15 ways to overcome insulin resistance naturally 

Losing weight, especially around the waist, could be a crucial factor 


Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. It stimulates the liver and muscle cells to take up sugar from the blood and convert it to energy.

When you are insulin resistant, the liver and muscle cells do not respond properly to insulin. To compensate, your body tends to produce more insulin which is harmful. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are some of the complications of insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance affects at least one in four adults.  It can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. Among the risk factors are excess weight, particularly around the waist, and lack of exercise. For women the risk starts when the waist circumference is more than 32 inches while for men the danger mark is 36 inches.

Insulin resistance could be drug induced – result from prolonged use of steroids. Infection or severe illness, pregnancy, age, stress and sleep problems could also cause the condition. It is commonly seen in obese patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. 


  • Sugar cravings
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Hunger pangs
  • Eating every 2-3 hours
  • Moodiness
  • Anxiety
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), irregular periods, infertility issues or ovarian cysts 

What you can do

Described below are 15 natural ways to manage insulin resistance:


  1. Cut fat intake: Reducing your fat intake to less than 30 gm per day is the single most effective way to reduce insulin resistance.
  2. Exercise regularly: Be it walking, dancing or playing tennis, exercise helps. Increase the time you spend moving. Low impact movements also count. They are effective in improving insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake (i.e. the body’s response to glucose).
  3. Shed weight: Experts say that dropping even as little as 7% of your total body weight is enough to make a huge difference.
  4. Stop eating dessert: High-dose  fructose impairs insulin sensitivity. Also, ditch refined sugar and processed foods. Cook from scratch as often as possible.
  5. Quit smoking: The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage insulin receptors in cells.
  6. Get more Vitamin D: Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with insulin resistance. Expose your skin to the sun. Fish and egg yolks are good sources of vitamin D.
  7. Eat flaxseeds: Research has also shown that eating 40 gm of flaxseed every day over the course of several months may reduce insulin resistance.
  8. Ginger and cinnamon: Studies have shown that people who consume ginger have increased sensitivity to insulin. Half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day also helps manage insulin resistance.
  9. Adopt a Mediterranean diet: Maximize consumption of fresh vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil, avocado, salmon and walnuts.
  10. Eat complex carbohydrates: At least 90-95% of the carbohydrates you eat should be complex. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, peas, lentils and vegetables. Control your overall intake of carbohydrates.
  11. Include protein in the diet: It’s a nutrient that reduces excessive insulin production and promotes the production of more glucagon, a hormone that offsets excess insulin.
  12. Get enough sleep: Just four nights of bad sleep is enough to reduce insulin sensitivity by 30%. Imagine what happens after months or even years of poor sleep!
  13. Increase your muscle mass: The more muscle you have, the more sensitive it will be to insulin. Just a few weeks of strength exercises increases insulin sensitivity by 24%.
  14. Supplement magnesium: A magnesium-rich diet has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Green leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts contain magnesium. If required, take supplements.
  15. Flush out toxins: Toxins trapped in your body can reduce your cells’ sensitivity to insulin. Stay away from environmental pollutants. Get rid of toxins by drinking plenty of fluids.


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