Metabolic Health

Our metabolism, which refers to how well we produce energy in the body (among other things), requires proper functioning and cellular biology in order to maintain health. Metabolic health can also be defined as the absence of any of the following markers: elevated fasting blood glucose, high blood pressure, excess waistline measurement, high triglycerides, and low HDL.

As we realize more and more that keeping our blood sugar levels stable can be key to maintaining metabolic health, it becomes important to familiarize ourselves with the foods that do not raise our blood sugar significantly. These low-glycemic foods can still impact some people’s glucose responses to a greater degree, so it is up to you to progressively figure out which foods work best with your biology. What follows is a basic list of foods (vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds), that will help you better control your blood sugar levels.

Vegetables

Root vegetables (even though healthy and better than grains for many) may raise blood sugar slightly more. See how your body responds when eating them.

  • Artichoke
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Celery root
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce of all varieties
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rapini (broccoli raab)
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabaga
  • Snow peas and snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Turnip greens
  • Zucchini

Fruits

Berries are the ideal low-glycemic fruit. Portion-size matters of course. Also, eating fruits along with nut butters or seeds, for instance, will help lessen the blood-sugar spike from fruits.

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Kiwi

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are awesome snacks providing fat, protein, and micronutrients, whether you are on the go or not.

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

In Summary

If we manage to stabilize our blood sugar levels and keep them in the optimum range throughout our lifetime, this may be the simplest way to maintain health and wellness, have longevity, and feel good all along!

Until next time!

References

The Levels Team. “110 Foods Unlikely to Spike Your Blood Sugar.” Levels, 25 May 2021, http://www.levelshealth.com/blog/here-are-foods-unlikely-to-spike-your-blood-sugar. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

“The Secret to Longevity, Reversing Disease and Optimizing Health: Fixing Metabolism with Dr. Casey Means | the Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.” Shows.acast.com, 11 Aug. 2021, shows.acast.com/the-doctors-farmacy/episodes/the-secret-to-longevity-reversing-disease-and-optimal-health. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

You can also find me on Instagram.

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Joint Health

In my last blog post, I shared a few simple strategies to maintain joint health. Sitting less, walking more, going barefoot whenever possible, stretching and foam rolling are all inexpensive ways to take care of your joints for the years to come. It is also important to know that certain foods can help keep cartilage, tendons, and ligaments strong and healthy. What follows is a list of foods beneficial to the joints and easy to have on hand.

Bone Broth

Bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing beverage by traditional cultures. This collagen-rich brew offers numerous joint-healthy ingredients: glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur. I love having a cup of bone broth at the end of the day!

Sulfate-Containing Vegetables

Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, and onions have sulfate, which combines with chondroitin to make cartilage.

Bioflavonoids

Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, acai berries, cinnamon, red cabbage and onions all have anthocyanidins that help boost the connective tissue in joints by forming links between collagen fibers. Berries are such a great addition to smoothies!

Zinc-Containing Foods

Zinc is a mineral needed for the production of connective tissue. Grass-fed beef, lamb, oysters, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds offer high doses of it.

Copper-Containing Foods

Copper is a mineral needed for the maturation of collagen. Copper can be found in avocados, cacao, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews, for instance.

In Summary

Most of these joint-healthy foods can be consumed every day as simple snack options. They can be part of a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Nourishing and supporting your joints has never been easier!

Until next time!

Reference

Axe, Josh. “5 Foods for Your Joints That Will Nourish Your Connective Tissue.” Dr. Axe, 18 Jan. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/foods-for-your-joints/. Accessed 17 July 2021.

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What to Prioritize

No matter where we are in age, there are always things we can tweak in order to feel better. To improve or simply maintain our health and energy levels as we get older, there are numerous things we need to work on. Once you start digging, it can look like a never-ending list of strategies to implement and it can be overwhelming. Maybe you don’t know where to start or maybe you are not sure at times that you can keep the goals you have set for yourself.

It’s important to keep in mind that only three things are at the foundation of feeling better: adequate sleep, nutrient-dense foods (which implies doing away with processed foods), and enough exercise/movement throughout the day. These are the pillars needed to build a stronger you. There is more to add to that, of course, but if you don’t prioritize these three things first, whatever else you implement will fall short.

