Insulin is an essential hormone that controls your blood sugar levels.
It’s made in your pancreas and helps move sugar from your blood into your cells for storage. When cells are insulin resistant, they can’t use insulin effectively, leaving your blood sugar high.
When your pancreas senses high blood sugar, it makes more insulin to overcome the resistance and reduce your blood sugar.
Over time, this can deplete the pancreas of insulin-producing cells, which is common in type 2 diabetes. Also, prolonged high blood sugar can damage nerves and organs.
You’re most at risk of insulin resistance if you have prediabetes or a family history of type 2 diabetes, as well as if you are overweight or obese.
Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive your cells are to insulin. Improving it can help you reduce insulin resistance and the risk of many diseases, including diabetes.
Here are 14 natural, science-backed ways to boost your insulin sensitivity.
1. Get More Sleep
A good night’s sleep is important for your health.
For example, one study in nine healthy volunteers found that getting just four hours of sleep in one night reduced insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar, compared to getting eight and a half hours of sleep (4).
Fortunately, catching up on lost sleep can reverse the effects of poor sleep on insulin resistance (5).
Summary: A lack of sleep can harm your health and may increase insulin resistance. Making up for lost sleep may help reverse its effects.
2. Exercise More
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity.
It helps move sugar into the muscles for storage and promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the exercise (6).
For example, one study found that 60 minutes of cycling on a machine at a moderate pace increased insulin sensitivity for 48 hours among healthy volunteers (7).
Resistance training also helps increase insulin sensitivity.
Many studies have found it increased insulin sensitivity among men and women with or…