Key Tips for Optimal Insulin Sensitivity

Key Tips for Optimal Insulin Sensitivity
Photo by julien Tromeur / Unsplash

Insulin is the master regulator hormone. It is released by the pancreas to push glucose into cells to be used as fuel. High insulin levels can lead to hormonal imbalances, decreased insulin sensitivity, poor metabolic health, a fatty liver, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the human body is to the effects of insulin. Insulin sensitive individuals will require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than of those who have low insulin sensitivity, or are insulin resistant. People who are insulin resistant will need larger amounts of insulin, either made by the pancreas or insulin injections, depending on the severity of resistance to keep blood glucose stable. Insulin resistance is a sign that the cells in the body are no longer responding to insulin.

Insulin sensitivity is very important because it represents good metabolic flexibility and proper insulin signaling and responding between the pancreas and the cells in the body. All cells use glucose as a form of fuel and regulate healthy blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance is also a sign of mitochondrial dysfunction, which manifests as fatigue after meals, lethargy, sugar cravings, poor sleep, weight gain, poor energy levels, and altered mood. It is vital to be aware of this and know how to boost insulin sensitivity. Top ways to optimize insulin sensitivity include eating a whole-foods breakfast rich in healthy fats and protein, intense morning exercise, implementing healthy gut practices, and supporting your mitochondrial fitness.

Eat A Whole-Foods Breakfast Rich in Healthy Fats and Protein

Eating a whole-foods breakfast that includes protein and healthy fats is super key to optimizing blood sugar regulation and energy levels. It is crucial to avoid eating just starch and sugar for breakfast. This means no cereal, bagels, fast food, toast, candy, donuts, and pastries for breakfast. These highly processed foods cause insulin spikes and crashes after meals. Combine healthy fats, protein, and fiber in your breakfast for an optimal glucose response and satiety until your next meal. Eggs, grass-fed steak, greens, Greek yogurt with berries, chia seed pudding, and apples with peanut butter are different options to consider. Be aware of this and consume your carbohydrates with protein, fat, and fiber to prevent insulin spikes and post meal slumps. A balanced whole-foods breakfast is absolutely essential for optimal insulin sensitivity.

Intense Morning Exercise

Muscle plays a major role in glucose regulation. It is a main user of glucose. Strength training and intense exercise build muscle and boost insulin sensitivity. Exercise pushes glucose into cells to be used as fuel. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be and the more insulin sensitive you will be. Exercise regulates glucose levels, increases cardiovascular fitness, and positively impacts mood, focus, and decision making. Performing morning exercise outside has been linked to deeper sleep, insulin sensitivity, and better blood sugar regulation. This keeps the circadian rhythm in alignment with the internal body clock which is key for hormonal balance throughout the body. Walking for 15-30 minutes after meals also leads to better blood glucose regulation. Working out in the morning is one of the top ways to be or become insulin sensitive.

Implement Healthy Gut Practices

Implementing healthy gut practices daily and making essential lifestyle choices for a strong gut are ways to promote insulin sensitivity. Gut symbiosis (balanced bacteria in the gut) is absolutely essential for regulating blood sugar and the immune system. It also prevents both gut and systemic inflammation. The bacteria in the gut maintain the gut lining and keep toxins, harmful particles, and immune cells from leaking into the blood stream. There are many things that you can practice daily to ensure a healthy gut. Intaking an adequate amount of fiber is critical for good blood sugar regulation, and consuming prebiotics ensures your gut bacteria are being fed well. Drinking an optimal amount of water daily and exercising regularly are crucial for the gut-brain axis to function most efficiently. Getting a good night’s sleep, meditation, breath work, tea drinking, and exercise boost gut health. Prioritizing your gut health helps optimize insulin sensitivity.

Support Your Mitochondrial Fitness

Mitochondria are tiny, specialized structures found in all cells that participate is multiple cellular processes. They are known as the “powerhouse” of the cell. Their most important function is to generate energy in the form of ATP. Mitochondria extract glucose and other nutrients to convert them to ATP- energy that the body can use. When mitochondria dysfunction occurs cellular processes get disrupted and cellular damage starts to accumulate. Oxidative stress, inflammation, aging, metabolic inflexibility, and insulin resistance start to occur. It is crucial to support your mitochondria. Ways to stimulate your mitochondrial fitness include calorie restricted eating, exercise, mitochondrial nutrients, a good night’s sleep, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, taking in morning sun, and cold and heat exposure. Boost your mitochondrial fitness to prevent insulin resistance and promote optimal cellular and biological processes.

Final Thoughts

Insulin is a main hormone in the body produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. It is a regulator hormone that balances all other hormones. If insulin is off, you can bet a hormonal balance is present. By optimizing insulin sensitivity, you are supporting optimal functioning of almost every hormone in your body. Increasing insulin sensitivity consistently can help you prevent chronic disease and live a happy, healthy life. Top ways to promote insulin sensitivity include eating a whole-foods breakfast with high-quality protein and healthy fats, performing intense exercise- especially in the morning time, choosing healthy gut practices, and supporting your mitochondrial fitness. Being insulin sensitive is the key to success on your health journey.

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.