Insulin is a very powerful hormone that allows cells to absorb glucose (a sugar-dependent energy source) from foods consumed. Insulin resistance prevents cells from using insulin effectively. Or in the case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce any insulin at all. This lack of insulin raises blood sugar levels and makes them higher than they should be. As a result, a person may be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and other chronic health problems. The best way to control insulin resistance is to regulate your blood sugar daily with every meal. A healthy insulin-resistant diet is not about cutting out a particular food group. Instead, it requires choosing the right foods from each food group that help keep your blood sugar under control. However, every individual is different. So there is no fixed diet plan to reduce insulin resistance. For example, your ability to metabolize fruit may differ from that of someone else. Hence, it is best to understand the basics of the insulin resistant diet and plan a customized meal plan.
Insulin resistance and diet
Insulin resistance occurs when your body no longer responds to insulin in an optimal way. What you eat determines your level of insulin resistance. A study showed that modern eating habits of increasing the number of animal foods while reducing plant foods lead to insulin resistance.
Different foods show varying effects on insulin resistance. For example, foods with a high glycemic index, often known as foods with a high GI, rapidly increase blood sugar and stimulate the release of a large amount of insulin. Over time, the body becomes less sensitive to this extra insulin. Therefore, it is best to customize a meal plan that can control your insulin resistance and give you adequate nutrition to reach your healthy blood sugar and weight management goals. They primarily include foods that digest slowly and help you feel full for longer.
The insulin resistance diet: what to eat
The insulin resistance diet plan is not too restrictive. It’s all about eating foods that generally drop on the GI scale. Of course, you can still enjoy some dairy, but many types of cheese, sweetened yogurt, and animal milk contain saturated fat. So it is better to be careful.
Here are some foods from different food groups that you can add to your meal plan.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, radish, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onion.
- the fruit: Strawberry, blueberry, orange, cantaloupe, apple, and grape.
- Beans and legumes: Lentils, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lima beans.
- Lean protein: Salmon, tuna, sardines, skinless chicken breast, egg whites, tofu, tempeh, nutritional yeast, and white turkey.
- healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, nuts such as almonds and cashews, walnuts and seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and peanut butter
- All grains: Brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, oats, and millet.
- dairy: Low-fat cheese, unsweetened yogurt, plant-based milk, and other products rich in calcium and protein.
Understanding and monitoring the GI values of different foods can help you make smart eating and buying decisions about an insulin-resistant diet. Moreover, be aware that whole fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber, which keeps your blood sugar balanced and satiated for longer. Also try replacing saturated fats with healthy fats, such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Foods to avoid in an insulin-resistant diet
While eating healthy foods to control insulin resistance, it is also important to cut back on certain foods that increase the risk of a sugar spike. some of them
- Refined grains: White rice, white bread, cakes, muffins, biscuits, pasta and flour.
- protein: Red meat, high-sodium meats, fried fish, and processed meats that are high in saturated fat and sodium.
- dairy: Full fat milk, full fat cottage cheese, ice cream.
- Fruits and vegetables: Canned fruits, pickles, fruit juices, dried fruits, sugar syrups, jellies and jams.
- Trans fats and sugars: French fries, pretzels, butter, mayonnaise, chips, donut, and cake.
It is necessary to reduce processed foods to control insulin resistance. You should try to limit sugary drinks, grains, refined grains such as white rice and white bread, and snacks such as chips and baked goods. Focusing on the quality of the foods you eat rather than the quantity can help reduce the risk of insulin resistance.
The reference diet plan for insulin resistance
An insulin-resistant diet does not necessarily require the addition of any special foods to combat insulin resistance. Instead, focus only on eating less unhealthy fats, sugar, red meat, and processed starches. Below is a sample meal plan for an insulin resistant diet.
- breakfast: 2 egg white omelettes + 1 slice of whole wheat bread + 1 tablespoon peanut butter + 1 small cup of low-fat milk.
- Midday meal: 1 medium-sized fruit (excluding fruits such as ripe bananas, mangoes and jackfruit)
- lunch: Pulao greens, shredded soy curry, and low fat curd.
- Evening snacks: 1 cup of green tea and 2 nuts.
- Dinner: 2 Roti beans with vegetable curry and cucumber salad.
Please note: This is just a reference meal plan and may not work for everyone as everyone’s needs are different. Hence, it is best to consult a nutritionist for a customized meal plan.
Exercise tips to improve insulin sensitivity
Diet and exercise are vital factors for increasing insulin sensitivity. Here are some exercise tips that you can include in your routine.
Avoid sitting for long periods
Set the timer and get up every 50 minutes between your work. Climb the stairs a few times or do push-ups. It will improve your insulin levels.
Running fast can deplete the carbohydrates stored in your muscles. However, as a vigorous exercise position, it will improve your metabolic adaptations and improve your blood glucose responses. Ultimately, it will eventually enhance insulin sensitivity.
If you prefer to walk, introduce it as a daily habit. Start with 30 minutes a day, and divide it into two sessions. Walking after meals significantly improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and weight loss.
the most the best
Incorporating a wide range of intense physical exercise is best for reducing the impact of insulin resistance. For example, try pairing a week’s HIIT session and follow 2-3 weight training sessions with walking the following week.
Lift heavy things
Weight training can improve insulin sensitivity by allowing glucose to move from the bloodstream into the muscles. Start with some push-ups and chin-ups. Then switch to dumbbells and follow weighted lunges, squats, and more.
Ways to reverse insulin resistance
Small lifestyle modifications can go a long way in managing insulin resistance.
Regular physical activity will help your body balance blood glucose levels in a better way. High-intensity training is particularly effective in reversing insulin resistance.
shed excess weight
Excess fat, especially around the waist area, is one of the main causes of insulin resistance. Additionally, belly fat produces hormones that cause inflammation, which can lead to insulin resistance. And then make sure to lose some weight by following a routine exercise regime and a balanced diet.
Pay attention to the appointments
Eating more nutrient-rich foods in the first half of the day helps improve insulin resistance. Next, make a healthy mix of carbs, protein, and fats to keep your body fully functioning and active throughout the day.
Stick to a balanced diet
Research shows that a nutrition-heavy diet with vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, high-fiber products, dairy products, and healthy fats will positively affect insulin resistance.
The insulin-resistant diet is about following the basic principles of healthy eating. After following the insulin resistance diet doesn’t mean you have to worry about missing out on delicious foods or not eating enough. Instead, make sure you’re eating plenty of high-fiber, plant-based foods. Also, avoid simple carbohydrates in the morning and afternoon, as these are the times of the day that are prone to insulin spikes. In addition to a balanced diet, it is necessary to exercise and take medication correctly. Even taking a walk after a meal or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make all the difference.