Stephanie Woods via NaturalHealth365 – Did you know that you have a “hunger hormone” which controls your desire to eat? It’s true. In fact, two hormones work in concert to keep your hunger in balance. One, ghrelin, turns your hunger on and the other, leptin, turns it off.
When these two hormones are in perfect balance, you have a healthy appetite and are not inclined to overdo it. However, if one or both are not working as they should, it can cause you to chronically overeat, which can lead to obesity and health conditions that are linked to obesity.
These TWO Hormones Regulate Your Appetite – Here Is How
Ghrelin and leptin work together to let you know when you are hungry and when you are satiated. They are the regulators of your appetite.
- Ghrelin – This hormone tells the body when it needs to eat to prevent starvation and to encourage the intake of necessary fuel for energy. The stomach releases ghrelin, which acts quickly and should significantly decrease once you are full.
- Leptin – This hormone is the appetite off switch. It signals your brain that your body has consumed enough fuel and is now ready to begin burning fat for energy. It works in a more long-term capacity where ghrelin is more of a rapid rise and fall.
Many issues can throw these hormones off balance. For example, health conditions, lifestyle choices, genetics, sleep habits, and obesity can affect how well or poorly hunger hormones function.
What Is Leptin Resistance?
Leptin is created in adipose tissue or fat cells. People who are overweight or obese have more fat cells and often have higher leptin levels in their bodies. This creates an environment where the body is constantly exposed to high levels of leptin, and the body often responds by building a resistance to it.
This decreases, often dramatically, the hormone’s appetite suppression abilities. When the brain doesn’t receive that “I’m full” signal, it thinks that the body requires more food or it will starve. This leads it to continue sending the message to eat, which increases the fat cells, increasing the leptin, and causing the body to become even more resistant. It is a difficult cycle that isn’t easy to break.
Here Are Some of the Best Ways to Get Your Hunger Hormones Under Control
When your hunger hormones are out of balance, it is best to address both the potential for leptin resistance as well as malfunctioning ghrelin.
- Remove processed foods from your diet.
- Switch to healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
- Consume healthy carbs like whole grains, quinoa, and stone-ground whole wheat
- Opt for lean protein and healthy animal fats such as fatty fish (salmon, and sardines), pasture-raised, grass-fed beef, chicken, and lamb
- Choose plant-based proteins like legumes or spirulina
- Exercise regularly. Even moderate aerobic exercise can reduce leptin resistance
- Eliminate added sugar in all forms and high-fructose corn syrup from your diet.
- Get quality sleep every night. 8 to 10 hours of sleep is considered optimal, especially when increasing leptin sensitivity
- Stay hydrated. Plain (clean) water is always good, but broths and soups also count, and foods with a lot of water like salads, melon, and eggplant.
- Chew your food – very well.
- And, finally, look into the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Simply put, if you believe that your hunger hormones are working against you, talking with your integrative healthcare provider could get you on the right track to getting them under control. There are treatments available, and a good health coach can help you create a plan that works best for you.
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