You’ve probably been immersed in the health & fitness world for quite some time, so the word “insulin resistance” might have popped up some time. But you still don’t have a handle to what it really is. Let me help you in that area.
Why Do You Need Insulin?
Insulin is simply a hormone. They are the body’s “messengers” that convey and respond to hunger pangs, reproduction needs, even emotions. We have a myriad of hormones in the body, and these usually have overlapping functions.
Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas, an organ which is part of our endocrine system. Its main responsibility is to regulate our blood sugar.
When we eat any form of sugar, that sugar is broken down into glucose. Now sweet foods do not necessarily mean it is high in sugar. Flavor is secondary to the composition of the food, so something that we deem as sweet may not necessarily be high in sugar.
Some of the foods that naturally gets broken down into glucose in the body are the following:
- Simple carbohydrates: pasta, crackers, bread, cereals, etc.
- Desserts: cookies, candy, pies, cakes, ice cream, dried fruit, etc.
- Complex carbohydrates: corn, oats, cassava, brown & wild rice, quinoa, plantains, turnips, squashes, sprouted wheat, etc.
- Sweet drinks: soda, juices, Gatorade, creamers, Kool-Aid, etc.
- Fiber-rich foods: most vegetables, peas, most fruits, legumes, beans
Once the foods above and others get simplified into glucose molecules – what we call blood sugar – they are escorted by our “insulin” to the liver and muscle cells where they are stored as a form of energy. This form of energy is what we call glycogen.
Now, if we consume in excess these sugar-based foods that need to break down into glucose, then we put ourselves in a state of “insulin resistance”.
Getting a Handle on Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is not a disease. It’s a state wherein insulin and glucose do not work harmoniously together to manage your blood sugar levels.
When you over-consume sugars or carbohydrates, there comes a time when your body cannot handle it, and in that sense, we consider the body has desensitized to the situation. This results in a negative outcome.
To illustrate what happens to the body during a state of insulin resistance, here is the flow:
- Eat too many carbs or sugar leads to
- Constant elevated levels of insulin leads to
- Raised levels of serotonin leads to
- Raised levels of dopamine (creating a state of experiencing temporary levels of pleasure typical when eating something sweet like your fav cupcakes or chocolates) lead to
- Sugar cravings plus carbo cravings lead to
- Wild blood sugar highs and lows
And the cycle repeats over and over again.
The cycle continues and the tendency would crave for all those foods that bring you pleasure, mostly sugary and carbo-filled. Eventually, the body will reach its threshold in which case the insulin will not work as it’s supposed to. This state is what we call “insulin resistance”. When that excess glucose cannot be stored up in the liver or muscle cells anymore, it gets deposited somewhere around your body as “fat”.
When your body cannot maintain the insulin, your metabolism slows down and you tend to gain weight. So now you know that to maintain a healthy weight, one must maintain normal insulin levels.
Some Signs that Your Blood Sugar is Imbalanced
So you have to go on preventive mode. Here are some signs and symptoms that you have high blood sugar, and potentially, insulin resistance:
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Hunger pangs
- Eating every 2-3 hours
- Sugar cravings
- PCOS, Irregular Periods, Infertility issues, or ovarian cysts
- A waist larger than 35 centimeters (women) or 40 centimeters (men)
- A fasting insulin level above 5
How to manage all these and restore your insulin to normal levels. Read on.
How to Reverse Insulin Resistance
There are many tactics to reverse insulin resistance and normalize your blood sugar. But so far, these are the quickest and best ways you can implement right away:
Eat More of the Good Fats and Slow-Burning Carbohydrates
Eat more healthy fats (more of that later) and reduce your intake of processed foods and sugars because these may trigger a candida epidemic. Instead, eat more healthy fats and slow-burning carbohydrates. Kindly study the list below:
- Eggs yolks (pasture-raised, organically fed)
- Bone Broth
- Coconut Oil
- Bacon (pasture raised, organically fed)
- MCT oil
- Butter (grass-fed)
- Seeds/sprouted nuts/seed butter
- Salmon (wild, not commercially raised)
- Sweet potatoes
- Sprouted black rice (organic)
- Wild rice (organic)
- Properly soaked/sprouted chickpeas, adzuki beans, or lentils
Exercise or Just Start Moving
Just start moving, even though you don’t even sign up for a gym course. About 20-30 minutes of constant low or medium-impact exercise per day will do wonders for your health. A brisk walk around the block for 20 minutes every day will do your body good and prevent you from gaining weight. These exercises will help manage your blood sugar and improve your insulin sensitivity.
Take Supplements that Alleviate your Glucose levels
If you currently have diabetes or are just moving out of a diet that has been very high in processed sugars and foods, you will need a little extra help in the management department. Sugar cravings normally go with gut issues such as a leaky gut and candida infections. You need to manage your sugar cravings and blood sugar using these –
- Cinnamon – taking in cinnamon helps manage your insulin and increases glucose metabolism. Try making some cinnamon tea with a bit of lemon.
- Bone Broth – rich in glycine and collagen, bone broth helps in healing and managing a “leaky gut”. Bone broth is something that we need to raise the immune system in our body.
- L-glutamine – an amino acid that quickly makes its way to the brain and becomes a quick source of energy
Following all the tips above will help you reverse your insulin resistance in no time. But the time to start is now.