Diabetes is an unfortunate reality for millions of people worldwide. Currently, it’s the world’s fastest growing chronic disease condition and one of the biggest causes of morbidity with nearly 400 million people expected to suffer from the disease by 2030.
Diabetes is caused when the body’s sensitivity to insulin is reduced. Eating too much fat, meat and sugar in combination lead to higher levels of fat inside cells. These fat-engorged cells then become less efficient at extracting sugar from the blood, requiring more and more insulin. Higher levels of insulin, in turn, promote more weight gain and fat storage, leading to a cycle that can result in obesity and diabetes.
The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to prevent diabetes by improving your insulin sensitivity and putting your pancreas under less strain. Check out these ideas.
Trick #1: Hug Somebody You Love
In the West, we’ve gotten used to the idea that there’s a separation between the mind and the body. It’s called the “mind-body” duality, and it has a significant impact on the way we think about the world. In essence, it’s the idea that our thoughts don’t affect the world around us. No matter how much we want to levitate our cars and fly them across town to work, reality won’t oblige.
But when it comes to the body, Western thinking has taken this mind-body duality too far. While it’s true that our minds can manipulate external physical reality, they can cause knock-on effects within our body. Science is showing that how we think really can affect how our bodies function.
Take insulin sensitivity, for instance. It can be increased by a chemical called oxytocin, something that our bodies secrete during positive social interactions. Without this chemical, insulin sensitivity actually declines, which might be why people who live by themselves have worse health outcomes than those who don’t. Researchers tested the theory by spraying extra oxytocin up people’s noses to see if it had an effect. But you don’t need to carry around nasal spray with you all day long to stave off diabetes. All you need are things like hugs, great conversations and lots of sex.
Trick #2: Sleep In A Hammock
Bed sleeping has become the norm for most people living in Europe and North America. But research has shown that hammock sleeping might actually be better for you. It’s long been known that getting a good night’s sleep helps improve insulin sensitivity. Sleep helps us cells clear out all the junk which can get in the way of the insulin signal. It also helps us resist snacking on junk food throughout the day. Now researchers have shown that the same is true for sleeping in a hammock, perhaps to an even greater extent.
Trick #3: Cook With Ginger And Garlic
Ginger and garlic are delicious to cook with and provide the basis for Chinese and Indian cooking. But they’re also incredibly good for you. Ginger is actually a part of the same family of vegetables as turmeric – a spice which has dozens of purported health benefits. Garlic is great too, helping to maintain a balanced microbiome. Both ginger and garlic have also been shown to help with insulin sensitivity and diabetes in the lab. Ginger, for instance, helps many type 2 diabetic patients regain their insulin sensitivity, partially reversing their condition. Garlic has also been shown to be beneficial in animal experiments, helping fructose-fed rats do the same.
Trick #4: Meditate
Remember what we said about “mind-body” duality? Well, nothing quite breaks down the barriers between the two more than meditation. The reason meditation has been practiced by Eastern cultures for millennia is that it has life-affirming and improving outcomes. Science has shown that it helps to reduce the levels of hormones in the body, like the stress hormone cortisol, which can be damaging if they remain at too high a level for too long.
Meditation also helps to get the body out of the “fight or flight” state, something which temporarily increases the amount of sugar in the blood stream (just in case it is needed to run away from a threat). This reduces the amount of insulin required, helping to improve insulin sensitivity in the process.
Trick #5: Drink Plenty Of Tea
Insulin resistance occurs when insulin molecules come knocking on the cellular door, but the cell doesn’t allow any sugar in causing levels in the bloodstream to spike. Researchers have shown, however, that green tea reduces insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes, allowing them to take fewer insulin shots.