We discussed earlier how in times of food scarcity our ancestors turned to plant foods for the bulk of their diet. Many of these gathered foods were rich in phytochemicals, some of which we know to be potent activators of AMPK. When consumed as a supplement or part of a healthy diet, phytochemicals can give your AMPK machinery an added boost. There are four that you should know about:
Resveratrol is a phytochemical found in red grapes, red wine, peanuts, and blueberries. It modulates AMPK, supporting healthy metabolic function and energy production in the brain and muscles. These changes in AMPK activity may, in turn, support healthy cognitive function and exercise performance. (7,8)
Berberine is a bitter compound found in plants from the Berberis genus, including Oregon Grape and Barberry. By supporting AMPK activity, berberine promotes normal glucose levels and insulin activity. (9,10)
Quercetin is a phytochemical found in onions, capers, apples, and berries. It modulates AMPK, encouraging a healthy inflammatory response. (11,12)
Milk thistle is a time-honored herb traditionally used to support liver health. A group of phytochemicals found in milk thistle activate AMPK to support the liver, a hub for metabolic health, as well as protect levels of glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant. (13)
It’s clear: You have the nutritional tools to help activate your internal AMPK system. These changes can help you clean up your metabolism, enhance fat burning and energy levels, balance your inflammatory response, and stay vibrant — no matter your age.