How To Increase Insulin Production Naturally

One theme that has proven to be routinely visited on this blog is diabetes, insulin, and blood sugar… and for good reason. Diabetes has long been tied to most every major condition and is quickly climbing the ranks of the leading causes of death in America.

Of course most people don’t just have diabetes, they bring it upon themselves with their diet and lifestyle. The exception to this being Type-1 diabetes however type-2 is far more common in America.

For those with pre-diabetes these are two fundamental problems to deal with. Pre-diabetes means your fasting blood sugar levels are too high and insulin production must be higher than normal to bring blood sugar levels back under control. Unfortunately insulin resistance tends to make this more difficult and causes the body to require an increase in insulin production above and beyond what normal healthy individuals require before lowering insulin levels back to normal after blood sugar levels decrease.

Naturally you can assume that reducing insulin resistance is key to improving your health however increasing insulin production is also high on the list. If your body can produce more insulin then in theory your blood sugar levels should return to normal levels quicker resulting in less damage to your body. This begs the question of how to increase insulin production naturally and preferably with food or exercise.

There are actually not many foods that directly increase insulin production. Most insulin producing foods actually have the effect of managing blood sugar levels more efficiently or keeping blood sugar levels from climbing to fast or high rather than actually increasing insulin levels. This allows normal levels of insulin to work a little bit better however recent research by a group of medical scientists have identified in laboratory settings a unique finding when it comes to increasing insulin production with food.

Increasing Insulin Production Naturally With Red Cherries

Reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry a group of scientists led by Muraleedharan G. Nair, PhD found that a chemical called anthocyanins found in red cherries was able to increase insulin production by roughly 50 percent. The study authors were quick to point out that eating a lot of cherries would not necessarily help a person lower blood sugar faster because of an increase in insulin production because of the sugar content in cherries however a cherry extract might just do the trick.

If you are fighting the symptoms of pre-diabetes or insulin resistance then maybe picking up some cherry extract to have with your meals may help. You surely can’t rely on just doing this alone to get healthy but assuming you are changing your diet and improving your exercise regimen naturally increasing insulin production sure can’t hurt.

Other Ways To Improve Insulin Production

There are of course numerous ways (in addition to supplementing with red cherry extract) to help improve natural insulin production. If you want more structured guidance on how to do it take a look at this post on reversing type 2 diabetes naturally and improving insulin insulin sensitivity with the right foods and lifestyle choices. You could increase the amount of insulin your body produces or you could fix the underlying problem in the first place. Check it out.

Cherries can help but there are other things you can do to naturally reverse pre-diabetes. Drop your email in the box below to find out more.

How To Lower Cortisol Levels Naturally

Reduce Cortisol

A while back I had my cholesterol levels checked as well as my blood pressure and fasting blood sugar levels checked. Actually I wasn’t fasting at the time so my readings for that test were obviously high. A normal blood sugar range is a level below 100 and mine was somewhere around 140 at the time… which is in the normal range for a healthy person who has just had breakfast.

Anyway, the nice lady who tested my blood was slightly concerned about my blood pressure as it was the only thing that she could latch onto as a potential problem. My weight and cholesterol levels were amazing but my blood pressure was around 125 over 80. She asked if I drank coffee and a happily responded with a resounding yes. Even the thought of coffee makes me happy; I'm such an dork.

To my surprise she told me that I shouldn’t drink coffee at all because it raises my cortisol levels and also plays a role in my elevated blood pressure.

Now, I know caffeine raises blood pressure (see my post on the leading causes of hypertension for more triggers) and it should be a place to cut back on if a blood pressure problem starts cropping up but I figure 125 over 80 isn’t that bad... but what is this business about my cortisol levels being too high, especially since she didn't even test them?

Doing some research I’ve found out a bit about this hormone but admittedly, I’m still a little short on full understanding of this hormone in it's entirety.

