6 Hormones That TRIGGER Belly Fat Storage (and how to control them)

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Article source: The Science of Eating

No one wants excess fat hanging around the waist, but for so many, that is often the first place it goes and the last place it leaves.

One thing everyone should know is that losing belly fat shouldn’t just be done to to look better. Those “love handles” aren’t just unattractive, carrying that extra weight around the abdomen is really bad for your health. It is so much worse to carry weight on your middle rather than carrying weight on your hips or thighs, and it is a key indicator of a hormonal imbalance.

If you have struggled to lose weight or keep it off, your hormones are could very likley be the problem. Your hormones play a part in every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings. Any form of hormonal imbalance will sabotage weight loss efforts, regardless of your diet and exercise habits.

One thing everyone should know is that losing belly fat shouldn’t just be done to to look better. Those “love handles” aren’t just unattractive, carrying that extra weight around the abdomen is really bad for your health. It is so much worse to carry weight on your middle rather than carrying weight on your hips or thighs, and it is a key indicator of a hormonal imbalance.

If you have struggled to lose weight or keep it off, your hormones are could very likley be the problem. Your hormones play a part in every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings. Any form of hormonal imbalance will sabotage weight loss efforts, regardless of your diet and exercise habits.

Hormones That Trigger Belly Fat

 

Abdominal fat also sets the stage for aging, increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. A program to get rid of this stubborn fat must include proper diet, exercise, sleep and motivation, as all of these components work well to boost fat loss. First lets break down each of the hormonal players in this process, and list the suggestions for that will help get you back on track. Extra belly fat can indicate one or more of the following hormonal imbalances:

  • High Insulin
  • High Estrogen
  • Low Testosterone
  • High Cortisol
  • Low DHEA
  • Low Growth Hormone

 

Controlling Insulin Levels

 

Insulin is an essential substance that helps process sugar in the bloodstream and carry it to cells where it is used as fuel, or stored as fat. Having high blood insulin levels is a risk factor for developing belly fat as well as, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The primary cause if high insulin levels is excess intake of sugar or refined carbohydrates typical of many diets today. This includes nutrient-poor items such as processed foods, sugary drinks and sodas, packaged low-fat foods, along with insufficient protein & fiber intake and inadequate “good” fat consumption. Insulin resistance can also be attributed to a lack of exercise, overindulging in alcohol, too much stress, a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and excess body fat, especially around the abdomen.

Chronically high levels of insulin can lead to a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome, otherwise known as insulin resistance which only furthers weight gain. It is currently estimated that 1 out of every 4 North Americans has insulin resistance.

Foods To Help

 

A study published in Diabetes Care (March 2002) found a higher-protein diet helps to shed stubborn belly fat, as researchers compared a high-protein diet with a low-protein diet in 54 obese men and women with type 2 diabetes. Those on the high-protein diet had significantly greater reductions in total and abdominal fat mass and a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol.

By trying to get about 20 to 25 grams per meal and about 15 to 20 grams per snack for women, and an extra 10 g of protein per meal and 5 g per snack for men, is a good place to start depending on your body size and workout schedule. Higher protein intake keeps blood sugar balanced and insulin levels low which is a must for appetite control and fat loss. Protein also packs a hormonal punch because it stimulates the fat-burning and appetite-controlling hormones when we consume it in the right amounts.  Your best protein options are lean, organic forms like chicken, turkey, low-fat cheese, such as ricotta or cottage cheese, omega-3 eggs and shellfish, such as scallops that are 100% protein.

Eating more dark green vegetables and fiber-rich, whole-grain foods, while consuming less alcohol and foods containing trans fats and added sugars is also super helpful in controlling insulin levels.

Controlling Estrogen Levels

 

Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen levels in the body are at a much higher level than other sex hormones, mainly progesterone. Symptoms of estrogen dominance are obesity, with fat accumulating in the mid-section, fibrocystic breasts and ovaries, menstrual irregularity, headaches and often breast cancer.

Abdominal fat in men increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. As estrogen levels increase, so does the tendency to accumulate more abdominal fat, as does the risk of prostate cancer. A premenopausal woman with high levels of estrogen will likely have PMS, too much body fat around the hips and difficulty losing weight. Men ans well as menopausal women can experience low libido, memory loss, poor motivation, depression, loss of muscle mass, and increased belly fat.

Foods To Help

 

One easy way to help control the level of estrogen in the body is through your diet. Plant foods contain natural chemicals called phytonutrients or phytochemicals. These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats, but have also been studied for their estrogen-like activity. Two nutrients known as isoflavonoids (genistein and daidzien, from soybeans) and lignans (from nuts and flax seeds) are converted by the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract into compounds that have estrogen-like properties. To derive the most benefit from these phytonutrients the flora of the intestinal tract must be in a healthy balance. Unfortunately, the intestinal flora is killed off by many drugs that women commonly use, especially antibiotics.

