Worried about your pancreatic health? Do you know that the number of people having diabetes rose from 108 million to 422 million from 1980 to 2014? A tremendous rise in the number of patients, right?
Here’s another cause of worry for you because, as per the World Health Organisation, approximately 2 million people die from diabetes globally. So, you must realize that despite being a non-communicable disease, diabetes has engulfed millions of people in its clutches.
But don’t panic because diabetes is the last episode that your body will show you. Your body initially becomes insulin resistant, then phases into being pre-diabetic, and then moves into the treacherous part i.e. Type 2 Diabetes. It applies unless you are born insulin deficient.
This blog will bring the various aspects of the insulin resistance diet into the limelight. So stay tuned.
Our body has a natural process of coping with everything that enters our body, and the same is the case with our favorite, sweet little sugar. The human body produces insulin, which is responsible for helping the body cells to absorb the sugar in the form of glucose from the blood. So the core function of insulin is to balance the excess sugar level in our bloodstream.
Why is the Question of Insulin Resistance Diet so Important?
The problem starts when our body becomes insulin resistant due to a sedentary lifestyle or excessive sugar consumption. This means that the cells trigger no reaction in response to the insulin produced. As a result of cells becoming tolerant to the effects of insulin, the excess glucose starts piling up in the bloodstream. This is where things turn out to be problematic.
Symptoms and Long-Term Effects of Insulin Resistance
Although the symptoms vary from person to person, many people have reported symptoms like excessive body hair, irregular menstrual cycle, or unusual dark patches on the skin. This might not be the end because if this prolongs over a long period, it may lead to complications like coronary diseases, fatty liver disease, PCOS, and even type 2 diabetes.
It might also lead to metabolic syndrome, which, is characterized by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and glucose levels or excess body fat around the waist. People in this internet age regard it as troublesome because of these reasons.
Looking at the Broader Picture
Before switching to a very complex and strict diet for curing insulin resistance in your body, follow these basic mantras to feel the magic. Follow them rigorously to get that multiplier effect:-
1. Focus on Quality Rather Than Quantity
This aspect requires you to be more cautious of the food you intake in terms of its calorie content. So try to get the best mix of all the delicacies healthily. For instance, you can reduce your intake of white rice and can rather go for whole grain. If you are habitual in eating them, then slowly start eliminating them and go for healthy substitutes.
This is your best bet because by keeping a check on your food intake, you’re keeping a count of your calorie intake. Achieving this feat is a major roadblock for many people.
2. Don’t Skip Meals
This is one of the stupidest pieces of advice you would give to yourself or take from anybody. It is a big myth that by skipping meals, your body burns those extra calories, which will lower your glucose levels indirectly.
Skipping meals slows down the body’s rate of metabolism thus reducing the speed with which your body burns those calories. Moreover, by doing so, you end up creating volatility in the insulin levels in the body which may backfire very strongly.
3. Focus on Your Macros
Keeping your macros right can solve a big chunk of your problem. Macros include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These are characterized as macronutrients because they form a large part of our diet. They are also referred to as energy-giving foods.
So, if you’re able to control your macros then you are ensuring that your body is not getting excess of what is needed. A doubt may arise that how can you determine the right proportion of these essential nutrients. Well, there’s no hard and fast rule about this as it depends on your current health condition, body weight and many other factors. You should consult a doctor about the same.
4. Avoid Those Fizzy drinks
If your body is insulin resistant, then consumption of sweet carbonated drinks and sodas can be the worst mistake in your entire life. These aerated beverages are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners which have the potency to worsen your condition. For an individual battling with insulin resistance, defining these as “SWEET POISON” would be the best.
5. Emphasis on Creating Habits
There’s no motivation as big as discipline. Discipline comes from building habits. So when you embark on your journey to fight insulin resistance, start with baby steps.
For example, if you love drinking sodas, you can switch to drinking less sugary sodas or reducing your weekly intake of sodas. Building habits will take time, but you’ll adapt to the new pattern. Your body will thank you.
Even if you’re not liking the taste of certain things, then make things make work for you. Don’t follow any of the suggested diet plans over the web. Create your diet plan according to what suits your taste buds but always keep the bigger picture in mind.
So utilize your freedom and mix up different food combinations to get the best out of them.
6. Reach Out for Resistant Starches
You might be surprised by this recommendation, but resistant starches can be very beneficial in countering insulin resistance. This is because these foods trigger fermentation in your large intestine which fosters the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Besides, having a positive impact on your gut health, these foods make you feel fuller.
This might sound stupid, but it’s proven that once you’re full, you have reduced food cravings. It is a boon for insulin-resistant patients as it reduces the possibility of them munching on junk foods or eating anything to satisfy hunger. Oats, chickpeas, cassava, and peas are unique options.
7. Do Mindful Shopping
As a bonus tip, try skipping the middle section of the supermarket or any grocery store that you visit for shopping. It’s because these stores place all the essentials at different corners and fill their racks with all sorts of sweet, flavored junk food which have a higher glycaemic index.
This can be the worst temptation that you might encounter outside your house. So avoid purchasing any sort of such stuff, or else you may tarnish all your efforts.
