Ketosis is the state in which the body produces energy (ketone body) by drawing on fat stores.
To be in ketosis, it is necessary to limit the consumption of sugar so that the glycemia (level of sugar in the blood) is low.
If you’re having trouble lowering your blood sugar, there are a few keto-friendly foods that can help you achieve ketosis faster than expected.
Here are some helpful herbs, foods, and supplements that will help you achieve or improve ketosis.
Foods To Achieve Ketosis
Cider vinegar is naturally rich in acetic acid. We now know from several studies that acetic acid reduces the glycemic response of a meal. In a study conducted by the University of Milan in Italy, researchers showed that apple cider vinegar could reduce a meal’s glycemic response by up to 31% (1).
It was also shown in another study from Lund University in Sweden that the use of acetic acid increased the intake of a meal with a glycemic index of 100 (glucose) to 64 (2).
In addition to acetic acid, apple cider vinegar promotes the production of hydrochloric acid and contains enzymes that improve protein and fat metabolism. To take advantage of its benefits, add it to your preparations as soon as possible. You can also add one to two tablespoons in a large glass of water, to drink before meals.
Note: coconut vinegar (harder to find) has the same benefits, with more minerals and amino acids.
Cinnamon is a spice that helps improve the activity of insulin receptors. It also helps to inhibit enzymes that block insulin receptors. It is also a very powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation of cell membranes and insulin receptors (3).
Another advantage, cinnamon also has the ability to improve lipid profiles (good and bad cholesterol). To take advantage of its benefits, you can add cinnamon almost anywhere, to your dishes, soups, drinks, etc.
Lemon and lime are fruits that are compatible with the ketogenic diet. Their advantage is that they contain citric acid. The latter helps naturally lower blood sugar. In addition, they contain antioxidants and trace elements like potassium which help regulate blood sugar and support liver function.
To reduce your blood sugar and improve ketosis, don’t hesitate to add it as soon as possible in your sauces, dressings or even just with water.
Chromium and vanadium
Chromium works by increasing the functioning of glucose transport molecules called GLUT4 in the liver and muscle tissue. For this, it allows the transfer of GLUT4 proteins inside the cell to a position located on the cell membrane.
This action allows glucose to enter the cell where it can be metabolized for energy. This makes it possible to stabilize the glycemia (4) and therefore to decrease the secretions of insulin.
Vanadium is a unique mineral that reduces blood sugar by mimicking the action of insulin and improving the sensitivity of cells to insulin (5).
This climbing green shrub is native to the tropical forests of southern India and Sri Lanka. Also called gurmar, these leaves have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. In Hindi, gurmar means “sugar destroyer” because it helps reduce cravings for sugar and naturally balances blood sugar.
Gymnema also contains many powerful phytonutrients, including triterpenoids with adaptogenic properties that improve the body’s ability to respond to stress. It also helps reduce fasting blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and glycosylated plasma protein levels.
Gymnema has also been shown to reduce serum triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL as well (6).
The carnitine was first identified in the animal meat. It owes its name to the Latin word “carnus” flesh. This nutrient is essential for fat metabolism and energy production in the mitochondria.
It is this molecule which ensures the passage of fatty acids in the mitochondrial furnace. Thanks to it, the energy produced by muscle cells (including the heart) can come up to 70% from the burning of fat (7).
Low carnitine levels reduce the body’s ability to use fat for energy. The direct consequence is an increase in blood sugar (gluconeogenesis) to prevent the cells from running out of fuel.
To stay in ketosis, be sure not to run out of L-carnitine. The best way to get enough is to consume animal products and why not take it through food supplements.
Alpha lipoic acid
It is a powerful antioxidant that is both water soluble and fat soluble. This unique characteristic allows it to be absorbed and transported to many organs such as the brain, liver and nerves. Alpha lipoic acid is so powerful that it is able to regenerate vitamins C and E as well as other major antioxidants like glutathione and CoQ10.
This makes it a must-have protector for the mitochondria (the energy-producing factories in cells), against damage caused by oxidative stress. The interest of this antioxidant is that it helps to have less damaged and more mitochondria, allowing to produce more energy (8) .
Moreover, the results of studies show that alpha-lipoic acid improves insulin resistance and helps lower blood pressure (9).
There is an exceptional arsenal of herbal remedies called adaptogens that help the body cope better with stress.
To achieve this, they regulate the production of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline 12 .
The most famous adaptogenic plants are ginseng, ginkgo biloba, rhodiola, maca…etc.
Some people respond better to certain adaptogens than others, so be sure to assess how you feel and monitor your level of ketosis.
Fermented foods like yogurt to coconut milk, coconut milk kefir, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi are extremely beneficial for the digestive system and improve bowel motility.
These detox foods often considered superfoods contain natural acids that stabilize blood sugar.
Additionally, probiotics, enzymes, and other bioactive nutrients help improve digestion and ketosis (10).
Be careful though if you have a histamine intolerance, because if fermented foods are often recommended to cleanse the intestinal flora, these products or other foods (such as chocolate among others) can be the cause of health problems.
Achieving ketosis faster is a great plan to kickstart your weight loss. Tell us which foods above you’re likely to eat everyday to get into ketosis?
- Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7796781/
- Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9630389/
- Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14633804/
- Chromium activates glucose transporter 4 trafficking and enhances insulin-stimulated glucose transport in 3T3-L1 adipocytes via a cholesterol-dependent mechanism https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16339278/
- Effects of vanadium (III, IV, V)-chlorodipicolinate on glycolysis and antioxidant status in the liver of STZ-induced diabetic rats https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24747360/