Insulin has been a popular hormone recently in this post and this one. I keep talking about this because it is so important. There is a big focus on sugar, but the real problem is what sugar does to insulin. Insulin resistance and diabetes are big problems in our culture today. In 2014, the CDC reported that 29.1 million people have diabetes and 8.1 million of those people are still undiagnosed.(1) 1.7 million adults were diagnosed in 2012 alone.
Insulin resistance occurs when more and more insulin is needed to “unlock” the glucose channel seen above. The insulin receptor is no longer as sensitive to the insulin.
Don’t let yourself become part of the statistic. Here are a few natural ways to prevent diabetes and improve your health:
- Eat only 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack. This goes against contrary beliefs that we need to eat least 6 meals per day, I get it. But, how does that make sense when you look at it from an insulin’s point of view? Every time you eat a carbohydrate/sugar, insulin increases and your body goes into a “fat storage” mode. So do you want to do that 4 times per day or 6 times? I’ll let you be the judge!
- Do not eat past 7 PM. I mean who hasn’t heard this? This will help improve your sleep too.
- Eat your carbohydrates earlier in the day.
- Exercise – Studies show that even if you do not lose weight, exercising will still improve insulin resistance. The longer you exercise, the more sensitive your insulin becomes at a moderate-to-vigorous pace. Work up to this if you are just beginning an exercise program. (2)
- Limit or avoid processed foods – this includes chips, candy, crackers, pasta, baked goods, bread, and even processed meats. Opt for foods like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, steel-cut oats, free range chickens, grass-fed beef, and more and more veggies.
- Sleep at least 7 hours per night – even just 1 night of sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance! (3)
- Manage your stress – if we can’t avoid stress, then we need to learn how to deal with stress. This means developing healthy coping mechanisms. Make it a habit by practicing when you are not feeling stressed. Create a list of 10 things you can do – reading, going for a walk, taking a bath, mediation, grabbing coffee with a friend, writing, painting, reflect on what you are grateful for, stop to breathe and refocus for 5 minutes, yoga, exercise. What is on your list?
If you are unsure if you have insulin resistance or diabetes or you are struggling to control your blood sugars, Dr. Katie can help. She uses natural treatments for insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. You do not need to do this alone.
Dr. Katie practices in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota helping families restore their health with integrative treatments.