High insulin levels are bad news for your health and, if left unchecked, often set the stage for type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, once you know that you have elevated insulin levels, you can take steps to cut insulin and prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.
Internal medicine physician Prabhdeep Singh, MD, helps patients prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. If you have or develop type 2 diabetes, Dr. Singh can help you live well and manage your condition. Read on to learn why it’s crucial to lower insulin levels and what you can do to keep yours in check.
Why is insulin lowering insulin important?
Insulin is a crucial hormone your pancreas produces. It enables your cells to use glucose, its preferred source of fuel. When your cells are sensitive to insulin, your pancreas releases just enough insulin for your cells to take up glucose, removing it from the blood and keeping your blood sugar stable.
Insulin resistance causes elevated insulin, which happens when your cells are less sensitive to the effects of insulin. As a result, glucose remains elevated. In response, the pancreas releases more insulin to get glucose into cells and lower blood glucose levels. Over time the pancreas loses its ability to keep up with the demand for extra insulin, and type 2 diabetes develops. This makes it vital to keep your insulin levels within a safe range.
Here are our top tips for lowering your insulin.
Reduce your carbohydrate intake
Carbohydrates elevate blood sugar and insulin levels the most of the three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates). Even though carbs are an essential part of most balanced, nutritious diets, adopting a lower carb diet has a powerful effect on reducing insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
Cutting added sugars is one of the best places to start. Swap out foods with added sugar for fresh or frozen whole foods, and watch out for hidden sources of added sugar. Condiments, protein bars, and instant oatmeals are just a few foods with not-so-obvious added sugar.
Focus on foods that keep insulin low
The foods that help maintain healthy blood sugar levels also help maintain healthy insulin levels.
Certain foods keep blood sugar stable rather than creating rapid spikes. These are referred to as low glycemic index foods.
Protein and fiber-rich foods promote healthy blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes.
Some great options include:
- Low-fat dairy
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
Choosing these foods over fast-digesting carbohydrates like baked goods and white rice can help you lower your insulin levels and boost insulin sensitivity.
Lose weight if you’re overweight
Carrying excess weight promotes insulin resistance and is linked to elevated insulin levels. If you’re overweight, taking steps to shed some extra pounds can boost the ability of your cells to respond quickly to insulin. Even a modest weight loss of about 10 pounds can improve insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels.
Get your body moving
Regular exercise benefits your overall health and keeps your cardiovascular system strong, and also improves insulin sensitivity. When you exercise, your muscle cells take up sugar from the blood and transport it into the cell for energy production. As a result, your body produces less insulin.
Resistance training and aerobic exercise both boost insulin sensitivity in unique ways. While aerobic exercises burn more calories per session, resistance training stimulates muscle growth, which is what burns glucose during exercise.
The optimal exercise program for insulin resistance and overall health incorporates aerobic and strength training. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week.
Having a health provider on your health journey can help you reach your health goals quickly and safely. If you have insulin resistance, prediabetes, or are concerned about your blood sugar, we can help you maintain healthy glucose and ward off diabetes.
Call our El Centro office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singh or book online at your convenience. Make your health a top priority today!