Understanding Inflammation and Insulin Resistance
In 2017 the CDC estimated that more than 100 million Americans were living with prediabetes or diabetes. In a country of some 300 million people, this statistic accounts for almost one third of the population. And while this statistic is most certainly alarming, what is even more concerning is the percentage of pre-diabetic Americans who are unaware of the fact that they fall within this category.
Pre-diabetes, as defined as having higher than normal blood sugar levels, is a condition that is caused by the body’s struggle to take in sugar and turn it into energy. Instead of getting absorbed into our cells, the sugar sits in our bloodstream for longer, causing a rise in inflammation. The key to unlocking this gateway in our body is a hormone called insulin. But when insulin is unable to turn the lock and let sugar into our cells, it is known as insulin resistance. Research is finding that, what keeps sugar out of where it is intended to go – all starts with inflammation.
When we think of inflammation, many of us tend to associate it with an injury such as an ankle sprain or a bump from a hard fall. While accidents are certainly one way to ignite inflammation, there are many other ways in which inflammation is fueled. Eating pro-inflammatory foods, weight gain and even something as simple as dehydration can cause inflammation to build up in the body. When inflammation becomes a regular occurrence in our everyday lives, insulin resistance occurs as well.
Fighting Inflammation with Diet & Exercise
Fried foods, sugar and refined carbohydrate diets all increase inflammation in the body. Refined carbohydrates include foods such as white bread and buns, white rice, cakes, crackers, cookies and pastries. When someone consumes these foods on a regular basis, they are also regularly revving up their inflammation.
In addition to minimizing your intake of these foods, there are foods that can also help reduce your inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods work to reduce inflammation in a variety of ways; which is why eating a variety of anti-inflammatory foods, especially on a daily basis, creates a synergistic effect with the body’s natural anti-inflammatory combat! Some of the very best anti-inflammatory foods that you can add to your routine are:
Dark leafy greens including foods such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard, mustard greens, and collard greens
Berries especially blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries
Non-starchy vegetables in a variety of colors such as red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow bell peppers, green broccoli, and purple cabbage
Healthy fats especially avocado, pistachios, macadamia nuts and raw sunflower seeds
While these four food factors can have incredible effects on the body’s inflammation, you can also add exercise and hydration to the mix along with a number of additional foods to help you see expedited results. As stated earlier, weight gain leads to inflammation – which can lead to more weight gain. By adding in a consistent exercise routine, you are helping your body release natural anti-inflammatory chemicals. If you are someone who has been told by your doctor that your blood sugar is elevated, this anti-inflammatory nutrition and exercise plan may be a key player in allowing you to reduce your inflammation and get back on the right track with your health. Understanding the effects that foods and exercise have on the body is the first step, feeling better is next!
At Panorama Wellness & Sports Institute, the nutrition program works with each person as an individual to tailor a plan that provides a sustainable and nutritious lifestyle, paired with one of our consistent exercise programs, we can help you help yourself in fighting inflammation and insulin resistance.