Phytoestrogen content varies in different foods, and may vary significantly within the same group of foods. Some food richest in phytoestrogen content are nuts, seeds, soy products, and legumes. Flaxseed and other oilseeds contained the highest total phytoestrogen content, followed by soybean, soy milk, tempeh and tofu. But you can also find them in sesame seeds, wheat, berries, oats, barley, dried beans, lentils, yams, rice, alfalfa, mung beans, apples, carrots, pomegranates, wheat germ, rice bran, ginseng, fennel and anise.

Raising Testosterone Levels

 

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that affects more than just sex drive. This hormone is also responsible for bone and muscle health, sperm production, and hair growth. Testosterone levels tend to taper off as we age, but also if we become obese or too stressed.  Testosterone levels are caused to decrease as abdominal fat converts it to estrogen, and also with increasing stress. While you are under stress, your body will tend to make more stress hormone (cortisol) than testosterone.

Today men are experiencing testosterone decline much earlier in life, which is quite an alarming finding, considering low testosterone has been linked to depression, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease and even death. Researchers from the University of Washington found that men with low testosterone are more likely to develop a potbelly and other body fat. They also found that testosterone may prompt the loss of body fat when deficient levels are replaced.

Other signs that you may have low testosterone levels include a loss of muscle tissue, and decreased strength, stamina, drive and motivation. Low testosterone or low T, is often medically treated to prevent future health problems, but you can also consume more testosterone-boosting foods as a natural complement to low T treatments.

Foods That Help

 

  • Oysters: These contain zinc, which in addition to increasing testosterone, increases muscle growth, physical endurance, and sperm production.
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Bananas
  • Brazil nuts
  • Eggs

 

Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium, but it’s also important for bone health, the immune system, and many other body functions. Vitamin D is also linked to longer life and testosterone production. A study from Hormone and Metabolic Research found that healthy, overweight men who were involved in a weight reduction program experienced higher testosterone levels after receiving vitamin D every day for a year.

Items Rich In Vitamin D

  • Fatty Fish: Common options include salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel.
  • Certain Mushrooms
  • Egg Yolks
  • Sunlight & Ultraviolet Lamps & Bulbs

 

Controlling Cortisol

 

When you experience stress, your body’s natural reaction is to release the hormone cortisol. In small doses, cortisol isn’t harmful to your health. But if you experience chronic stress, elevated cortisol levels over time may add to sleep, mood and memory problems, and could even contribute to abdominal obesity. Fortunately, you can fight back!

Foods That Help

 

  • Spinach: The magnesium in these leafy greens help balance your body’s production of cortisol.
  • Beans & Barley: These foods are rich phosphatidylserine, and you can add them to your diet to help calm your nerves and improve your sleep.
  • Citrus Fruits: When stress is getting you down, replace carb-rich snacks with a variety of citrus fruit, as research has shown that vitamin C-rich produce, like oranges and kiwis, help slow the production of cortisol.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Studies show that omega-3s not only inhibit inflammation, but also help to reduce cortisol levels and perceived stress. If pills and supplements don’t excite you, try incorporating omega-rich mackerel, haddock, sardines, flaxseed and walnuts into your daily meal plan.
  • Zinc: Studies have shown zinc can help inhibit the secretion of cortisol. Fight off stress by adding foods like spinach, seafood, nuts, pumpkin seeds, beef, beans, mushrooms, chicken, pork, & cacao into your diet.
  • Dark Chocolate & Cacao: The naturally occurring antioxidants in dark chocolate can help your body decrease inflammation and slow cortisol production.

 

Controlling DHEA Levels

 

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands, that affects all systems and a balanced level is important to overall health. DHEA influences our ability to lose fat and gain muscle. It boosts libido and helps us feel motivated, youthful and energetic. DHEA levels decrease as you age, starting by the time you reach 30. DHEA works well for age-related disorders, which is why it is often referred to as the “fountain of youth hormone”, and below are a bunch of other important processes it aids.

  • Improves Memory
  • Strengthens Immune System
  • Helps With Erectile Dysfunction
  • Boosts Sex Drive
  • Provides More Energy
  • Glowing Skin
  • Helps Maintaining Cardiovascular Health
  • Aids Weight Loss
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol) levels
  • Promotes Sleep and Boosts Mood
  • Helps Reduce Fear & Stress
  • Blocks or Reduces the Activity of Carcinogens

 

Cortisol and DHEA have opposing effects, so DHEA levels get lowered with the release of cortisol, which in turn is released during stressful situations or depression. Studies even show that low DHEA and depression go hand in hand. So, by increasing DHEA levels, you can get rid of the symptoms of depression, as increased levels of DHEA help cancel the adverse effects of stress hormones. Since stress lowers DHEA levels, it is necessary to lead a stress-free life. Practice yoga and meditation, as it could help relieve stress.