What Is Cortisol

Cortisol as it turns out is a hormone that “is produced by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland and is one of the primary factors in the body’s stress response… it raises blood pressure during times of stress.”

I’m not going to go into this too much as a lot of my info is simply regurgitated from other people who know about this topic that I do. has this to say about what Cortisol does:

“The body needs cortisol in order to function properly. And there is quite a complex system in place in charge of regulating this substance. Basically, the hypothalamus releases CRH, which then triggers the pituitary gland to release ACTH. ACTH then encourages the adrenal cortex in the adrenal glands in the body to produce more cortisol. When you are highly stressed, pregnant, depressed, very athletic, an alcoholic or suffer from a panic disorder, you will have high levels of cortisol.

As you can see, it is all about balance when it comes to cortisol in the body. And when that balance is thrown off, serious problems can arise.

If you have too much cortisol you may end up with Cushing’s Syndrome, which can manifest itself by means of obesity in the upper body and very thin limbs. Or, if you do not have enough cortisol, you may end up with Addison’s Disease, a very serious condition caused most often by tumors on either the pituitary or adrenal glands.”

From additional research I’ve learned that the cortisol hormone essential evolved as a survival mechanism. When stress levels got high our ability to deal with the immediate stresses or threats were raised. This is kind of like the increase in adrenaline when we get excited. The problem is however the high levels of cortisol for prolonged periods of time can be dangerous to our long term health. I did touch on this concept in a post last fall on symptoms of anxiety predicting lifespan.

This is actually quite consistent with all the posts on this blog in which I’ve described the formula for living a longer life. Check out my recent post on how to live to 100 years old for more info. In populations and groups of people who live extremely long lives, they tend to do very well with keeping stress levels low. In fact centenarians as a group almost universally have low levels of stress and have always had lifestyles that supported stress relief either through social interaction, physical exercise, or a combination of the two.

How To Lower Cortisol Levels Naturally

So then, "how to lower cortisol levels" naturally seems to be a pretty easy question to answer. Without doing much research one would surmise that simply eliminating and treating stress in your life is the best way to reduce cortisol levels naturally and safely. In fact lowering cortisol levels probably goes hand in hand with simple exercise and staying active socially… so long as you don’t overwork yourself that is.

Of course many people struggle mightily with stress and reducing it in their lives and no matter how easy it is to tell someone to exercise and relax a bit it's never that easy. If you need a structured plan to attack the stress in your life this guide to managing and beating stress in your day-to-day life may help.

You can also see my recent article on how to reduce cortisol levels with your diet to see how cutting inflammatory foods can help keep your cortisol levels lower.

In the future I want to explore this topic a little more. There actually appears to be a number of ways to lower cortisol levels but I want to take some time to review the scientific literature and medical studies that support the many claims before sharing them here on this site. In the mean time, lower your cortisol levels by lowering your stress levels. Reserve this stress hormone for your survival instinct only and you should be doing pretty good.

Update - If you haven't checked out my guide to reducing cortisol by eating anti-inflammatry foods check it out.  Thanks.

Eat Right Live Longer – It’s Easier Than You Think

I’ve been doing a good deal of reading lately and a lot of it has to do with finances; I’m not going to lie. In fact a little over a month ago I posted on Money And Longevity and a while before that I posted an article titled: Can You Afford To Live To 100 where I brought up the topic of longevity and finances and the problems longevity can create when you don’t plan on living so long.

What is strange is that financial planners actually advise people to plan on living to around 90 or so but rarely do they advise you to protect your financial future beyond that because the statistics shown few people live that long. Unfortunately the statistics also show that centenarian are the fastest growing demographic in American and are expected to double and triple in size in just a matter of a few years.

Why is this? They follow a simple mantra than many people are following today.

