It can lead to type 2 diabetes, but insulin resistance can also be reversed by following these simple lifestyle changes.
Insulin transports glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream into your cells. But when your cells don’t respond properly to insulin, this is called insulin resistance.
This means that glucose can’t get into your cells, which causes a build-up of glucose in your blood, and as a result, your body has to release even more insulin. This process is how you develop type 2 diabetes. But here are five simple tips to help reverse it.
1. Be more active
Try to be active for at least 30 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be fast-paced ‘sweaty’ exercise; you can simply increase your regular activity by using the stairs and walking to the shops.
Avoid sitting for prolonged periods by standing up and stretching, jogging on the spot, or going for a two-minute walk.
2. Boost your beans
Find tasty ways to add high-fibre beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas (collectively called legumes) to your diet. Use hoummos (made from chickpeas) as a dip or spread. Throw lentils into soup to thicken it. Toss a can of chickpeas into curries and casseroles for extra flavour. An added benefit is that legumes give you long-lasting energy.
3. Lose excess weight
Losing weight, especially around your middle, will reduce your insulin resistance if you’re overweight. If you’re pre-diabetic, this will slow the onset of type 2.
4. Ditch the refined carbs
Choose low-GI or high-fibre foods at every meal. Enjoy rolled oats in muesli or porridge at breakfast; wholegrain bread at lunch; and whole grains such as pearl barley, quinoa or low-GI brown rice at dinner.
5. Say ‘no’ to daily treats
Try to break the habit of having ‘treat’ foods such as soft drinks, biscuits and pastries every day. These make up a third of Aussies’ food intake and are a big contributor to weight gain.
Limit alcohol to two standard drinks a day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.