Your diet can make a big difference when it comes to preventing diabetes. Similarly, if you already have diabetes, a healthy diet can help you manage it better. The right foods will help keep your blood sugar and insulin in check1. In case of insulin resistance, it becomes more difficult for the body to burn foods for energy. Additionally, it also causes an increase in the blood sugar levels, resulting in diabetes and type 2 prediabetes.
It is generally best to choose unprocessed whole foods and avoid prepared and highly processed foods. Foods that are highly processed, for example, soda, rice, pastas, breads and white breads digest quickly and spike blood sugar levels.
This causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. Similarly, the body blocks the insulin from working efficiently enough to lower blood sugar levels in people who are insulin resistant. Similarly, insulin resistance has also been associated with saturated fats.
Therefore, unsaturated fats are a better choice, eating mixed meals and high-fiber foods can help slow digestion, taking pressure off the pancreas.
Here are some foods that are recommended in insulin resistance diet2:
Vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories which makes them an ideal food for managing blood sugar levels. Healthy vegetable options include, tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, carrots, peppers, kale, cabbage, collards, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli.
Fruits are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins. Fruits that are rich in fiber include, apples, berries, bananas, grapes, plums and peaches. However, it is recommended to avoid fruit juices, as it can raise blood sugar as quickly as regular soda. Even unsweetened juices are quite high in sugars.
Choose low fat and unsweetened milk and yoghurt for your diet, because whole milk and full-fat yogurts are high in saturated fats and have been linked to insulin resistance. In case of lactose intolerance, unsweetened alternatives of milk, for example, almond milk, rice milk, lactose-free cow milk and soy milk are alternative options.
Whole grains are rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals, moreover, are fine for people with insulin resistance. Carbohydrates are a good source of fuel for the body. However, it is important to choose healthy and unprocessed grains, for example, whole-wheat grain, whole oats, oatmeal, bulgur, whole-grain corn and brown rice.
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are also an excellent source of fiber, for example, pinto, lima, black and red beans. They raise blood sugar levels slowly, therefore, are a good option for people with insulin resistance.
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and reduces the risk of heart disease. Fish rich in omega-3 include, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna and rainbow trout.
Lean proteins, for example, chicken breasts, Cornish hen and turkey are a good addition to an insulin resistance diet. However, the skin of poultry contains large amounts of fat, therefore, it is recommended to eat poultry without skin. Other lean proteins include, beef, lamb, veal and pork. Vegetarian protein sources, such as, legumes, tofu, beans, tempeh and soy are also a great option if you have insulin resistance.
1.American Diabetes Association. (2019). 3. Prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2019. Diabetes Care, 42(Supplement 1), S29-S33.
2.Evert, A. B., Dennison, M., Gardner, C. D., Garvey, W. T., Lau, K. H. K., MacLeod, J., … & Saslow, L. (2019). Nutrition therapy for adults with diabetes or prediabetes: a consensus report. Diabetes Care, 42(5), 731-754.
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