Eat Right Live Longer

Today we know more about nutrition and how it affects the body, much more in fact than we did many years ago when TV dinners and fast food became popular. Unfortunately we have two distinct groups of people forming in our modern society, the group that eats right and will longer and healthier lives and another group who eats cheap convenience food. For more on this phenomena check out this fabulous guest post from not too long ago titled: Can Watching TV Make You Fat and this older post titled Americans Eat Way Too Much Sugar.

The simple fact of the matter is this. If you eat poorly and stay relatively inactive throughout your life your financial planner is probably right. Planning on not making it to 90 is probably safe but with advances in modern medicine those people who stay active and eat right will likely live longer. I’d venture to say that the odds are probably more in our favor of living past 90 and close to if not into your 100s.

Personally, I’m still in my 20’s and I expect the chances of me living into my 100s to be pretty high. I follow the mantra eat right, live longer and I feel that it’s a valid and legitimate expectation considering the next 70 years of medical advancement.

For this reason it is probably safe to plan for extreme longevity and you should probably have your finances adjusted accordingly. Longevity insurance is a product that has always been available and it may be something to look into but for those who are young it’s time to start looking forward to our future. Expecting a productive life of extreme longevity is something we all need to adopt.

In the future I’m going to post a bit more about longevity insurance, as I think it’s a valid subject we should think more about and also I plan on reading the book titled Eat Right Live Longer as I am curious what it can add to the discussion. As always I do recommend the books, Longevity Made Simple and The Blue Zones which I’ve previously reviewed. Expect an eventual review of Eat Right Live Longer here on How To Live Longer in the near future.

Library, here I come.

Increasing Taxes On Soda – Will It Help?

In case you missed my post on Does Soda Cause Alzheimer's Disease or the recent guest post on Does Watching TV Make You Fat, new research has been released showing that indeed people will curb their drinking of soda if we simply tax it.

The following reports from the NY Times reported on finding from the American Medical Association:

"The American Journal of Public Health released a study this afternoon finding that when the price of soda goes up, consumption goes down." Additionally, "the 45-cent price increase on regular soda was associated with an increase in the sales of diet soft drinks. Coffee sales also increased." Notably, "consumers did not increase their purchases of juices and sugary snacks -- such as cakes and cookies -- when they slowed their purchases of sugar-sweetened soft drinks."

And also, from the LA Times:

"researchers at Harvard implemented a temporary soda tax in the cafeteria of the school's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Then they waited to see whether actual people changed their drinking habits." They found that "during a four-week period when the price of a 20-ounce bottle of soda went up by 45 cents -- which amounted to a 35% price increase -- sales fell by 26%. Meanwhile, sales of bottled diet soda rose by 20%."

Benefits Of Taxing Soda
I’ve been saying this for a while now (see my post: American's Eat Way Too Much Sugar), soda is the bain of our existence and we all drink too much of it. It has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even to Alzheimer’s disease. Anything we can do to encourage people to stop drinking so much soda should be done.

Ironically we are not only contemplating taxing soda but we should also be considering getting rid of the farm subsidy on corn as this is what makes the manufacturing of corn-syrup, the main sugar in soda and juices, so cheap. It is silly to subsidize the manufacturing of corn syrup and then tax the final product… ahh, but that’s the government for you. Ridiculous.

Resveratrol Jarrow Supplements – An Alternative To Red Wine?

I’ve talked a lot on this blog over the past year or so about healthy living and how eating right and living an active lifestyle is how you follow the path to living a longer life.  However, nutritional supplements always come into question when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of getting optimal nutrition.

Resveratrol is one such supplement which I’ve talked about a long time ago in my post Longevity And Resveratrol Supplements which you may have missed. It is found in abundance in red wine and is the primary reason why red wine is considered good for longevity. In addition it contains a lot of antioxidants, as do other alcoholic drinks, and it allows you to lower your stress levels. All of this is well documented at helping people live longer healthier lives.

Resveratrol specifically doesn’t have to come from wine and many people who do not drink alcohol for personal reasons tend to get it via nutritional supplements. The compound works in the body the same way so it really shouldn’t make any difference how you get it except in popping a pill you won’t get the stress relief or frankly the enjoyment of sipping on a glass of wine.

