8 Ways To Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity
Why Everyone Should Care About Their Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, otherwise known as our glucose levels is highly determined by the food and beverages we consume as well as the activities we undertake. Managing the balance of our blood sugar is key for our body to remain in a healthy state of homeostasis.
HOMEOSTASIS = the healthy balance of our inherent physiological processes.
Poor blood sugar management is a disruption of this homeostasis which can often result in insulin resistance.
Your Metabolism: Insulin Resistant vs. Insulin Sensitive
Insulin is an important hormone that is produced in and released from the pancreas (an organ that sits behind the stomach) every 2 to 2.5 hours and it allows our body to use glucose from the food and drink we consume for energy, or gets stored in the muscle, known as muscle glycogen. It also prevents blood sugar levels from getting too high which is known as hyperglycaemia (precursor to diabetes).
We want our body to be sensitive to insulin so that it can manage blood sugar efficiently and support key metabolic processes such as the breakdown of protein and fat. Being insulin resistant means that the cell signalling in the muscles, fat tissue, and liver becomes blunted and the body cannot restore blood sugar homeostasis or utilise the energy. Usually an excess of blood sugar is stored in the liver as glycogen or secreted by the body.
With daily routines and eating habits disrupted for a lot of people in Hong Kong recently, the tendency to overindulge and consume too many processed foods and carbohydrates (often in the form of sugar) means that we self-inflict some of the issues discussed above. There also is the additional problem of mismanaged weight gain where this influx of sugars is now stored within fat cells, thus impacting body composition and putting us at risk of various health issues.
Estrogen and Love Handles
Fat cells also emit a hormone known as aromatase, which when released, increases levels of toxic estrogen in the body. So if you find that you are storing most of your fat around the hips and stomach, managing your blood sugar better and making more cognisant food choice can go some ways to improve this. You may have experienced sugar crashes before which is where you get a sudden spike in blood glucose shortly followed by a period of lethargy. Doing this regularly through snacking at home can have compounding effects and if sugar levels are consistently elevated, it can become toxic to the brain and the body.
8 Things You Can Do To Improve Insulin Sensitivity:
Some of the things you can do to improve insulin sensitivity and manage blood sugar either at home or during your daily routines are;
- Prioritise quality sleep – introduce a bedtime routine by reading, and putting away your phone
- Improve nutritional habits – Eat real unprocessed food, cut down on sugar and load up on fruits and vegetables.
- Try to manage your stress – Make it a habit of meditating for 5 minutes every day, engage in breathing exercises and a regular mobility routine. These simple habits can go a long way in helping to manage your overall stress levels.
- Reduce alcohol consumption, especially beer
- Carb-cycling or consuming carbohydrates at specific times – for example, right after a workout where carbs can help replenish your body
- Exercising regularly
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day instead of 2-3 large filling meals.
- Have a high protein and moderate fat breakfast; avoiding carbs or fruit first thing in the morning.
By managing our blood sugar, we can prevent blood sugar or insulin resistant related health problems such as PCOS, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s. If you want to monitor blood sugar levels daily, you can get a device known as a Libre monitor which allows you to monitor your blood sugar 24/7 continuously for 14 days.
What it comes down to:
Managing blood sugar is one of the key components to optimal health. If you are unsure on what to do or if you want to improve your blood sugar issues, speak to one of our health coaches today.
At Hybrid, your health and wellbeing is our priority. We care about you and helping you to achieve your goals in the safest, healthiest and most sustainable way possible. Everybody is different and has different requirements. Please have a chat with one of our coaches if you are unsure what is best for you or might have any complications.
Samuel T Olatunbosun, MD; August 2019
Dr Cassie Wilder, January 2017
Article by: Kim Slider, Hybrid Personal Training, MMA & Fitness