You can improve your insulin resistance with PCOS with these simple tips!
First, what is insulin resistance?
Most people with PCOS have high insulin or insulin resistance (near 70%). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps your body’s cells use glucose from the blood.
When you have insulin resistance, the cells are not responding to insulin and not allowing glucose into the cells efficiently. Yet, insulin is still being made and released, resulting in high insulin levels and often, high blood glucose (sugar).
Insulin resistance drives PCOS symptoms like cravings, fatigue, weight gain, skin tags, dark patches of skin, high androgens, and menstrual cycle irregularities.
Addressing insulin resistance is essential to improving and eliminating PCOS symptoms.
How do you fix insulin resistance?
If you find that you have insulin resistance, you’ll want to get on top of it right away! Insulin resistance can eventually lead to prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.
Seek out a medical provider like an endocrinologist and/or a dietitian to help you find the best ways to improve insulin resistance for your individual needs and lifestyle. Medications, like metformin, are often prescribed to those with PCOS as a means of improving insulin resistance.
However, there are also many ways to improve insulin resistance through nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle modifications as well. And no this doesn’t mean you have to start dieting, cutting out all the carbs, or running 10 miles a day!
Here’s 5 simple tips to get you started:
- Include protein at meals and snacks: Protein helps keep you fuller longer, and helps slow the body’s response to sugar which can help prevent large spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Eat more fiber: The current recommendation for adults in 25-35 grams per day. Fiber helps to slow digestion of carbohydrate foods to improve blood sugar response, promotes gut health, and satisfies hunger. Foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts/seeds contain fiber. These foods often contain nutrients that help to improve inflammation as well.
- Add fats to meals and snacks: Fats, especially unsaturated fats and omega-3s, can keep you full, contribute to blood sugar balance, and may improve inflammation.
- Engage in movement you enjoy each day: Both cardio and strength training may improve insulin sensitivity. Even simply walking is beneficial.
- Take steps to reduce stress: Chronic stress leads to high cortisol levels, which can contribute to high blood sugar and insulin resistance. Determine your individual stressors (work, relationships, school, dieting, health, etc) and take necessary steps to reduce and manage your stress.
There is much confusion around insulin resistance, PCOS, and what to do about it. The fact of the matter is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
Working with a dietitian who specializes in PCOS can provide you with the support and guidance you need to understand what may be helpful for YOUR body. I help those with PCOS balance hormones, eliminate symptoms and experience peace with their body and food. Learn more about 1:1 Peace with PCOS Academy here!