Insulin resistance is a condition where the cells of the body develop the inability to respond to the insulin hormone (made by the pancreas), resulting in issues such as type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and prediabetes, if lifestyle changes are not made in time. According to a study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians in India, today, diabetes resulting from insulin resistance is a global problem, growing as a pandemic, where the count is estimated to be over 300 million by the year 2025, almost one-third of which will be attributed to Indians alone.
The key factor contributing to insulin resistance is the changing (sedentary) lifestyle with a vastly improper diet including a high-calorie diet, high-carbohydrate or high-sugar diet. As a result, those developing insulin resistance are often seen to be obese, although, it may develop in the non-obese population as well. Other causes include medications or high dosage steroids, existence of chronic diseases, existence of diabetes in the family, been previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes during childbirth, and having Cushing’s disease or polycystic ovaries. Usually if a person has high levels of insulin in the blood, excess fat in the liver and pancreas, and inflammation, then he / she is more prone to developing insulin resistance.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
The common symptoms include lethargy, extreme thirst, unnatural hunger leading to bingeing on food, difficulty concentrating, weight gain in the belly, increased urination, tingling in hands / feet, frequent infections, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These symptoms may not show at all at initial stages and may show up only in blood tests. In case the patient develops type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and prediabetes, additional symptoms include increased blood glucose levels and those symptoms that are particular to the diabetes. Insulin resistance is diagnosed through tests such as A1C test, fasting blood glucose test, glucose tolerance testing and random blood sugar tests.
The best way to control insulin resistance is by improving lifestyle.
Firstly, one must consult a diet and nutrition therapist for a complete change in the diet regimen. The key is to follow a low-carb and ketogenic diet containing very low calories in order to lose weight that is attributed to insulin resistance. It is generally advised to completely avoid saturated fats, highly processed foods as they put a lot of stress on the pancreas.
Following a perfectly balanced Vedic diet turns out to be a completely blissful experience for insulin resistance patients. Vedic diets generally include whole, unprocessed foods, vegetables (fresh, low-sodium canned, and frozen) and fruits (fresh / frozen). They can be listed as below –
- Vegetables include tomatoes, spinach, peppers, leafy greens like spinach, collard, kale, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. They are low-calorie and high-fiber in nature.
- Fruits include apples, berries, bananas, grapes, plums, and peaches for fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fruit juices, however, are to be avoided.
- Dairy is essential and the diet must include fat-free, low-fat, or non-fat unsweetened milk and yogurt, or alternative milks such as those from almond / soy, in case one is lactose intolerant.
- Other foods include –
- whole grains
- beans and legumes
- fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, rainbow trout, tilapia, cod, flounder, halibut, haddock, lobster, scallops, shrimp, oysters, clams, or crabs)
- poultry (chicken breasts, Cornish hen, or turkey)
- other lean protein (pork, veal, lamb, and beef / soy, tempeh, beans, and legumes)
- spices (Fenugreek seeds, garlic, onion, turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onions, mustard, curry leaves, cinnamon, mustard and coriander)
- healthy unsaturated fat sources such as nuts
- oils from mustard, olive, canola, soybean, sesame and sunflower.
- Additionally, one must limit alcohol or give it up completely.
Secondly, one must also consult the physiotherapist for an exercise regimen that helps in controlling weight.
We at Eva Physiocare have developed an integrated wellness programme containing diet therapy, nutrition therapy and exercise therapy for insulin resistant patients.