Coach's Corner

8 Ways to Kick Cravings

How to Boost GLP-1 Naturally


Jeni O'Neill

June 25, 2024

Different vegetables with vibrant colors

Do you struggle with cravings and find it difficult to avoid the processed foods that are keeping you stuck in your health journey? You’re not alone.

Ultra-processed “foods” are highly engineered to light up the reward centers of your brain, rev up your hunger hormones, and keep you coming back for more. One burger, fried onion rings and soda

You’ve probably heard of the new diabetes and weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy, which are GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. Hopefully, you’ve read Dr. Hartman’s article connecting GLP-1 and gut health.

From his article, we learned that we can boost our own production of GLP-1 through diet and lifestyle. And we know that GLP-1 reduces cravings and promotes satiety. All this results in us being able to choose the salad over the pizza and the berries over the chips more often.

So what are some specific ways that we can make more of our own GLP-1?


Natural Strategies to Boost GLP-1

1. Increase Short-Chain Fatty Acid (SCFA) Production with Fiber

An image of fermented foods

We make these short-chain fatty acids when fiber is fermented in the gut. They play a vital role in boosting GLP-1 levels. Eating more fiber-rich foods and incorporating probiotics and low-sugar fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso can enhance SCFA production. Ideally, we would eat 1-3 servings of these fermented foods daily to support gut health and GLP-1 secretion.

2. Eat More Colorful Foods (and I don’t mean Skittles!)

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants found in colorful fruits and vegetables. These compounds help stimulate GLP-1 release. Including a variety of colorful phytonutrient-rich foods in your diet, such as berries, grapes, dark leafy greens, herbs, and spices – even coffee and tea – can provide a broad spectrum of polyphenols. This not only supports GLP-1 levels but also offers numerous other health benefits such as lower cholesterol, improved blood pressure, better insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation.

3. Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes

Person holding a towel on his shoulders

Maintaining blood sugar levels within a healthy range is crucial for overall health and for boosting GLP-1. Avoiding spikes in blood sugar by consuming balanced meals with a mix of protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help. Regular physical activity and monitoring your carbohydrate intake are also essential strategies to prevent insulin resistance and support GLP-1 function. Monitoring your blood sugar levels with an inexpensive at-home glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor can help you determine which foods in your diet are causing your blood sugar to spike.

4. Prioritize Protein

We have nutrient-sensing cells in our gut that are responsible for producing GLP-1, and protein intake is a significant stimulator of these cells. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient! Including high-quality protein sources such as meat, turkey, eggs, legumes, hemp, and quinoa in your diet can enhance GLP-1 secretion. Aim for balanced meals that include adequate protein to support metabolic health and appetite regulation.

5. Eat More Greens

Thylakoids, found in the chloroplasts of green plants like spinach, kale, and broccoli, can boost GLP-1 levels and help reduce hunger. Eating 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of these greens can have beneficial effects on appetite and GLP-1 secretion. Incorporating more leafy greens into your diet is a simple and effective way to enhance GLP-1 naturally.

6. Drink Green Tea

Green tea and matcha are rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound that can stimulate GLP-1 release. Regularly drinking green tea can support weight management and metabolic health. Aim for 2-3 cups of green tea, or 1-2 cups of matcha daily to take advantage of its GLP-1 boosting and antioxidant properties. Check out this blog post for more on the benefits of green tea and ways to add it to your day.

7. Incorporate Curcumin

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has also been shown to enhance GLP-1 levels. Adding turmeric to your diet through curries, smoothies, or golden milk can provide a natural boost to GLP-1. Pairing turmeric with black pepper enhances its absorption and effectiveness.

8. Inhibit the Enzyme that Breaks Down GLP-1

Our bodies also make an enzyme, called DPP-4, that breaks down GLP-1. By inhibiting this enzyme, we can help maintain higher GLP-1 levels. Foods like black beans, oregano, rosemary, and guava contain natural compounds that inhibit DPP-4. Incorporating these foods into your diet can support sustained GLP-1 activity and metabolic health.


And Here’s a Bonus!

Eating nutrient-dense foods not only boosts GLP-1 production but ALSO boosts your body’s production of GLP-2 (NOT available in a shot), which improves your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This helps our bodies get the most from the good foods we’re giving it. Using these strategies can support your metabolic health, give you more energy, manage your weight, improve health, and speed healing.

Need help putting these strategies into practice?

This is a great topic for a discussion with your health coach. A good coach can help you assess your current reality with these (and other) foundational lifestyle habits. Then together you can make a plan of doable, realistic goals to move your health game forward.

Are you ready to take the next step in your health? Email us today at info@richmondfunctionalmedicine.com and find out how you can get your appointment on the calendar.

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