H is for Hormones

NUTRITION TIP THURSDAY

H | Hormones

by Lindsey Herr

There are many hormones in the human body that have a wide range of functions. Did you know that some hormones are able to effect our hunger and weight?

Cortisol:

When you are in times of stress, your body does its best to prepare you for whatever lies ahead. It does this by pumping out cortisol- which holds on to visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that likes to hang out around your waist. Long term stress and lack of stress management can lead to a lot of fat being stored and not used. This can create health issues along with the undesired, added bulk. Decreasing stress can do amazing things for your health. Try yoga, reading, running, playing with animals, or a hot bubble bath/shower.

Leptin:

Leptin lowers your appetite making it a great weight loss hormone. Leptin production can be increased by a diet that contains plenty of omega-3's and foods with EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) to stimulate the production of the hormone. However, the older we get, the less sensitive we become to the hormone and the harder it can be to lose weight. Try foods like wild salmon, mackerel, and sardines to stimulate leptin. Lack of sleep also lowers leptin and increases ghrelin- leptin’s total opposite.

Ghrelin:

Produced by your stomach, ghrelin lets your body know when you are hungry. Skipping a meal will make your ghrelin levels increase. This is why it is not advised to skip a protein-focused breakfast. Ghrelin is high in the morning since you’ve fasted all night, so you really need to fuel yourself first thing to keep hunger at bay. If you do not eat within about 1 hour of waking, you are more likely to settle for whatever food is nearest instead of making smart eating decisions. Protein has been found to be the best among macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) at keeping ghrelin at bay. Try eating a hard boiled egg and fruit for breakfast along with a good protein source at all other meals and snacks.

 

In Summary, here’s what you want:

Increased Leptin, Lower Ghrelin, Lower Cortisol

Here's how you do it:

  • Sleep more

  • Find relief for your stress

  • Eat plenty of protein throughout the day (including breakfast)

  • Eat foods that have Omega-3’s


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