Dietary Influence on Insulin sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body regulate the amount of sugar in the blood, often known as glucose.
Insulin sensitivity is the degree to which the body’s cells respond to insulin. High insulin sensitivity permits the body’s cells to better utilise blood glucose, lowering blood sugar levels. Some dietary and lifestyle adjustments may aid in the improvement of this sensitivity.
Insulin resistance is defined as a lack of insulin sensitivity. The cells absorb less glucose, resulting in high blood sugar levels. This can lead to type 2 diabetes if not managed properly.
Research has shown that insulin resistance can either cause or increase complications in a number of disorders. Some of these include: type 2 diabetes, weight gain, infertility due to polycystic ovarian disease, acne especially during puberty, etc.
Insulin sensitivity differs from person to person and can be influenced by lifestyle and dietary factors.
Some research suggests that making certain dietary changes could increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance.
Fewer refined carbohydrate
Including more whole grains in the diet instead of refined foods, decreased consumption of fast foods, restriction of sugars; all improve insulin sensitivity.
Soluble fibre comes from plants and is a form of dietary fibre. Although this fibre is a carbohydrate, the body is unable to fully digest it. As a result, it does not cause blood glucose levels to rise.
Soluble fibre also slows down gastric emptying, the time it takes for food to exit the stomach and enter the small intestine. According to research, this wait may assist persons with type 2 diabetes lower their blood glucose levels after meals.
In addition to changing the foods in their diet, people looking to increase their insulin sensitivity may benefit from taking dietary supplements:
Avoiding red or processed meats
The iron in red meat may increase oxidative stress and increase insulin resistance. High levels of amino acids found in red meats may interfere with the normal metabolism of blood sugar, which can promote insulin resistance.
Including variety of grains
The addition of different grains like quinoa, millets, buckwheat, etc, increases not just the consumption of fibre but also if other micronutrients like magnesium, etc. These in turn are associated with increase in insulin sensitivity.
Probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids
Taking probiotics or omega-3 fatty acid supplements may improve insulin sensitivity in people who are overweight.
A 2014 clinical trial investigated the effects of both omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics on insulin sensitivity in 60 adults who were overweight but otherwise healthy.
The researchers reported that taking either a probiotic or omega-3 supplement for 6 weeks led to significant improvements in insulin sensitivity when compared to a placebo.
The increase in insulin sensitivity was even greater in people who took both supplements together.
Magnesium supplements may also be beneficial for people wanting to improve their insulin sensitivity.
A 2016 systematic review found that taking magnesium supplements for more than 4 months significantly improved insulin resistance in people with and without diabetes.
It aids in the storage of sugar in the muscles and produces an immediate improvement in insulin sensitivity that lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the workout.
One study demonstrated that cycling on a machine at a moderate tempo for 60 minutes boosted insulin sensitivity in healthy individuals over 48 hours.
The ability of your body to manage blood sugar is influenced by stress. It boosts the synthesis of stress hormones like cortisol and glucagon, causing the body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode.
Glycogen, a type of stored sugar, is broken down by these hormones into glucose, which enters your bloodstream and is used by your body as a rapid source of energy.
Unfortunately, chronic stress raises the levels of these hormone, which promotes nutritional breakdown and raises blood sugar levels.
Getting enough sleep
Getting extra sleep can help with insulin sensitivity as well. In a 2015 study, 16 healthy persons who were not getting enough sleep increased their sleep by one hour each day over the course of six weeks. Insulin sensitivity improved as a result of the extra sleep.
Insulin sensitivity is linked to the development of various disorders. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet rich in unsaturated fats and soluble fibre may help persons with and without diabetes increase insulin sensitivity.
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