Hunger is said to be one of the important factors of a healthy and properly functioning body. The fact that you feel hungry indicates that your digestion is in good shape and that your body requires fuel to carry out its daily activities. But what if even after eating, this feeling of hunger refuses to abate? Many of us feel hungry all the time in spite of consuming food and drinks at our regular meal times. We end up reaching out for unhealthy snacks and processed food to satiate ourselves. It is important to understand the reasons behind these untimely hunger cravings and how we can tackle them with expert-suggested foods and tips.
Why Do We Feel Hungry All The Time? What Causes Hunger Cravings?
The body's functions are carried out by various hormones, and the feeling of hunger is regulated by a hormone called ghrelin. Production of ghrelin stimulates appetite. The constant feeling of hunger may make the stomach muscles contract. It is important to identify whether we feel hungry at mealtimes or between meals, and healthy ways to tackle these hunger cravings.
Nutritionist Lovneet Batra recently shared an Instagram post explaining why some people tend to feel hungry all the time. "An unchecked increase in appetite can be explained by inadequate diet and certain lifestyle habits or even by medications you take. But more often, there may be other choices you are making during the day that might unintentionally add fuel to your endless appetite," she explained. Thus, if you are not eating enough nutrient-rich food, or due to other medical conditions or lifestyle patterns you may feel constant hunger pangs in the body.
Expert-Suggested Diet Tips To Tackle Hunger Effectively
As Batra suggested, certain tweaks can be made to daily lifestyle patterns to tackle the hunger feeling. You can start with these daily habits and see the difference in your overall eating patterns.
1. Get enough sleep
Sleeping at regular timings and getting adequate sleep are crucial for regulating hunger. If you play around with your sleep cycle, chances are that you'll feel hungry at odd hours. "Sleeping enough is a factor in appetite control, as it regulates ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone," said Batra in her post.
2. Pay attention to food
Studies suggest that those who are distracted tend to eat more and do not realise when they are full. Pay attention to your meals and be mindful of what you are eating. "Try to chew slowly and thoroughly, which will allow you to better recognise your body's fullness signals and consume fewer calories," said Ritika Sammdar, Regional Head, Dietitics at Max Healthcare.
3. Snack Mindfully
Sometimes, we just feel the need to snack without even feeling hungry. It is important to identify whether the urge to snack is caused by boredom than actual need. Pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you, and if you really want to snack, pick options which are healthy. "The first thing you should do if you frequently find yourself facing fierce hunger pangs is munching on snacks that are healthy," adds Sammdar.
4. Drink Plenty Of Water
The body often confuses the feeling of hunger and thirst. It is important to distinguish between the two, and sometimes, just having a glass of water can do the trick. Make sure to drink plenty of water at regular intervals throughout the day. This will tackle food cravings and keep hunger at bay for longer.
5. Foods To Eat To Feel Full And Satiated
Apart from these diet tips and expert-suggested tweaks, there are certain foods that you can add to the diet. Foods that are rich in fibre and protein are ideal to keep hunger pangs at bay and tackle untimely hunger pangs.
Here are some foods that you can consider adding to your diet:
- Proteins - It takes longer to digest protein and they also give the feeling of fullness in the body. You can take your pick from options like a boiled egg, sprouts, fish, chicken, cottage cheese or paneer, legumes and more.
- Fibres - The more fibre you add to your diet, the more satiated you'll feel. If you feel hungry all the time, fibre-rich foods can make for an excellent addition to your diet. Try foods like oatmeal, almonds, flaxseeds, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Starchy Carbohydrates - Instead of processed carbs and simple carbs, opt for starchy carbs or healthy carbs instead. These take some time to be broken down by the digestive tract and thus promote satiety. Some foods rich in starchy carbohydrates are potatoes, whole grains, millet and beans. Find the full list of healthy carbs here.
So, keep untimely hunger pangs at bay and try these simple tricks and foods for the best results.
About Aditi AhujaAditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.