Leptin is a hormone that helps manage appetite levels. If you are feeling lethargic or if you want to lose a little bit of weight, you may require more leptin in your system. Leptin works by informing your brain about how much you have in your fat reserves. These emergency reserves are available to your body when immediate or regular nutrition is not available. With weight gain, your leptin communication becomes confused, and you develop a resistance to leptin. This can cause continued weight gain that becomes very difficult to lose.
Increase your daily dietary fiber consumption by eating high-fiber foods such as whole grains, legumes, oatmeal and celery. Fiber gives you a feeling of fullness, causing your intestinal tract to send a signal to your brain to release more leptin.
Increase your daily whole vegetable and fruit consumption. As fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water, while low in calories, eating more will tell your brain that you are full, without a high calorie intake. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 cups of fresh fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day for a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Choose whole fruits and vegetables rather than juice, as they will ensure you consume their full fiber content, and help you avoid added sugar or salt, which are commonly added to vegetable and fruit juices.
Sleep the recommended 8 hours a day if possible. If not, sleep more in general as your body makes less leptin if you don’t get enough rest. If you’ve ever felt hungrier the day after a poor night’s sleep, this is because your leptin levels have dropped and are telling your brain you need to eat.
Stop eating after supper, or your final meal of the day. Snacking after supper is sometimes triggered by leptin production in the evening, making you think you are hungrier than you actually are. Not eating after supper, even if you feel munchy, can help increase your leptin levels.
Increase your omega-3 fatty acid consumption through supplements or eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and sardines. Omega-3 fatty acids help increase leptin levels by combating inflammation causing molecules, which are the main reason leptin resistance develops, especially among people who are overweight. A 1-cup serving of sardines contains almost 8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, or, polyunsaturated fat. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends limiting your omega-3 fatty acid consumption to no more than 3 grams per day if you are taking supplements.