3 Easy Ways to Balance Leptin, the Diet Hormone
So when my clients talk about their weight, I have found a lot of people may not be aware of how certain hormones affect and control their appetites and diet choices.
If you have never heard of the leptin hormone before and are struggling with your weight or appetite control, I have some tips for you! Let’s dive in.
What is Leptin?
So first of all, leptin tells your brain when your body needs more fuel (energy) or when you have a full belly. It is, in its essence, a diet hormone.
Specifically, leptin is a vital hormone that regulates your appetite and how much you eat which in turn affects your weight. It is a fat cell protein-turned-hormone that, when released from your fat cells, acts on your brain to help control your diet.
A variety of hormones are produced by different glands throughout your body and help regulate many major bodily functions. They are transported through your tissue fluids such as your blood. Leptin, particularly, is only released from the fat cells in your body. Then, they signal your hypothalamus, or the part of your brain that helps control eating.
Think of leptin as your personal trainer. When you are full, leptin tells your brain to quit eating. So when you are eating a meal and you start to fill full, that means leptin has reached your brain and is signaling to your body to stop eating.
What is Leptin Resistance?
Do you ever feel like you are gaining too much weight but still crave more food? It may be partially caused by either too much or too little leptin.
Here are two major ways leptin may be holding you back from your health goals:
1. You can end up with leptin resistance which is a condition that dulls the sensitivity to leptin in your brain. It can be caused by your body producing too much leptin. It’s kind of like any other repetitive task--you do it too much, and you become insensitive to the overall effect it has on you. This resistance can lead to obesity and for children, and it can delay puberty if not controlled in time.
2. While it is rare, some people are leptin-deficient from birth due to their bodies naturally unable to produce leptin. This is called congenital leptin deficiency. So, your body is not producing leptin from fat cells which makes your mind believe you are not full.
When leptin is absent or stops signaling your brain, it can lead to uncontrollable appetites and obesity if you are not careful. You may be thinking: “Serena, if leptin controls body weight and appetite, shouldn’t I just increase my leptin through my diet and take supplements for better control?”
I would say, “no,” unless you have congenital leptin deficiency. Remember, if you have too much leptin in your system, it can cause leptin resistance, and you will constantly think you need to eat more!
Three Natural Ways to Help Balance Leptin Levels
Just for you, here are three natural ways you can begin to control and balance your leptin levels:
Watch your Sugar Intake
If you eat food with lots of added sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup, you may run the risk of inducing leptin resistance, and we don’t want that! And yes, if you forget to balance your natural sugars from fruit, let’s say, you can also run into the same problem.
One solution I recommend is to add a healthy, nutrient-dense mixture of fruits and veggies to your diet. If you’re too busy to think of ways to do this, check out my Just Add Water™ line for balanced fruits and veggies and more on the go!
Increase Polyphenols in Your Diet
Polyphenols are natural chemicals that come from plants. The less processed your food is, the more polyphenols you will receive when you eat them. That’s why I lean more towards a whole food diet.
So where can you get these little natural wonders?
You can find polyphenols in:
- Fruits like apples, blueberries, pomegranates, and strawberries
- Vegetables like onions, carrots, and spinach
- Seeds, nuts, and legumes such as black beans, almonds, and flaxseed
- Spices and seasonings such as cumin, basil, curry powder, and saffron
- Drinks such as red wine, coffee, and tea
See! There’s a lot of great options and probably many items you consume already.
When you increase polyphenol levels, it helps reduce your inflammation of the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that controls your diet. This reduction in inflammation will increase your leptin sensitivity meaning a more controlled diet. Yes!
It’s true, my dear reader. When you take a jog or practice yoga, inflammation in your body can decrease and this equals more sensitivity to leptin. I like to exercise at least a few times a week to help balance my leptin levels.
I hope you learned a little bit today about the effects your leptin levels have on your diet and appetite! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
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XO - Serena