanent benefits, you need to perform cardio long-term.
Lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises can make your cells more responsive to insulin, research shows. In fact, strength training can improve insulin sensitivity even if you don’t lose weight.
Research has linked excess belly fat to low insulin sensitivity. But since spot reduction is not possible, you need to lose overall weight to reduce belly fat.
Balance omega 3 and omega 6 ratio
Omega-3s are good for your health and brain. But high omega-6 intake has been linked to inflammation. A ratio of 5:1 (or lower) of omega-6 to 3 will help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce risk of chronic diseases. Note that the average American’s omega-6 to 3 ratio is 20:1 or higher.
Increase fiber intake
Increasing intake of soluble fiber reduces insulin resistance, studies show. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oatmeal, oranges, Brussels sprouts, legumes and flaxseeds. It’s also worth noting that these foods benefit gut health.
Drink green tea
Diabetics and pre-diabetes can benefit from drinking green tea regularly. Studies show that green tea regulates blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity. These benefits are attributed to epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant found in green tea.
Increase magnesium intake
Magnesium is one of the most vital nutrients. You might end up feeling depressed if you don’t consume adequate amounts of this nutrient. It turns out magnesium intake also reduces insulin resistance.
Best magnesium sources include dark chocolate, spinach (leafy greens), nuts, fish and seeds.
Reduce sugar intake
Eating sugar or foods with added sugar can lead to insulin resistance. Every time you eat sugar, blood sugar spikes. In return, the body has to produce more insulin to regulate blood sugar. With time the pancreas can’t keep up with the blood sugar spikes, which results to high blood sugar levels. And this opens the door for diabetes and other diseases.
Reduce intake of processed foods and calorie-containing beverages.
Don’t eat trans fats
We all know that trans fats are unhealthy. Well, science has also linked them to insulin resistance. According to this study, trans fats cause insulin resistance. Avoid all foods with trans fats.