Foods That Can Help Balance Metabolic Hormones

by Isadora Baum, CHC

Sometimes you feel like you can't get full no matter what you eat; I know the feeling. Luckily, there are a few tricks to signal true fullness and make you satisfied and healthy. By knowing which foods fill you up and help you feel satisfied and energized for as long as possible, you'll be able to better maintain your metabolic hormone levels. When you eat in excess, you confuse your mind and body into thinking it's hungry and needs more food, when really it's simply a craving or mindlessness associated with eating. Eating too much can lead to stomach issues, body fluctuations, and a less efficient energy levels.

As a certified health coach, I encourage people to stick to a balanced way of eating for a more productive metabolism and a healthier lifestyle. Not only does monitoring your portions lead to better hormonal management, but it also can provide just the right amount of energy to power you through a work day, a workout, or a social outing. You know the moment where you've eaten too much and you're in a food coma; it doesn't feel good. By eating foods that can naturally balance your appetite to make you feel full, you'll have an easier time adapting to this lifestyle. Here are 13 foods that can help you manage your appetite and keep your hormones and metabolism balanced.

1. Salmon

Any oily fish will do, but salmon is a great choice, as it's high in omega 3 fatty acids, known to boost satiety and control appetite. "Foods with Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, can help you feeling fuller, longer," advises nutritional experts at over email with Bustle. You can also find these fats in walnuts and chia seeds.

2. Bone Broth

"Bone broth helps to normalize appetite by controlling hunger hormones like ghrelin," explains Sharon Brown, founder of Bonafide Provisions and Certified GAPS Practitioner, over email with Bustle. "Ghrelin is a hormone that’s made in the stomach that tends to rise and fall before and after meals. This hormone is one of the main instigators to giving people the munchies to eat unhealthy snacks," says Brown.

3. Lean Protein

Lean protein, in the form of animal meat, fish, legumes, and fortified whole grains, such as quinoa, is easy to find, incredibly versatile for dishes, and can suppress appetite, explains Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director at BeWell Medicine over email with Bustle. "Eating enough protein helps with satiety (feeling of fullness) and help decrease appetite and prevent overeating," says Ashe.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon doesn't just add flavor to foods without calories or sugar, but it also can regulate blood sugar levels, advises Ashe. Sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, or in your coffee. You can even make a cinnamon rub for a lean piece of meat, too.

6. Gochujang

It's OK if you haven't heard of this before (or recognize the name), but you should. According to Nayoung Shin, Head of Marketing, CJ Foods, parent company of Bibigo, over email with Bustle, "Gochujang is a thick crimson paste with a hint of sweetness followed by a spicy kick." Shin continues, "Gochujang has many health benefits. For one thing, fermented foods act like a probiotic—they’re full of good bacteria to help keep your gut healthy."

7. Hot Peppers

According to Lee Kum Kee Corporate Chef Christopher W. Wilmoth, over email with Bustle, "spicy foods and hot peppers like chili, jalapeño and habañero contain a component called capsaicin, which has been known to have a variety of benefits including boosting your metabolism," says Wilmoth. "Try adding Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Chili Sauce to your eggs or avocado toast in the morning for a delicious morning pick-me-up," says Wilmoth.

8. Ginger

"Ginger tea is an especially great suppressor of sweets," advises author and health food chef Liana Werner Gray over email with Bustle. "Add a dash of cayenne pepper and turmeric which are anti-inflammatory properties. When we are inflamed we crave more foods, so drinking this tea helps to suppress these cravings," adds Gray.

9. Green Vegetables

Eating (or drinking) green vegetables will help suppress appetite and cravings and balance out the metabolism, explains Gray. "Green juice with cucumber, celery, kale, green apple, ginger & lemon puts so many nutrients into our cells at an instant cellular level that when our body is properly nourished..." says Gray.

10. Oatmeal

Eating steel-cut oats and other forms of complex, whole grains will help balance the metabolism and hunger hormones, explains Mara Weber MS, RD, LD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, over email with Bustle. "Good carbohydrates, those complex carbs that contain fiber and help keep you full help reduce...ghrelin. Find your carbs in steel cut oats, air popped popcorn, and whole wheat bread," says Weber.

11. Avocado

Due to its high healthy fat content, avocados are great for balancing the metabolism and fueling the body, explain CEO and co-founder of FOODSTAND app, Rachna Govani and Shauna Keeler, NYC-based Chef, and RD who is also a Foodstand contributor and member, over email with Bustle. Eat on toast, as is, or toss in an omelet.

12. Almonds

Packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and protein, almonds can keep you full and regulate the metabolism, explain Govani and Keeler. It's super easy to add to trail mixes, lean meats or fish (as a crust), toast spreads, yogurt, and side dishes. In fact almonds can increase energy and happiness in the day, too.

13. Beans

Legumes and beans are great options for people who need to balance the metabolism, and can't get it in meat sources (however they're great for all people too). Eating beans and legumes is a great way to avoid mindless snacking and to keep metabolism high. Govani and Keeler recommend eating these staples to benefit the body.

If you notice you're often getting the munchies during work or can't seem to find satiety, consider adding these foods to your meals and see how you feel. They also taste great, so your taste buds will be happy.

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