Our health is influenced by our hormones. So when our hormone levels fluctuate, it can cause havoc. This is why it’s so important to take care of our hormone health.
And one of the best ways to do this is good nutrition – this is especially true with insulin. Read on to see how you can keep your insulin levels in check and prevent resistance.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use the energy from the foods we eat. When we consume foods containing carbohydrates (e.g. grains, cereals, fruit, root vegetables, beans/legumes, bread, and milk products), our body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose. This is then released into the blood stream where insulin helps our cells absorb the glucose for fuel – and prevent our blood glucose levels from becoming too high.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is when the body produces insulin but does not use it well. It is just as the name suggests – we become resistant to the effects of the insulin. This means that the glucose in our blood builds up and our body requires more and more insulin to lower it, which can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms and how can I get tested for insulin resistance?
Unfortunately, many people don’t know they have insulin resistance because there are usually no obvious symptoms for it.
At Copeman Healthcare we are focused on prevention and early detection of many chronic conditions. We pay close attention to the indicators of insulin resistance from your comprehensive lab panels and during your health history and ongoing monitoring.
What can increase my risk of developing insulin resistance?
- Excess weight, particularly around the waist
- Physical inactivity
- Other causes – ethnicity, age (more prevalent in older people), sleep problems (especially sleep apnea) and smoking.
Nutrition tips for preventing or reversing insulin resistance:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Space meals and snacks evenly throughout the day, eating every 3-4 hours
- Eat balanced meals. Don’t know what this means? Use the Healthy Plate model as a guide: ½ of your plate should be filled with vegetables (either raw, cooked, or salad), ¼ of your plate should be a lean protein (chicken, meat, fish, tofu, beans or lentils), and ¼ of your plate should be whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, etc)
- Watch your portions
- Keep carbohydrates like potatoes, cereals, fruit, rice, pasta, and other grains to a fist-sized amount
- Have a palm-sized amount of protein like beef, tofu, poultry, port and fish
- A serving of cheese (choose low fat) is 50g or 1.5 oz (the size of two thumbs)
- Nuts/trail mix should be limited to ¼ cup
- For snacks, include a healthy source of protein when eating carbohydrates (e.g. low fat cheese with whole grain crackers, low fat plain Greek yogurt with a high fibre cereal, or raw almonds with fruit)
- Limit high-sugar, high-fat foods and drinks (e.g. regular pop, desserts, chocolate, fried foods, chips, pastries, specialty coffee beverages)
- Meet with your registered dietitian for personalized nutrition advice