Foods That Help

 

Certain foods such as yams and soybeans help the body to produce more DHEA, if needed. In fact, yams are used to produce synthetic DHEA supplements. If the body has enough DHEA, it will not produce any more, no matter what your diet. This is a safety mechanism controlled by the brain and the adrenal gland. Certain foods such as those high in omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seeds, salmon and olive oil might also help the body to better use its naturally produced DHEA.

Regulating Growth Hormone

 

This hormone affects just about every cell in the body and has a major impact on our feelings, actions and appearance. Growth hormone is released during deep sleep and while we exercise. It’s essential for tissue repair, muscle building, bone density, and healthy body composition. Because this hormone also tends to decline with age, growth hormone supplements are often promoted to slow the effects of aging. A 2007 study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism linked abdominal obesity in postmenopausal women with low growth hormone secretion, elevated inflammatory markers and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Foods That Help

 

  • Pineapple: According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology pineapple increases HGH levels when eaten before bed, as its filled with natural substances that help release melatonin and serotonin. But that’s not all, they also boost testosterone.
  • Fava Beans: These beans are filled with L-Dopa which has been shown to generate a huge increase in Human Growth Hormone, while also boosting dopamine and testosterone.
  • Goji Berries: Filled with TONS of nutrients, making them incredible for your hormones. Containing compounds that stimulate the pineal gland to produce more HGH, and are also filled with L-Glutamine and L-Arginine that also help boost production.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut increases HGH and studies have shown a huge increase in production just 30-90 minutes after consumption.
  • Grassfed Beef: Filled with bio-active amino-acids like L-Ornithine, L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Glutamine, and L-Argininealong, along with substances like carnitine and coenzyme-Q10, which all help to increase HGH levels.
  • Greek Yogurt: (organic and unpasteurized) is very beneficial for HGH levels because it’s very rich source of L-Glutamine, one of the amino acids.
  • Raw Chocolate/Cacao: Quite possibly the richest source of tryptophan known to a man, which is known for its ability to stimulate the pituiary gland to produce more HGH and dopamine. Tryptophan also improves your sleep, in turn enhances the production of HGH.
  • Algae: Different algaes like Chlorella or Spirulina are well known for their ability to increase Human Growth Hormone secretion. Chlorella contains such powerful growth factors that the algae quadruples itself in a day.
  • Eggs: (preferably organic) are filled with powerful growth factors like all the essential amino-acids, vitamins A, E, D, K, multiple forms of vitamin B, DHA, EPA, growth increasing peptides and so much more.
  • Watermelon: These are exceptionally high in L-Citrulline, an amino-acid that converts into arginine in our bodies, and arginine has been clinically proven to increase Human Growth Hormone Naturally.
  • Parmesan: Organic Parmesan and other cheeses made from raw milk have been shown to contain growth increasing peptides, which stimulate Human Growth Hormone production. Most “real” cheeses also contain a lot of bio-available protein.
  • Nuts: Almost all kinds of nuts are full of L-Arginine, which stimulates the production of natural Human Growth Hormone. L-Arginine is also the #1 ingredient in all of the commercial HGH supplements.
  • Raisins: Rich in L-Arginine, an amino-acids which stimulates growth hormone secretion. Raisins are also known for their ability to increase testosterone levels due to the high contents of boron they have.
  • Whey Protein: Used with resistance training, this will increase HGH production significantly. That’s not a big surprise as whey is filled with growth enhancing amino-acids that stimulate muscle growth. When purchasing whey, avoid products that have been denatured and filled with coloring agents, fillers and sweeteners like aspartame or asesulfame K.
  • Beets: Beets are very alkaline and balance the often acidic pH of the body. This helps our hormonal system function better, and generates very beneficial results for your HGH.
  • Lemons: These are also alkaline, and help in the same manor as the beets as stated above.
  • Water: This is one of the most important items to increase Human Growth Hormone levels naturally, along with other hormones like testosterone. When you’re drinking a lot of water, you’re constantly hydrated which helps your hormonal system to operate at it’s peak 24/7.

 

Article source: Science alert
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Crazy Wrap Momma

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Disclaimer: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author, Drew Canole, and the associated www.fitlife.tv are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician. Drew Canole and Fitlife.tv claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.

Drew Canole

Drew Canole

CEO at Fitlife.tv
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.

As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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