Global obesity is on the rise, with the effects of an unhealthy Western lifestyle contributing to the rapid increase of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
How can you protect yourself from developing these diseases? Let’s look at one underlying reason for this global increase in health concerns – insulin imbalance - and at 5 simple tips you can incorporate into your daily routine to lower your health risks.
Keep Your Insulin In Balance
A chronic disease doesn’t develop in one week. Rather, it evolves over a longer period of time due to key processes in your body being out of balance. One such unhealthy change is the deregulation of the hormone, insulin, which in turn can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, chronic inflammation, and a host of other issues.
Insulin is very important for your health because it regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood. Glucose fuels your cells and brain. In the case of insulin resistance, however, the cells in your body are resistant to the insulin and are unable to use it as effectively when trying to take in glucose.
Since the glucose remains in the blood, rather than being absorbed into your cells, your pancreas increases the production of insulin even higher in an attempt to remedy the rising blood sugar levels. In the end, both the blood glucose and insulin levels are increased, leaving you susceptible to a variety of health problems such as tiredness, acne, hypertension, lack of concentration, joint problems, mood swings, overweight and type 2 diabetes.
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Insulin resistance
- Increased insulin
- Health problems
Insulin resistance isn’t a disease but a disturbance in your physiology. If an unhealthy lifestyle is the cause, then let’s use lifestyle as medicine to repair and heal it.
Tip 1: Eat Natural Food, Especially More Vegetables
Nature has always been the main supplier of our food. Trust Mother Nature. Eat a balanced diet with natural proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Also, be sure to eat more vegetables. They contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and a lot of fiber. Also, natural sugars are released more slowly into your bloodstream than refined sugar, thereby eliminating sharp rises and falls in your blood glucose levels.
Try to eat vegetables at a minimum of 2 meals each day. For example, a green smoothie for breakfast and a salad with your lunch are two simple ways of increasing your intake of vegetables. An added benefit of this change is that there will also be a positive effect on your gut bacteria - your microbiome.
Tip 2: Avoid Processed Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
Malnutrition is a serious problem worldwide. We’re starving in the midst of plenty as people hungrily reach out for unnatural, refined foods devoid of the vitamins and minerals their bodies crave.
Avoid drinking soft drinks and refined fruit juices, and also eliminate daily consumption of bread, pasta, biscuits, cookies and candy. All of these items have a negative impact on your blood sugar balance and your insulin levels. High-calorie foods can cause a situation called neuroglycopenia – a situation where the brain doesn’t get enough glucose – which results in an urge to eat more often. And eating too many times a day also disturbs your insulin.
So be a hunter-gatherer in modern supermarkets and make healthy choices.
Tip 3: Move Regularly
Everybody knows that movement is good for your health. People will go to the gym, or take a walk in the park. Nevertheless, we have forgotten a far more important factor. The danger of sitting for too long.
A publication in The Lancet shows that a sedentary lifestyle is almost as bad as smoking and obesity for your health. In nature, sitting means literally breaking down your structures. Our body is made for walking and only 5 percent of adults reach the minimum recommended amount of physical activity.
You should try to sit for a maximum of only 6 hours per day, and be sure to move every half hour for at least 1 minute. Get some water, or stretch and walk around to speak with a colleague, family member or even your pet. It keeps your insulin levels low.
Tip 4: Search For Acute Stress Instead Of Chronic Stress
There are different kinds of stress, and it isn’t always bad for you. Learning how to differentiate between the types of stressors, and whether they are beneficial or harmful, will help you maintain your health.
Stress means “fight or flight” in a natural environment, and survival is much more important at that point in time than any repair your body might need in order to function at optimum levels.
Chronic stress, or distress, is negative stress as it lasts too long and will eventually harm your body. It’s detrimental to your bones and muscles, disrupts insulin levels, and increases your chances of getting sick. Examples of chronic stress are: working without sufficient rest, financial, marital and work-related problems, health challenges, academic pressure and being a caregiver, to name only a few. The 3 signals of chronic stress are tiredness, mood disorders and sleep disorders.
On the other hand, eustress is positive stress. The stress only happens for a short period of time and the result tends to be beneficial for your insulin levels and health. Examples are: buying your first home, attending a sports event, getting promoted at work, finding a great job, going on vacation, or reuniting with a friend or long-lost relative.
It’s all about balance. Take breaks regularly and most importantly, do things you love often. Then the positive stress will certainly make you stronger.
Tip 5: Be True To Yourself
Maybe it all comes down to being true to yourself.
When you feel comfortable with who you are, you are more likely to choose the right foods to nourish your body and set the right goals to get yourself in action. It literally moves you.
Being in tune with yourself gives you the energy to live fully and make an impact on the world around you. And at the end of the day, both you and your insulin levels are happy and in balance!