5 steps to improve insulin response
Whether you have prediabetes or diabetes or are at risk for
developing them, there are several natural ways to reduce your
body’s resistance to insulin and improve the way your body
responds to this critical hormone.
natural ways to manage diabetes
1Drop a few pounds Specifcally, aim to lose 5 to 7 percent of your body weight if you’re over weight. Body fat,
especially fat around the waist, is not
inert. It produces hormones and other
compounds that are released into the
blood and cause or exacerbate insulin
resistance and infammation; it may lead
to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and
some types of cancer. Te good news is
that losing even a little weight makes
your cells more sensitive to insulin and
reduces your health risks.
Te Diabetes Prevention Program
(DPP), a study of more than 3,000
people at risk for developing type 2
diabetes, found that a healthful lifestyle
can delay or prevent the onset of type 2
diabetes. Participants in the DPP’s
lifestyle-change group aimed to lose 7
percent of their body weight ( 14 pounds
for someone starting at 200 pounds) and
to exercise for 150 minutes each week.
In this three-year study, participants
reduced their risk of developing type 2
diabetes by 58 percent. Even ten years
after the start of the study, the lifestyle
interventions lowered the risk by
34 percent. If you already have type 2
diabetes, weight loss may not cure it,
but it could lessen insulin resistance
and improve your blood glucose levels,
perhaps with fewer medications, lower
costs and less risk for side efects.
2Get moving Even without weight loss, exercise improves your body’s insulin resistance for up to 72 hours!
Tat means that every single time you
walk briskly, swim some laps, bike around
your neighborhood or play tennis, you’re
working to prevent diabetes. Exercise
improves blood glucose control, reduces
cardiovascular risk factors and enhances
well-being. Try not to think of exercise
simply as a way to lose weight. View it
for what it is: a quality of life tool. Federal
guidelines recommend adults engage in
at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity
aerobic activity each week. Te American
Diabetes Association (ADA) notes that
to maximize the insulin-sensitizing
efects of regular exercise, you should
go no more than two consecutive days
Strength training also helps, and the
ADA advises people with type 2 diabetes
to engage in at least two sessions weekly.
Strength training increases insulin action
in the muscle. Plus, the more muscle you
have, the more glucose it withdraws from
3Don’t sit too much Regular exercise is critical, but what you do the other 23 or so hours each day matters too.
Excessive sedentary behavior—watching
TV, surfng the Internet, driving, reading
and more—has only recently been
recognized as a potential contributor
to ill health. Te more time you sit,
the greater the likelihood you’ll
develop abnormal glucose levels and
cardiovascular risk factors. Te ADA
recommends breaking up periods of
sitting for more than 90 minutes with
brief bouts of standing or walking, such
a stroll to the water cooler or standing
up during TV commercials.
4Eat a wholesome diet Although there is no singular diet o defeat diabetes, there are steps you can take to help your body
better use insulin. It starts with eating a
diet with ample plant-based foods.
Research suggests that a Mediterra-nean-style diet—with its olive oil, nuts,
vegetables, berries and fber-rich
foods—can stave of type 2 diabetes.
Trimming calories matters, too, so it’s not
just about being choosy about food types.
Keep a keen eye on portion sizes.
5Get to bed on time Researchers in the Netherlands found that even a single night of sleep deprivation impairs insulin
sensitivity by as much as 25 percent. Aim
for seven to eight hours of sleep nightly.
What about meds and supps?
Some people in the DPP took the drug
metformin, an insulin sensitizer commonly
prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes.
Tis group also reduced their risk of
developing type 2 diabetes. Taking
metformin dropped participants’ risk
by 31 percent in the frst three years and
by 18 percent after ten years.
Tough the ADA doesn’t recommend
supplements for managing diabetes or
insulin resistance, many people choose to
use aloe, bitter melon, ginseng, nopal and
others. Although these supplements may
contain helpful ingredients, they could
cause unwanted side efects. It’s prudent
to discuss options with your health care
provider before starting a new blood sugar
management supplement. 190 180 170 160150