Do intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of popularity as a weight loss method in recent years. Studies have shown that it may help decrease insulin levels with the same efficiency as a daily caloric restriction. One study, in particular, found that overweight women lost weight and experienced other health benefits following intermittent fasting diet with restricted caloric intake using either solid or liquid meals.
However, it was the liquid diet that decreased fasting insulin levels significantly (24). Fasting on alternate days involves fasting or significantly restricting your caloric intake one day and then eating normally the next day. Several studies have found that this approach effectively decreases insulin levels. In one study, 26 people were instructed to fast every other day for 22 days straight. It was found that on average they experienced a significant decrease of 56% in fasting insulin levels.
Even though many people find this diet approach enjoyable and quite beneficial, unfortunately, it does not work for everyone and may even cause health issues in some people. In any case, you can give it a try and see if you experience any of its purported benefits. However, research results are mixed, and it’s possible that it may not suit you.
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Increase your intake of soluble fiber
Soluble fiber consumption has numerous benefits to your health, including decreasing blood sugar levels, as well as helping with fat loss. Once digested, it absorbs the water in the intestines and forms a gel-like substance, which slows down food movement through the digestive tract. This will make you feel full and keeps the blood sugar and insulin levels from rising too rapidly after eating a meal (25, 26, 27, 28).
One study found that women who consumed high amounts of soluble fiber were half as likely to be insulin resistant as those who consumed the least amount of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber also aids in feeding the so-called friendly bacteria that live in the colon, which can improve gut health and decrease insulin resistance.
In a 6-week study of overweight older women, the ones who consumed flaxseed had a greater increase in insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels compared to the women who took a probiotic or placebo. Generally, fiber coming from whole foods seems to be more effective at decreasing insulin levels than fiber found in supplements, even though the results are mixed. One study found that a combination of fiber from both whole foods and supplements reduced insulin the most. At the same time, another study found that insulin levels decreased when individuals ate black beans, but not when they took fiber in supplement form.
The bottom line is that soluble fiber, particularly the one contained in whole foods, has been shown to raise insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels, especially in people with type II diabetes or obesity.
Lose belly fat
The accumulation of belly fat (or more commonly known as abdominal fat) and sometimes visceral fat is linked to lots of health issues. Having too much of it around the abdomen causes insulin resistance, which in turn is the main trigger for hyperinsulinemia(29, 30, 31).
Even more interesting, one study found that individuals who lost belly fat retained their insulin sensitivity, even after they regained part of the fat back. However, people who have high insulin levels often find it very hard to get rid of the excess weight. One study found that those who had the highest insulin levels not only lost weight very slowly but also regained the most weight after a while.
There are several methods you can try to lose abdominal fat effectively, which in the end should help in lowering your insulin levels. The bottom line is that losing abdominal fat can increase your insulin sensitivity and help decrease your insulin levels.
Drink green tea
Green tea is a beverage that is packed with nutrients beneficial to your health. It has a high content of an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Numerous studies have found that it might help combat insulin resistance.
One study, in particular, found that people who had high insulin levels and drank green tea extract, experienced a small reduction in insulin levels over the course of one year, while the ones that took a placebo experienced an increase.
In a detailed analysis of 17 studies, scientists discovered that green tea had the ability to drastically lower fasting insulin levels. However, not all high-quality studies have concluded that green tea decreases insulin levels or increases insulin sensitivity, which means that so far, the results are mixed. Either way, you should try it out for yourself and see if your body responds well to it.
Eat fatty fish
There are lots of reasons to eat fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and herring. They are filled with high-quality protein and are the without a contest the best sources of long-chained omega-3 fatty, which offer tremendous health benefits. Research has shown the fatty fish consumption can also help decrease insulin resistance in overweight people and those who have gestational diabetes.(35, 36, 37, 38).
A study in women with polycystic ovary syndrome found a significant 8% decrease in insulin levels in a group that took fish oil, compared to a group that only took a placebo. Another study in overweight children and adolescents found that taking fish oil supplements drastically decreased insulin resistance and triglyceride levels.
Long-chained omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish might help decrease insulin resistance, as well as insulin levels.
Eat an optimal amount of protein
Getting an adequate amount of protein at every meal can be very beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight and insulin levels. One study which followed obese older women found that their insulin levels had decreased after eating a breakfast rich in protein compared to a low-protein breakfast.
They also felt satiated and consumed fewer calories during lunchtime. However, consuming protein stimulates insulin production which also allows the muscles to take up more amino acids. This means that eating high amounts of protein will lead to increased insulin levels.
Additionally, some protein types seem to trigger greater insulin responses than others. A study found that casein and whey protein in dairy products increased insulin levels even higher than ordinary bread in people with no health issues. However, the insulin response to protein coming from dairy products may vary from individual to individual.
A recent study showed that insulin levels increased in a similar manner in obese women and men after consuming meals containing dairy or beef. Another study in overweight adults found that a diet high in dairy products led to increased insulin levels compared to a high-beef one.
The bottom line is that avoiding consuming too much protein, especially the one coming from dairy products, can help prevent the excessive increase of insulin levels after meal consumption. High insulin levels can be the cause of numerous health problems.
Following the steps above can increase your insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels, which will help you lose the excess weight, lower the risk of disease and improve your quality of life.