Today, a high prevalence of obesity, dyslipidaemia, elevated blood pressure, etc has lead to a marked increase in insulin resistance in Indians.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that signals muscle, fat and liver cell to absorb glucose to be used as energy. Insulin resistance is a state in which the muscle, fat and liver cells do not respond insulin signal appropriately and blood sugar does not get absorbed efficiently from the blood. As a result, pancreas secrete higher levels of insulin to help glucose being absorbed by the body. If appropriate dietary and lifestyle modifications are not made in those suffering from insulin resistance, it can eventually cause type 2 diabetes. Dietary modification is the 1st step improve insulin resistance.
Look at some diet tips that might prove helpful:
- Decrease intake of Saturated Fatty (SFA): Increased consumption of some SFA such are known to affect cellular signalling by inhibiting insulin receptor thereby increasing the incidence of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Hence, patients suffering from insulin resistance should avoid eating foods rich in SFA such as beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, butter and cheese.
- Limit consumption of table sugar: A very higher consumption of sucrose in the form of table sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages and in desserts and confectionary is associated with an increase in weight, thereby, affecting insulin sensitivity. Hence, it is suggested that individuals suffering from insulin resistance should restrict consumption of foods which are high in simple sugars.
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables: Along with fibre, fruits and vegetables are great sources of micronutrients which are essential for the appropriate functioning of cells. 3-4 serving of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruits per day should be included in the daily diet to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.
- Increase consumption of Whole grains: Whole grains are a store of nutrients such as magnesium and zinc (essential for the functioning of insulin), fermentable carbohydrates (fibre, resistant starch and oligosaccharide) and other micronutrients and studies have shown that consumption of whole grain with barn improves insulin sensitivity. Consumption of high amounts of fibre would delay gastric time which in turn would result in lower glucose and better insulin response.
Also, the short chain fatty acids produced during fermentation of fibre, resistance starch, etc in the large intestine is known to enhance insulin sensitivity. It is therefore recommended that individuals suffering from insulin resistance should replace polished grains (white rice, wheat flour without bran) with whole grains such as wheat flour with bran, jowar, oats etc for at least one meal daily.
- Consume low glycaemic index foods: One of the easiest ways to control insulin resistance is to eat foods with low glycaemic index (GI). Low GI foods are digested slowly by the body and don’t produce a spike in blood sugar levels and thereby helps in insulin sensitivity.
- Consume enough proteins: It is most commonly found that Indian diet lack majorly in protein consumption. A reduced protein intake is associated with an increased intake of fats and carbohydrates which is detrimental to insulin sensitivity. Hence, individuals suffering from insulin resistance must make sure to include a serving of protein at each of the 3 major mid-meals. Good sources of proteins include: Egg, lean cuts of meat, poultry without skin, skimmed milk and products, pulses and legumes.
Overall, if someone suffers from insulin resistance, he should consult a qualified nutritionist who would plan a balanced meal and incorporate foods that help reduce insulin resistance. Along with dietary modifications, one should increase their physical activity and lose some weight to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
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