Why Should You Care About Leptin?
Would you believe me if I told you that if you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up that your day will be completely changed? You will feel more balanced with less hunger and cravings. It’s true – all you need are healthy leptin levels!
What is leptin? It is a hormone that was only just discovered in 1994. Per WebMD and Dr. Robert Lustig, leptin is our body’s starvation hormone and “...is the way your fat cells tell your brain that your energy thermostat is set right.” It is good to reset leptin every morning in order to avoid unhealthy cravings and excess hunger.
I have a bigger appetite in the first part of the day and less in the afternoon/evening. In the past, I’d have breakfast (typically a fruit and veg smoothie) and would be hungry – starving – by 10 AM. When lunch arrived, I would ditch the healthier choice and go in search for something not optimal. Any of this sound familiar?
I have worked hard to adopt the practice of eating first thing in the morning over the last few years. It is challenging to remember but after incorporating the habit and then forgetting for a few days, I've certainly noticed a huge difference in how my day goes, hunger-wise. On the days that I do get my breakfast within a half hour of waking, I am fully satisfied until the lunch hour and look forward to eating a healthful meal. In general, it has been a way for me to feel incredibly balanced all day.
I generally start the day with a smoothie that is packed with lots of greens and other vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, etc.), a bit of lowglycemic fruit (e.g. blueberries), fat (for example, flax or chia seeds) and additional protein in the form of hemp or a vegan protein powder. I used to make my smoothies with only fruits and vegetables and they never satisfied me for long – no matter how much I changed the mixture. I feel much better drinking the smoothies that have these added fat and protein!
Resetting the body’s leptin has many positive benefits. When one is in leptin-resistance, it is said that the brain is starved and will not read the cues from the body telling it that it is satisfied and to stop eating. Once the body is leptin steady, it will experience additional benefits – such as weight loss, improved mood and sleep (especially for women).
One can reset leptin with a healthy diet. Dr. Mercola advises consuming a one that is low in sugar, grains and processed food. Focus on enjoying a whole food diet with healthy fats (yum – avocado!) and proteins that will allow the body to avoid blood sugar spikes. In doing this, the body will also experience lower inflammation – a super added benefit for overall and long-term health.
Each person will have a different response to adopting this eating-upon-rising practice based on their individual state of health. Obviously, results may vary, but I highly encourage you to try it for a period of time and see how you feel after a few weeks.
“...about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle comes from your diet, and the remaining 20 percent from exercise – but it’s a very important 20 percent, as it acts in tandem with and boosts the benefits derived from a proper diet.” – Dr. Mercola.