When it comes to dieting, listening to your body’s cues can lead to a successful journey. Knowing when you’re actually hungry and when you’re emotionally eating or just thirsty is essential in long-term weight loss and maintenance. Logically, you know you should stop eating when you are full. However, it can often be more complicated than that. Various hormones in your body trigger you to start and stop eating. What if the hormone that tells you to stop eating could be controlled by the foods you eat?
WHAT IS LEPTIN?
Leptin is a hormone that plays a role in various parts of the body, including the brain, lungs, kidneys, spleen, heart and liver. Primarily, leptin tells your body when you are full. It signals the brain to stop eating based on the expansion of your stomach. The more food in your stomach, the harder leptin signals you to put down the fork.
WHAT EFFECTS LEPTIN LEVELS?
Weight and food consumption are two controllable factors that affect the amount of leptin in your body. Since fat cells produce leptin, body mass index (BMI) has been linked to high levels of leptin in the blood. The more you weigh, the more leptin in your body. Thus, obesity (BMI >30) leads to increased leptin levels.
Also, diet has been shown to affect the levels of leptin in the body. Since leptin and the immune system work together, consuming anti-inflammatory alkaline foods make you more sensitive to leptin levels. This can potentially lead to weight loss and a healthier body.
INCREASED LEPTIN LEVELS
What are the downfalls of increased leptin levels? Firstly, the pro-inflammatory nature of leptin leads to inflammation in your organs and tissues. This inflammation causes disruption and leads to various diseases, such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Chronic inflammation can cause a multitude of painful and debilitating diseases.
Secondly, chronically high levels of leptin may lead to leptin resistance. This means your body does not respond as well to the normal levels of leptin. More leptin is required to signal your brain to tell you to stop eating. Also, emotional eating can be a trigger of leptin resistance if you stop listening to your body’s cues.
The pH scale is used to determine acidity and alkalinity. The scale is from 0 to 14 with 0 to 6.9 being acidic, 7.1 to 14 being alkaline and 7 being neutral. Most diseases live in an acidic environment, so your body’s goal is to be between 7.3 and 7.4, which is slightly alkaline.
Limiting consumption of acid-forming foods and eating more of the alkaline-forming foods can protect your body from disease by decreasing leptin levels and inflammation. Since alkaline-forming foods are anti-inflammatory, it gives your body a chance to achieve normal leptin levels.
Most alkaline foods are plant-based proteins, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. These are avocado, summer black radish, alfalfa grass, barley grass, cucumber, kale, jicama, wheat grass, broccoli, oregano, garlic, ginger, green beans, endive, cabbage, celery, red beet, almonds, navy beans, lima beans, watermelon, tomato, figs and ripe bananas. (See the Healing Foods Diet).
Acid-forming foods include refined sugar, hydrogenated oil, dairy, grain and animal fat. Foods to limit are beer, coffee, liquor, sweetened fruit juice, conventional beef, pork veal, canned tuna, canned sardines, artificial sweeteners, oats, cold cuts, milk, pasta, rice and bread.
For more on anti-inflammatory foods and recipes, check out my Real Food Diet Cookbook.
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