Have you recently paid attention to your diet and its components? Let’s say, you begin your day with some cereal paired with orange juice. Lunch is a Subway sandwich with some fries. You probably wind down with a helping of pasta bolognese and a glass of red wine at dinner time.
If your daily diet resembles what I have just mentioned, then chances are that you often feel hungry throughout the day and are reaching out for snacks to satiate your hunger. Nachos, cookies, fruits, anything you can find close at hand. A diet rich in sugar and simple carbs often brings hunger pangs and triggers cravings. These hunger pangs, along with increasing inches around your abdomen area, are a tell-tale sign of a condition known as Insulin Resistance.
To understand what Insulin Resistance is, we first need to grasp the role of insulin in our bodies. Insulin is a hormone secreted by our pancreas that regulates the amount of blood sugar by allowing cells to absorb and use glucose from the food we eat. When cells are ineffective at absorbing the glucose from our food, our blood sugar levels increase. Our pancreas receives the signal to produce more insulin to deal with the high blood sugar, and this eventually causes havoc on our overall health. This state is called insulin resistance, and it often leads to prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes if left untreated.
Insulin sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance. This means that your cells are able to effectively absorb the glucose present in your blood, and there’s no excess amount of blood sugar in your body. It also means that your pancreas is working at an optimum level to produce exactly the amount of insulin required. If you are insulin resistant, our holistic doctors in Houston will work to ensure you develop insulin sensitivity with the help of functional medicine.
Insulin resistance has a way of showing up in different ways. These signs may be similar to ones of diabetes, although testing would need to be carried out to determine a diagnosis.
1. Extra inches around the abdomen area: Experts agree that having a waist measuring under 100 cm puts you out of risk of being insulin resistant. Waist size is a strong risk factor that most doctors take into consideration while the diagnosis of insulin resistance.
2. High blood pressure/high fasting blood sugar: Studies have reported that hypertension has been associated with insulin resistance in up to 50% of cases. If your fasting blood sugar is above 100 mg/dl, that is a sign that your body is having trouble with insulin sensitivity.
3. Dark skin patches or Acanthosis Nigricans: If you spot dark, velvety and hyperkeratotic patches in areas such as your neck or axilla, that may be a precursor to insulin resistance. This condition is mostly prevalent in obese patients.
4. Frequent hunger and cravings: Since your cells are not absorbing insulin from your blood, your body feels like there isn’t enough energy present. This results in frequent hunger pangs and cravings for high-sugar foods.
Since insulin resistance most commonly occurs due to an inactive lifestyle coupled with a poor diet, it can be rectified with a few mindful but permanent changes that tackle the core issues. Taking a functional medicine approach to improve insulin sensitivity can bring long-lasting benefits. Some of these changes can be:
1. Rebalancing your hormones: Since insulin is a hormone that is imbalanced, it points to the fact there might exist other hormonal imbalances as well. Most women with PCOS often find themselves struggling with PCOS as well. A complete hormone check can help you get on to the right track of bringing the harmony back.
2. Getting those zzzs: Sleep deprivation is known to kick off cortisol production, putting the rest of your body and its mechanisms into hyperdrive. Make it a point to get your uninterrupted eight hours of sleep every day and you can already feel the difference show up in your hunger pangs, skin health, mood swings and more.
3. Get moving: An inactive lifestyle is among the main culprits of impaired insulin sensitivity. Long hours at the desk are aggravating your insulin resistance. Get started on a simple 20-30 minutes exercise routine that includes both cardio and strength training can bring an improvement in your blood sugar levels. You’ll soon notice that you are energized for longer and are able to focus better.
4. Watch your plate: Adopting a well-balanced and low-glycemic diet should be your main goal in overcoming insulin resistance. Low glycemic foods are those that don’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike right after you’ve had them. For example, complex carbs such as quinoa and chickpeas. Add fibrous veggies to each meal so that you stay fuller for longer. Protein and healthy fats should also form an integral part of your plate. Cut down on high sugar foods such as packaged snacks, drinks and also fruits.
5. Adding certain foods that boost insulin sensitivity: Certain foods are known to improve your cells’ insulin sensitivity by working on repairing the gut. They boost absorption of insulin and therefore reduce free sugar in the blood. Some examples of these foods are:
At My Pure MD, our holistic doctors take a 360-degree treatment approach to all metabolic conditions including insulin resistance. Using the proven methods of holistic medicine, our doctors create a systematic plan for you to improve insulin sensitivity and help you make some permanent lifestyle changes. To know more or to book a discovery call with our specialists, contact us at 346-240-4911.