Insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes and diabetes if you don’t change what you eat and drink, and generally how you live. Statistics indicate that by 2050, 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes; hence the need to curb insulin resistance.
An insulin resistance diet is one way of fighting this condition.
How Insulin Resistance Happens
The food we eat is broken down into sugar for energy. This sugar gets into the blood stream to be transported to your muscle cells, where it’s used. At this point, insulin plays a critical role to maintain optimum blood sugar levels.
Unfortunately, insulin resistance may occur if blood sugar levels are too high and cells are prevented from responding to insulin.
This typically occurs when the body has too much fat, especially belly fat
Surprisingly, even people who aren’t overweight can suffer from insulin resistance.
General Guideline on What and How You Should Eat
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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases advices those affected by insulin resistance to lose weight by eating healthy foods and controlling portions.
Here’s a basic understanding of what types of foods to eat and why.
Your key fuel source. Research shows that you’d rather consume whole grains (brown rice, corn, and oatmeal) instead of refined carbohydrates. Nonetheless, if refined carbs is the only available option, strictly observe your portions.
High fiber foods include beans, legumes, avocado, chia seed and peas. They are beneficial since they raise blood sugar levels gradually.
To counter insulin resistance, take at least three to five servings a week of eggs, lentils, chicken (without the skin), and fish.
Trans-palmitoleic acid found in milk, cheese and butter might minimize the risk of insulin resistance. At least two to three servings are sufficient per day. For those who don’t take dairy, try soy milk.
These are high in fiber and low in calories; hence, great for blood sugar management. They include tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, spinach, kale and plenty more to choose from. Your diet should have three to five servings a day.
Fruits are the favorite type of food for most people. To get the best out of this type of food, go for those with high fiber such as bananas, grapes, apples, berries and peaches. But remember, fruit juices – just like sodas – increase blood sugar levels.
Walnuts and flax seeds have healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Although healthy, nuts are high in calories, so should be taken in small portions.
Your diet should include all these foods. In addition, take plenty of water, cut back on salt and include spices.
Insulin Resistance Diet Options
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As a rule of thumb and considering the delicate nature of this condition, only follow diet plans recommended by professionals knowledgeable in insulin resistance.
One such diet plan is the healthy reduced calorie meal plan provided by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010:
- 1.75 cups of veggies
- 1.5 cups of fruits
- 5 ounces of grains
- 4.5 ounces of protein foods
- 2.75 cups of dairy foods
- 4 teaspoons of oils
- 121 extra calories from healthy foods of your choice
If you want to make a customized meal plan, following the recommended guidelines, you can use the USDA’s SuperTracker, FoodTracker. It’s a useful tool that lets you search foods and plan meals, based on your food group targets as well as daily limits.
For instance, a sample 1,500-calorie menu may include:
- Breakfast(332 calories)
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
- 1/2 ounce of sliced almonds
- Snack(202 calories)
- 1 cup of sliced apples
- 1 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- Lunch(333 calories)
- 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast
- 2 cups of leafy greens
- 1 ounce of reduced-fat cheese
- 6 whole-grain crackers
- 1 tablespoon of Italian dressing
- Snack(236 calories)
- 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup of cantaloupe
- 1/4 ounce of walnuts
- Dinner(400 calories)
- 3 ounces of grilled salmon
- 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of cooked quinoa
- 1 cup of steamed broccoli
Following the professionally compiled guidelines on recommended foods, you can prepare delicious yet healthy diet plans.
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For a tasty breakfast, try out these healthy insulin resistance diet options:
- Poached/ microwaved egg on toasted sourdough bread
- Poached/ microwaved Egg Benedict with lean ham, and steamed baby spinach on toasted sourdough bread
- Poached/ microwaved egg with steamed mushrooms on toasted sourdough bread
- 1 egg mushroom omelet on toasted sourdough bread
- Scrambled egg with smoked salmon and dill on toasted sourdough bread
- Baked egg with ham, wilted greens, tomatoes, paprika and bread
- Shakshouka (baked egg in spicy tomato sauce, peppers, and onions)
- Baked egg with basturma (spicy air-dried beef)
Diet Isn’t Enough
As much as a proper diet is vital, to further reduce insulin resistance you need to:
Exercise lowers your blood sugar and weight. Your body is also more responsive to insulin when doing physical activity.
Choose an exercise that makes you happy like walking, swimming and running… even dancing and gardening. On your lunch break, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Fight the urge to watch TV for hours. Instead, take the kids out, play football, ride a bicycle or go to the park.
30 minutes of exercise a day can do a lot in a month or year.
By smoking, you’re not only at risk of getting insulin resistance, but also diabetes, pancreatic cancer and many other ailments.
Who doesn’t love sleep? Well, unless you’re a workaholic. But do you know sleep regulates “hunger” hormones?
Sufficient sleep will curb your appetite, reducing your chances of becoming obese and eventually developing insulin resistance.
If diets and exercise haven’t helped, medication is recommended to improve insulin sensitivity.
The health cycle of managing insulin resistance is eat well, exercise, sleep, and repeat. Follow this simple process and you’ll avoid many other ailments too, including: obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks and pulmonary embolism.