The (Ozempic-Like) Ayurvedic Diet for Boosting GLP-1

The (Ozempic-Like) Ayurvedic Diet for Boosting GLP-1

GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide 1) has made headlines because of a class of weight loss drugs like Ozempic called GLP-1 agonists, which raise GLP-1 levels. Some drugs, like Ozempic, have a lasting GLP-1 stimulating effect while others, like Byetta, have a short term acting effect. While these drugs have become extremely popular, they are very expensive and they are not without side effects.

In this article I will describe how GLP-1 works and suggest an Ayurvedic diet rich in foods that naturally boost levels of GLP-1. First, let’s dissect this mysterious weight loss peptide. 

In This Article

What is GLP-1, Exactly?

GLP-1 is a specific peptide that regulates blood sugar in the body. A peptide is a chain of amino acids bound together with peptide bonds that are the building blocks of proteins. These peptides come in innumerable shapes that act as keys that regulate innumerable functions of the body.

The GLP-1 peptide is made in the gut, and is secreted when blood sugar levels are high. GLP-1 increases the production of insulin from the pancreatic beta cells (which lowers blood sugar levels). You may know of Ozempic as a diabetes medication. The GLP-1’s ability to restore the healthy insulin production from pancreatic beta cells means that GLP-1 protects the pancreas from diabetes-related depleted insulin production. In addition to supporting healthy insulin and weight loss, GLP-1 also slows the emptying of the stomach, creating a feeling of fullness that results in eating less food and calories while also telling the brain’s appetite and hunger centers that you are sufficiently fed. 

GLP-1 is not to be confused with the hormone glucagon, which is produced in the alpha cells of the pancreas (instead of the beta cells) and has the exact opposite effect of insulin. When insulin levels go up to lower blood sugar, glucagon levels go down. If the insulin lowers blood sugar too much, glucagon levels will rise. Glucagon is secreted in times of low blood sugar, triggering the release of stored glucose in an attempt to raise blood sugar levels and block further insulin production until the blood sugar is normalized. 

The most common side effects from GLP-1 agonists (like Ozempic) are nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of muscle mass. It can also cause swelling, shortness of breath, thyroid tumors in mice and cause inflammation of the kidney, gallbladder, pancreas, and eyes.

Seasonal Foods and The Ayurvedic Diet That Increases GLP-1

According to Ayurveda, weight gain, diabetes, and many other degenerative health concerns are caused by chronic stress. When we are under stress, we store fat and crave more sugar. With continued stress, blood sugar levels stay high in order to fuel a stress response, leading to more cravings and unprecedented levels of pre-diabetes. The higher the blood sugar (and the more chronically sugar levels  stay elevated), we see a rise in HB A1C.  This is a test that measures blood sugar levels over a 3 month average. The A1C test calculates the average blood sugar levels by measuring glycation (the percentage of sugar molecules that are stuck to a protein molecule in your blood). The higher the glycation levels (advanced glycation end products), the greater the risk of degenerative health concerns. 

See also Superfoods for Your Body Type: Winter Edition

GLP-1 agonists are designed to lower the body’s stress response by lowering blood sugar levels. Research suggests that there are many foods that naturally boost GLP-1 levels while helping to mitigate stress.

The diet that Ayurveda recommends to raise GLP-1 levels and mitigate such stress is called a vata diet. Vata, which translates to air, is the governing principle of the nervous system. So, when we are under stress, vata goes up… as does weight and blood sugar. A vata diet is typically a fall-harvested diet of heavier foods that are higher in good fats, protein, and soluble fiber that serve as an antidote to the cold and dry qualities of winter. These heavier fall-harvested foods (like nuts, seeds, fish, and grains) are high in protein and fat that provide reserve fuel and needed insulation for the colder winter months. These same foods have been found to raise GLP-1 levels. Nature always balances the extreme of each season with its harvest.

Research on the following foods show that they help to boost levels of GLP-1. They are also foods found on the vata-balancing diet. 

At LifeSpa we offer a free fall/winter grocery list for balancing vata. Download it here.

Fall/Winter Harvested Foods

According to a 2016 research review of foods that raise GLP-1,  vata-balancing things like high-fiber grains, nuts, avocados, and eggs increase GLP-1 secretion and may promote beneficial outcomes in healthy individuals as well as individuals with type 2 diabetes or other metabolic issues.


In a 2021 study, researchers found higher levels of GLP-1 after consuming a meal with an avocado compared to a control meal. The high-fat, vata-balancing avocado also helped to regulate hunger and appetite levels.

Both avocado and olive oils are excellent fats to both balance vata and increase levels of GLP-1. In the 2016 review mentioned above, researchers studying rodents found that a diet rich in olive oil actually increased GLP-1 levels, reduced weight, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased insulin secretion.

Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and omega 3 fats found in fish have also been shown to raise GLP-1 levels. In comparison, there were no positive changes in GLP-1 with omega-6 or saturated fats.

See also How Olive Oil Promotes Autophagy and Longevity


Soluble fiber has also been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels and raise GLP-1. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is primarily found in vegetable cellulose– like a celery stalk or roughage. These are primarily harvested in spring and summer. Soluble fiber  is soluble in water and becomes slimy or demulcent in the digestive tract. Examples include oatmeal, soaked chia, flax, or (my personal favorite) a combination of slippery elm, marshmallow root, and licorice root. These fall-harvested soluble fibers have been shown to balance vata, soothe the gut lining, feed a healthy microbiome, and boost GLP-1 levels.

See also Rev Up Your Gut Immunity and Microbiome with This High-Fiber Protocol


In a 2019 crossover study with eight healthy adults, they found that a higher-protein diet increased GLP-1 when compared to either higher-fat or higher-carbohydrate meals. Keeping protein levels high is crucial. Some reports from Ozempic users found a loss of muscle mass, suggesting that increasing lean protein may provide protection from frailty while naturally increasing GLP-1. Both proteins are found in the vata-balancing diet and winter grocery list.

Finally, a 2021 study found that berberine, turmeric, cinnamon, tea, wheat, soybeans, resveratrol and gardenia can all positively increase GLP-1 levels.

12 Foods To Naturally Boost GLP-1 Levels

In summary, here are the key vata-balancing foods that are fall and winter harvested and naturally boost GLP-1 levels.

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Dr. John

1 thought on “The (Ozempic-Like) Ayurvedic Diet for Boosting GLP-1”

  1. Thanks, John…does this mean that some of us should be eating from the fall and winter vata list even in the spring?


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