This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Hungry all the time? It turns out that certain foods, beverages and practices can trigger your body’s hunger hormones, making you feel ravenous, even if you’re not technically hungry. The good news is that you don’t need to be at the mercy of this appetite-boosting tyrant.
Your body has two main hormones that regulate eating: ghrelin, which increases appetite, and leptin, which decreases appetite. The higher the levels of ghrelin within the body, the harder it is to ignore your hunger. Even herculean efforts at self-control are sometimes inadequate to conquer the ghrelin gremlin. This villain must be attacked by adopting strategies that affect the physiological processes in your body that control hunger.
Here are 10 ways to trick and suppress your hunger hormones:
Eat foods that stretch the wall of your stomach: High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, stretch the wall of your stomach, triggering a hormonal response that makes you feel satiated because it reduces levels of ghrelin and elevates levels of leptin. Processed foods along with food products made with white flour, such as pasta, crackers, cookies and cake, don’t stretch the stomach; therefore, ghrelin levels remain high when you eat them.
Reach for pine nuts: Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that stimulates the release of cholecystokinin, a hormone that works with leptin to suppress hunger.
Up your intake of omega-3s: Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid, such as salmon, tuna, trout, kale, flaxseeds and chia seeds, helps reduce inflammation in the brain, a benefit that enables leptin to better communicate with brain cells.
Balance your digestion: Eat foods that promote a healthy gut, as imbalances in ghrelin and leptin have been associated with intestinal disorders. Probiotic foods like yogurt and fermented vegetables promote gut healing. In addition, foods containing inulin, such as onions, garlic, bananas and leeks, nourish the beneficial bacteria in the bowel.
Sip some green tea. The beverage contains a phytonutrient called epigallocatechin gallate that boosts levels of cholecystokinin.
Avoid a high fat diet: A study published in Nutrition finds eating a high-fat diet raises the production of ghrelin. This diet also changes the taste buds — when people eat too much fat, their taste sensitivity to it decreases, which means more fat is required to satisfy their hunger.
Avoid foods with fructose: Foods that are high in fructose increase ghrelin as well as prevent the normal elevation of leptin after a meal, so their ingestion can lead to the consumption of large amounts of calories.
Get enough sleep: Studies show sleeping less than seven hours every night is linked to higher ghrelin and lower leptin levels. This is why sleep-deprived people eat more.
Don’t neglect workouts: Getting regular moderate exercise helps leptin levels to function well.
Manage stress: The stress hormone cortisol triggers high-carbohydrate and high-fat cravings. Taking a walk and listening to soothing music will reduce cortisol levels. A study at the University College London suggests black tea may also help lower the stress hormone.