What Is Insulin Resistance?
To answer this question, let me first tell you about insulin and its importance. Insulin, a hormone, is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas when you consume food. Food is broken down into glucose, which raises blood glucose levels.
Insulin helps carry glucose (or sugar) to the muscles and liver cells, where glucose is broken down into a usable source of energy. Energy is used to perform various day-to-day functions, like breathing, digesting food, walking, dancing, batting eyelids, typing, and sleeping.
Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. It can also happen when you binge eat and follow a sedentary lifestyle. Over the years, the high amount of glucose and insulin circulating in the bloodstream make your cells unresponsive to insulin. As a result, your body becomes insulin resistant.
In a nutshell, insulin resistance is a condition in which your cells stop recognizing insulin molecules. This results in high blood sugar and diabetes. Before you blame your genes for being insulin resistant, take a look at the various reasons you might be insulin resistant.
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance may be caused due to the following reasons:
- Following a sedentary lifestyle
- Inability to sleep properly
- High stress and depression
- High body fat
- Not controlling portions
- Consuming too many junk foods
- Not consuming enough dietary fiber
- Not working out regularly
- Using steroids
- Consuming a lot of alcohol
- Faulty genes
How can you know if you are insulin resistant? Well, you must take the Insulin Resistance test. You will also notice the following symptoms.
Insulin Resistance Symptoms
Common symptoms of insulin resistance are:
- You gain weight suddenly.
- You feel hungry all the time.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have high triglyceride levels in your blood.
- You have irregular periods.
- You feel depressed or anxious.
- You feel the urge to use the washroom frequently.
- You have a tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
- You feel tired all the time.
- You are more prone to infections.
If these are some of the symptoms that you can identify with, I suggest you get the blood work done and see if you are insulin resistant.
Insulin Resistance Diet – Foods List
The insulin resistance diet is a dietary approach to help reduce the symptoms and health risks of being resistant to insulin. Here are the foods you must include in your diet to improve your body’s response to insulin:
- Veggies: Bottle Gourd, Bitter Gourd, Spinach, Kale, Radish Greens, Malabar Spinach, Arugula, Egg Plant, Carrot, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, Bok Choy, Scallions, Chinese Cabbage, Cabbage, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Rhubarb, Radish, and Collard Greens
- Fruits: Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries Goji Berries, Avocado, Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, Muskmelon, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Orange, Tangerine, Pluot, Apple Berries, Gooseberries, Pears, Apples, Dragon Fruit, and Sweet Lime
- Protein: Skinless Chicken Breast, Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon, Haddock, Sardine, Eggs, Beans & Legumes, Tofu, Soy Milk, and Soya Chunks.
- Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Sorghum, Barley, Oats, Amaranth, Quinoa, Buckwheat, and Wheat
- Dairy: Homemade Ricotta Cheese, Full-fat Milk, Cottage Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Full-fat Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Low-sugar Frozen Yogurt
- Fats & Oils: Ghee, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Rice Pran Oil, Almond Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter, and Flaxseed Butter
- Seeds & Nuts: Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Pepita, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine nuts
- Herbs & Spices: Cilantro, Basil, Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Dill, Bay Leaves, Coriander, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Saffron, Mace, Nutmeg, Turmeric, Ginger, Onion, Garlic, Chilli Flakes, Green Chili, Cumin, Dried Herbs, and Nigella Seeds
- Beverages: Water, Detox Water, Fenugreek Seeds Soaked Water, Low Sodium Buttermilk, Green Tea, Herbal Tea, Black Coffee, and Freshly Pressed Juice or Vegetable Juice
Consume these foods on a daily basis to see amazing results.
How Can This Diet Help You?
The insulin resistance diet will help you in the following ways:
- High In Dietary Fiber – The foods mentioned in the list are high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps in bulking up the stool, improves bowel movement, forms a gel-like substance in the stomach, thereby making you feel full for a long duration. It also aids the growth of different good gut microbes, which improve digestion and alleviate recurring constipation.
- Boosts Metabolism – The dietary fiber in the foods helps boost metabolism by increasing the number and variety of good gut bacteria that aid digestion. Dietary fiber also helps in stomach emptying, which also kickstarts metabolism.
- Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties – Fresh, green veggies, fruits, herbs, spices, protein sources, and healthy fats are loaded with macronutrients (complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and other trace nutrients). The micronutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These help to reduce inflammation and stress in the body, thereby helping you lose weight, specifically, belly fat.
- Increases Insulin Sensitivity – When you consume veggies, fruits, and other healthy foods regularly, your body will start to function normally in about two weeks. Your hunger will reduce (as the dietary fiber will keep you full for long duration), stress levels will come down, and your cells will start responding to insulin better. As a result, your body will switch to the fat-burning mode.
- Weight Loss – When your body switches to the fat-burning mode, you will start to burn fat and get rid of the excess flab.
All this can get stalled if you keep eating foods that are unhealthy and harmful.
Foods To Avoid
- Deep fried foods
- Frozen foods
- Ready-to-eat foods
- Canned veggies and meat
- Packaged drinks
Other Useful Tips
- Soak two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in water overnight and consume a glass of this water first thing in the morning.
- Consume 3-4 cups of green tea per day.
- Consume a source of protein with every meal.
- Toss out or donate all the junk food you have in your kitchen.
- Do not avoid healthy fats as they help lower stress and inflammation in the body.
- Do not skip meals.
- Exercise regularly. Do what interests you and is convenient for you.
- Meditate for at least 5 minutes every day.
- Avoid late night snacking.
- Have dinner at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
- Go for regular check-ups and seek help when you need it.
Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes and many other life-threatening diseases. Start taking care of your diet and lifestyle. Slowly integrate good habits into your daily routine, and you will start experiencing the good effects soon. You will feel better, sleep better, and be more energetic and active than ever. Go ahead and make your life better.