Avoid processed food as much as you can. The reason behind this is that they’re loaded with Saturated and Trans fats which can make your body more insulin resistant. These food items are usually fried into hydrogenated oils, which contain bad cholesterol and are bad for your heart health.
What Should You Munch on?
Everyone responds differently to the different food available. There’s no magic formula following which you can achieve your insulin resistance targets, but there are a few steps that you should follow to shield your body against the menace of insulin resistance.
Remember how we, as kids loved fruits? Okay, we all had our favorites, but do you remember our mothers running behind us, persuading us to eat more fruits? That was for a reason. It was because fruits are packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals and are the best source of natural sugars. Refrain from fruits that are packed or have syrup added on the top. These may serve different purposes.
Natural sugars are a far better alternative than compared to artificial sugars, which come with empty calories. You can add fruits to your diet to subdue your craving for eating something sweet.
Simply add fresh fruits of your choice to a low-fat yogurt and enjoy the delicacy of a fruity dessert. Avoid fruit juices and try to eat fruits in their raw form.
But as a note of caution, don’t jump on any fruit available. Some fruits have a higher value on the glycemic index, so consider only those that can benefit you.
Berries, apples, peaches, pears, and grapes can be a few excellent options but don’t go with fruits like bananas and watermelon, as they have a higher glycemic value. Also, keep in mind that fruits also contain carbohydrates. So try to strike a balance between them.
I wish we had a common saying for vegetables just like the apple. It’s because of the tremendous value that they hold in our lives. Vegetables are, by default, low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber.
Moreover, they are packed with some of the vital nutrients that play a major role in maintaining the healthy functioning of the body. Some veggies also contain compounds like polyphenols which help in detoxifying the body as they are rich in antioxidants.
Always go for fresh vegetables and try avoiding canned vegetables. In case of an emergency with no alternative available, you can buy canned vegetables but they should not contain salt as the preservative.
Some of the healthy options are tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, green leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach, and cauliflower, or green beans and broccoli are the most popular options for you to consider.
If you want a little flavor in these boring vegetables, you can add these veggies to a bowl, add a dash of lemon and enjoy your vegetable salad. Also, note that vegetable juice is not as fruitful as having these vegetables in their raw form. Vegetable juice loses its fiber content, so you do not feel fuller.
3. Lean Sources of Protein
By hearing the word protein, you may be tempted to have chicken or red meat, known for its protein content. But do note that these sources of protein contain a high amount of sodium and saturated fat.
So they may not be an ideal choice for you. Rather than consuming these, you can go for options like salmon, tuna, sardines, skinless chicken breasts, lima beans, and egg whites.
Vegetarian fans need not go hungry because I also have options for them. They can eat tofu and soybean as their lean sources of protein. Lean sources imply that the protein content in the food is high while the fat content is low.
However, don’t push for excess of these especially when your body is insulin resistant. Limit their intake to a maximum of once or twice a week.
Nothing is more readily available in your kitchen in comparison to beans and legumes. Forget about insulin resistance because it’s very beneficial for your body. You’ll be surprised to know that researchers classify legumes like green gram as superfoods. Because of their nutritional value, they’ve been flagged so by the experts.
Lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and red beans are some sources that are excellent sources of fiber and have proven effective in improving insulin sensitivity in the cells. In addition to that, they don’t cause a sudden spike in the blood sugar level, making them a guilt-free option.
5. Healthy fats
You cannot ignore the fats from your diet because apart from giving energy to the body, they have a much larger role in hormone production and vitamin synthesis. Some healthy fats like PUFA and omega-3 are excellent for your health.
You can therefore include avocados and dry fruits like almonds in your diet. You can also change your cooking oil to olive oil because of their proven results in promoting weight loss and triggering insulin sensitivity.
Although the trend of people switching to veganism is gaining popularity, products like cheese, milk, and yogurt are outstanding sources of calcium and magnesium. Since our childhood, our mothers used to force us to drink milk. It was because of these nutritional benefits that our body needed in its growing stages.
However, this is not a green signal for dairy products. Milk, for example, contains lactose, a natural sugar that negatively impacts blood glucose levels. In addition to that, some people are lactose intolerant. So dairy products are a strict no. Even if you’re going for milk, make sure it’s low-fat.
7. Time to Switch to Whole Grains
Your body will thank you for this healthy move. Whole grains are a form of complex carbohydrates that do not accelerate your blood sugar at once. They help in making the cells sensitive to insulin while keeping you fuller. Whole grains are suggested by many experts because they are unprocessed, unlike refined grains.
People avoid carbs because of the fear that they may impact their health, but whole grains can be guilt-free to consider. Moreover, these grains are also rich in fiber content, which improves your bowel movement. So it’s a complete win-win for you.
Whole wheat, oat, cornmeal barley, brown rice, and millet are among the easily available sources of whole grains.
There is no perfect combination of these suggested alternatives for overcoming insulin resistance in your body. Excess of any of these can be very detrimental to your health. Try to strike a proper balance between them rather than punishing yourself by following a next-to-impossible diet.
Being insulin resistant doesn’t mean that you are suffering from diabetes. You should try to positively cope with it and include some aerobic exercises in your fitness regime. By doing so, you are not only adding to your present but also contributing to your future.
You can read more about insulin and diabetes here.
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