The pancreas is a vital organ in your body which is directly connected with your weight. Along with aiding in digestion, the pancreas plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar by producing an enzyme called insulin. It allows our bodies to use sugar for providing energy. Insulin regulates our metabolism and is directly responsible for our appetite and fat storage in our body.
If sugar levels increase in our bloodstream exceedingly, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing insulin excessively. High insulin, therefore, is one of the reasons for unusual weight gain and obesity.
If you’re trying to lose weight and you feel that all your efforts are in vain — controlling insulin levels can be the key to shedding that static weight. Worry not! We at 5 Fun Facts care for your health. Here are some tips to help reduce insulin in your blood and get fitter and slimmer.
1. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
This includes any type of workout — high intensity, running, yoga, walking, etc. Getting those muscles moving wakes up the body and forces it to draw energy. Sugar gets utilized and naturally, the insulin levels go down. When done regularly, it positively impacts your overall health and helps to lose weight.
2. Follow a low-carb diet rich in protein.
Carbohydrates are a prime source of sugar — hence, they raise sugar and insulin levels the most. Cutting down on carbs and raising the consumption of protein can help keep it in check and also provide the required energy. Foods rich in protein include lean meats, eggs, fish, and cottage cheese.
3. Avoid refined carbs and choose complex carbs instead.
Refined carbs such as soda, candy, and cookies get digested very fast leading to a sugar spike in the blood. Instead, opt for foods with complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, legumes, etc. They take longer to break down so sugar is released at a consistent rate. Choose whole grains over processed ones that are higher in vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
4. Say no to sugar of any kind.
Sugary and processed foods have high sugar content and can cause insulin levels to spike. Studies show that people who have sugary foods experience about a 22% increase in insulin levels. It’s best to cut back on the carbs and save foods high in sugar for special occasions. This also means skipping the cola and gulping down more water.
5. Eat foods that keep your sugar levels low.
Foods that are low in sugar also help to keep insulin levels in check. They include:
- Nuts and seeds (like almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, and flax seeds)
- Whole grains (like barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oats, and quinoa)
- High fiber fruits (like apples, coconuts, berries, oranges, and pears)
- Leafy greens (like spinach, kale, lettuce, and collards)
- Sweet potatoes and yams
- Meat (like salmon and tuna)
- Unsweetened yogurt
6. Adhere to a fractional diet.
Instead of eating 3 large meals, divide your meals into 5-6 servings — eat more often but stick to smaller portion sizes with lots of variety. Consuming fewer calories at a time decreases insulin levels, according to studies. Make sure that you eat a balanced meal with adequate proportions of carbs, proteins, and fats.
7. Increase your intake of soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract and gives you a feeling of satiety for a longer time. This keeps those sugar cravings in check and also helps prevent a sudden spike of insulin after meals. High fiber intake is associated with lower levels of insulin resistance in women.
8. Take apple cider vinegar.
If you happen to eat high-carb foods, apple cider vinegar (ACV) cuts down insulin in the blood sharply. High in acetic acid, it improves insulin sensitivity in the blood by 20%-30%. Taking ACV also gives you a greater feeling of fullness after a meal, thus helping you to eat less and lose more weight.
9. Sip on water and green tea.
Water is the wonder drink. Avoid sugary drinks such as soda, juice, and energy drinks and sip on water. You can even drink green tea 2-3 times a day after meals. Studies have shown that it helps fight insulin resistance.
10. Chill and reduce stress.
Stress plays a huge role in causing your sugar levels to go out of control. It can trigger insulin resistance and cause weight gain. Practice meditation and breathing exercises, and take hot baths to calm your nerves and keep those stress levels down. Be happy, stay active, and put that tension away.
Controlling your insulin is the key to losing weight. Lifestyle changes are a must to achieve any health goal for your body. Taking small but consistent steps will definitely show results in the long run. Are there any other hacks to help control insulin levels? Let us know in the comments if you found these tips helpful.
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for 5FunFacts.com