Are you trying to lose weight and balance your energy levels naturally? If so, look no further than the hunger hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is released in the stomach and sends a signal to the brain telling your body it is time to eat. This hormone is considered a cyclic hormone. Ghrelin rises in the body before a meal and drops to its lowest about an hour after you have eaten. Many individuals are surprised to learn that overweight individuals typically have lower ghrelin levels and are more sensitive to ghrelin and its effects on hunger.
Control Your Hunger Hormone Ghrelin
The foods that you eat and when you eat impacts your hunger hormone ghrelin. If you are tired of unsuccessful dieting, the following six tips can help you control your hunger hormone ghrelin, minimize your cravings, reduce your hunger, and make you feel satisfied.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods and refined carbs may taste great; however, they are high in calories and low in nutrients. These processed foods and drinks have been shown to activate the reward center of the brain, resulting in overeating. When you consume a meal, a message is sent from the digestive tract to the brain signaling you have eaten enough food. Processed foods interfere with this process, resulting in dis-regulation of appetite. Avoid the following types of foods as they can increase your appetite and the desire to overeat-
- Candy, chocolate, or ice cream
- Fried foods like French fries
- Salty snacks, including chips and pretzels
- Sweet treats like brownies, cakes, cookies, donuts, pastries, or pies
- Sweetened beverages and sodas
- White bread, pitas, wraps, rolls, or tortillas
Exercise to Eradicate Weight
In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. Most doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Studies have shown that moderate exercise like running or walking actually increases ghrelin.
The best type of exercise to improve ghrelin levels is burst training. Burst training helps to improve weight loss efforts, burn belly fat, and reduce ghrelin levels. This form of exercise incorporates 30 seconds of high energy exercise, using your maximum effort, and then 30 to 60 seconds of low impact exercise, during the recovery stage. Studies have shown that there is a decline in ghrelin concentration levels following a burst training cycle. Burst training has been shown to curb your appetite long-term and help with weight loss.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a between seven and nine hours of sleep for adults has been shown to improve ghrelin levels, reduce hunger, and decrease body weight. Getting less than seven hours of sleep can cause ghrelin levels to increase and increased cravings for sweets, processed foods, and carbohydrates.
If you are having trouble getting the recommended amount of sleep, follow these sleep hygiene tips-
- Consistency is Key – Go to bed every night at the same time and wake up each morning at the same time, including the weekends.
- Make Your Bedroom Conducive to Sleep – Your bedroom should be a relaxing place that is quiet, comfortable, dark, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid Blue Lights – Blue light emitting devices like computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions can interfere with the body’s ability to produce melatonin.
- Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Large Meals in the Late Evening – Eating too late, consuming alcohol, or drinking a caffeinated beverage can interfere with a healthy nights sleep.
- Exercise – Physical activity during the day can help you get a good night’s sleep. Try to exercise early in the day to avoid interfering with your sleep schedule.
Go with Your Gut
Your gut health affects every aspect of your health. Gut bacteria can alter your appetite, affect ghrelin production, and impact your body weight. When your gut becomes imbalanced, you will experience digestive issues, bloating, and weight gain. You can improve your digestive health and weight loss efforts by eating fermented probiotic rich foods including-
- Sauerkraut (Choose an unpasteurized sauerkraut that contains live bacteria.)
- Yogurt (Read the label to ensure it has live or active cultures)
Manage Your Stress Levels
If you have ever suffered long term, chronic stress, you know how it can affect your health. During high periods of stress, you are likely to seek out high carb comfort foods, overeat, consume alcohol, not get a good night’s sleep, and be more sedentary. All of these can contribute to weight gain. Some of the best stress management techniques to incorporate into your life include-
- Deep breathing exercises
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Eat Smaller Meals Frequently
Rather than eating three large meals, try to eat six small meals throughout the day. Eating in this manner helps stabilize glucose levels, reduce the risk of overeating, minimize hunger, and stabilize ghrelin levels. Crash diets that are extreme and overly restrictive in terms of calories, can increase levels of ghrelin.
Ghrelin levels should naturally decrease after a meal and continue to stay low for approximately three hours. When ghrelin levels begin to increase, you will notice more hunger. Eating small meals throughout the day will keep you satisfied and your hunger levels at a minimum. When choosing foods, opt for nutrient dense foods like complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, and nutritious vegetables.
Ready for Healthy, Sustainable Weight Loss
Your hunger hormone ghrelin increases your appetite. In healthy adults, ghrelin decreases after meals; however, if you are eating the wrong foods, are under stress, or are not getting enough sleep, your hormones will not function properly. Making dietary changes, managing your stress levels, and getting enough exercise will help you naturally control your hunger hormones.
Our integrative medicine practitioners specialize in healthy sustainable weight loss programs. We evaluate your overall health, family history, lifestyle and exercise habits and unique dietary needs to develop a plan that is effective and easy to follow. Our recommended treatment protocols will help regulate your hunger hormones, your metabolism will increase, and your weight loss efforts will improve.