Resveratrol Jarrow Supplements

One popular Resveratrol supplement is Resveratrol Jarrow Supplements. Jarrow makes a wide variety of supplements and is respected in their quality so I figured they were a good candidate to take a look at. As I noted in my past post on Improving Longevity With Juvenon Supplements, not all branded supplements are a good buy.

Jarrow Resveratrol however looks to be a decent product although a bit of a premium in price compared to the raw ingredients.  Just like the Juvenon product, the difference in this being that many of the secondary components are a little less easy to find on their own making this a viable bundle supplement.

According to their label Resveratrol Jarrow supplements contain 100mg of Resveratrol as well as vitamin C, grape seed extract, grape skin extract, and green tea extract. Vitamin C obviously is pretty easy to find but I’ve never owned grape seed or grape skin extract before.  Both of these seem like they would be fitting for a Resveratrol supplement however, in actuality they are not required at all outside of their individual antioxidant value.

Overall the price is not bad either as a bottle of 60 Jarrow Resveratrol capsules can easily be found for less than $20 and the best price I can find doing a quick search for plain Resveratrol on Amazon is for a 60-count bottle for around $11. This is definitely a noticeable price difference but in this case I think the added benefit may be worth it because Resveratrol can vary in price by so much.

Personally, I’m going to continue having my wine on a near nightly basis and be done with it, but that’s just me.

Do you have any thoughts on Resveratrol? Any supplements stick out in winners in your book?

How To Live To 100 Years Old

There’s so much scientific literature out there these days on living to 100 years old that it’s hard to sift through it all. People are living to 100 and beyond with much greater frequency than in any time in our history.

Living To 100
In fact centenarians are the fastest growing demographic group in America slated to grow double many times over in the next 20 years. Their growth is even puting a strain on finances as I highlighted in my post on Money and Longevity.  I also highlighted an awe inspiring TED talk back in April on how we can avoid aging and live longer and this TED talk is along those same lines.

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones (you can see my The Blue Zones Review here) gave this talk back in September of 2009 and was published on the web in January of 2010. Dan and his team have identified pockets of longevity around the world and identified the traits that seem to cause the longevity in the population at large.

He then compared the different regions to identify common characteristics (as well as characteristics that could be combined) that would help increase longevity – essentially he identifies simple and effective ways that we can implement to live a longer life.

I’ve obviously written a lot on this blog about how to live a longer life and this talk covers a lot of the longevity tips that I’ve already highlighted but you can’t beat a great TED talk for driving a point home. Enjoy Dan Buettner’s talk on how to live to 100 years old.

How To Live To Be 100 Years Old

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Lower Your Age Related Macular Degeneration Risks At Dinner

Reduce Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risks With Kale

Here’s a random macular degeneration stat for the day.

A recent study from the The National Eye Institute found that you can decrease your risk for blindness due to Age-Related Macular Degeneration by 35% by ingesting more of the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which can be found in abundance in both eggs, spinach, and kale among others. 

Unfortunately I don't know if this pertains to dry macular degeneration or wet macular degeneration or both... but hey, it can't hurt to eat more kale.  Not only does kale help in this regard but it also contains lots of Vitamin K which helps with managing insulin levels among many other positive associations.

You may also want to catch up on some of the many benefits of eating leafy green vegtables in a post from deep in the archives that you may have missed.

More On Eye Care
…and related to eye care and decreasing your risk for long-term eye damage, remember that if you have glaucoma stay clear of situations where your eye pressure is increased such as wearing goggles when exercising.

The National Eye Institute
Macular Degeneration Suppot -

Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

Welcome to How To Live A Longer Life! This site focuses on human longevity and shows you how you can live longer by improving health and nutrition and by preventing disease. If you want to learn how to live longer then consider subscribing.