Insulin sensitivity is what is used to describe the way cells respond to insulin – an essential hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Improving your cells’ sensitivity to insulin can help reduce insulin resistance, which is linked to many conditions such as diabetes and PCOS.
What is insulin?
Made in the pancreas, insulin helps to move sugar from your blood to be stored in your cells. If cells are resistant to insulin they are not able to use it effectively, which then leads to high blood sugar. High blood sugar then causes the pancreas to create more insulin to overcome the resistance. Overtime, this can cause a reduction in cells that produce insulin in the pancreas which may cause damage to nerves and organs over a prolonged amount of time.
Keep reading to learn how to improve insulin sensitivity naturally.
Exercising regularly can promote an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which can last up to 48 hours depending on the exercise. A study found that cycling on a machine for 60 minutes at a moderate pace increased insulin sensitivity for 48 hours, with added resistance training showing even better results.
Control stress levels
High levels of stress can stimulate the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and glucagon, which can affect the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar as these hormones breakdown a form of stored sugar into glucose, which enters the bloodstream quickly for your body to use as a source of energy. However, continuous high levels of stress hormones can make the body more insulin resistant, with various studies showing that high levels of stress hormones can reduce insulin sensitivity.
Get more sleep
Everyone knows sleep is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle, with lack of sleep being linked to increased risk of infections and diseases. Several studied have also shown that poor sleep can reduce insulin sensitivity.
Eat more soluble fibre
There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is the more beneficial of the two, with its benefits including lowering cholesterol and increasing insulin sensitivity by feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut. Several studies have linked soluble fibre to insulin sensitivity, with one study of 264 people showing a diet of more soluble fibre significantly lowering levels of insulin resistance.
Try green tea
Green tea has a wide range of health benefits, one of which being its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar. Various studies have looked at the link between green tea and insulin sensitivity, which concluded that drinking green tea significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and increased insulin sensitivity. It’s thought these beneficial effects could be due to the powerful antioxidant found in green tea, epigallocatechin.
There are various supplements that may help improve insulin sensitivity. Cinsulin and berberine are two supplements in particular that have been studied for their benefits.