Adequate Sleep

In How to Be Well, Dr. Frank Lipman said, “Some reasons to make sleep a priority: it’s when your body repairs, restores, maintains, and detoxifies itself. How you sleep is as important as how you live during waking hours.” Dr. Lipman recommends, for instance, to:

  • Go to bed when you’re tired.
  • Don’t eat your evening meals too late.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Leave technology (and TV) out of the bedroom.
  • Sleep in a very dark room.
  • Stay comfortably cool at night (in a room that is around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit) as it has been demonstrated that one sleeps better that way.
  • Don’t go to sleep angry.

Nutrient-dense Foods

I had mentioned in a previous post about The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid which types of foods someone should consider eating (according to the primal/paleo template). The bulk of any meal is vegetables. In smaller quantities then comes meat, fish, fowl, and eggs. The middle of the pyramid highlights the importance of consuming healthy fats, followed by certain foods you can eat in small amounts. Lastly, herbs, spices, extracts, and supplements top the pyramid of primal-approved foods.

Keep in mind that even these primal-approved foods may not work well for everyone. It is up to you to experiment and see how your body responds to each food you consume. To be more attuned to your body and how foods make you feel on a daily basis is part of becoming more knowledgeable about your health and overall wellness.

Exercise/Movement Throughout the Day

In a previous post about The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, I had explained how moving and exercising enough shouldn’t feel like yet another challenging goal to put on your to-do-list. Our ancestors were doing basic functional movements (squat, crawl, walk, run, jump, climb, carry, throw, etc.) when going about their daily activities.

Our lifestyle has changed tremendously over the centuries, especially in the last 100 years, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot throw in a few stretches and bodyweight exercises (for instance) as simple 1-2-minute-breaks throughout the day every day. Moving frequently, exercising your muscles and getting your heart rate up occasionally is all you have to do.

In Summary

Adequate sleep, better-quality foods, and exercise/movement throughout the day are the necessary first steps on your quest to feeling better before implementing other strategies. The same goes if you want to address daily stress. When we feel rested and with a nice flow of energy, we feel grounded and able to deal with each day’s ups and downs.

Until next time!

References

Gottfried, Sara. Younger : A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. New York, Ny, Harperone, 2017, pp. 68–69.


Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 108-9.

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Why consume omega-3 fats?

The importance of omega-3 fats is unquestionable due to the numerous health benefits that come from them. Omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fats. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the three main types. As stated in Keto Answers, we must consume omega-3 fats because they are a major contributor to cellular function. Omega-3 fats have an important part in maintaining our heart health, blood vessels, lungs, immune system/gut, and endocrine system. They help reduce inflammation and joint pain. Omega-3 fats also have a strong impact on the health of our brain (as the brain is 60 percent fat and half of that is the omega-3 fat DHA).

What are good sources of omega-3 fats?

As mentioned in my previous post, Which Fish are Okay to Buy, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish. You can get a high amount of omega-3 fats in the following fish:

  • Salmon
  • Herring 
  • Sardines
  • Trout 
  • Oysters 
  • Anchovies

You can also get a good amount of omega-3 fats from:

  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts 
  • Grass-fed/grass-finished beef

My omega-3 index and omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio

Last month, I decided to have my omega-3 index and my omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio checked by ordering the test from Life Extension. I was happy to find out that my omega-3 index is 9.56% (the optimal range being between 8% and 12%) and my omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio is 3.5:1 (the optimal range being under 4:1). There is still room for improvement, and this test is a nice way for me to see that I can add a little extra fish/krill oil to my daily regimen and consume more of the foods mentioned above.

Were you aware of the importance of omega-3 fats? What are your favorite omega-3-fat-rich foods?

References

Dinicolantonio, James, and Joseph Mercola. Super Fuel : Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health. Carlsbad, California, Hay House Inc, 2018, pp. 170, 173.

Gundry, Steven R. The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy : The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free. New York, Ny, Harper Wave, An Imprint Of Harpercollinspublishers, 2019, p. 155.

Gustin, Anthony, and Chris Irvin. Keto Answers : Simplifying Everything You Need to Know about the World’s Most Confusing Diet. Middletown, De, Four Pillar Health, 2019, pp. 253–260.

You can also find me on Instagram.