Weight loss is a widely discussed topic. Unlike yesteryears, being overweight and obese has become a normal occurrence in almost every household. As a result, more than one family member suffers from various diseases owing to their sedentary lifestyles. Doctors, therefore, stress upon the intake of certain foods to alter this condition healthily and sustainably. This topic covers the importance of fiber in our diet and how it can assist in weight loss.
What Is Fiber
Among the nutrients essential for our body, fiber is one, that should not be sidelined. An average adult needs to consume about 25-38 gms of fiber per day. Unlike other essential nutrients, fiber is not digested by the body as it lacks the enzymes needed for it, and instead, it is removed from the body through the stomach and the intestine. This is because dietary fiber or roughage, as it is also called, is highly beneficial to us in ways more than one. Some benefits of fiber are as follows:
- Helps to relieve constipation
- Reduces risk of diabetes
- Helps to get rid of certain types of cancer
- Works as a metabolic booster
- Helps in reducing weight
- Helps to maintain a healthy heart
As per Sfweekly.com, this nutrient is classified into soluble fiber, which is commonly found in oats, peas, apples, citrus, barley, etc, and insoluble fiber, which is found in wheat bran, whole wheat flour, cauliflower, potatoes, etc. As the name suggests, the former dissolves in water whilst the latter does not. Generally, fiber is also present in legumes, grains, fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, etc, and needs to be made an essential portion of our daily meals.
Why Does Our Body Need Fiber
When our body is deprived of fiber it leads to various health issues, especially those related to our gut and digestive system as a whole. Our stomach feels bloated, we experience cramps, we tend to feel sluggish and a general feeling of being unwell overpowers our peace and mind. Constipation, being overweight, diarrhea, frequent hunger pangs, unhealthy fluctuation in blood sugar levels, etc are commonly seen problems in those with fiber deficiency.
Keeping track of our daily bowel movement is necessary as this is one of the best ways we can identify fiber deficiency in our body and act upon countering it at the earliest. Along with fiber we need to drink plenty of water as well as together they promote better gut health. There are supplements as well that promises to replenish our body with its daily fiber requirement but it is always best to stick to natural sources to avoid any side effects that may arise from supplements.
How Does Fiber Promote Weight Loss
A common problem found in people struggling to lose weight is the tendency to eat more than what is required and to eat more often than needed. This can be attributed either to the person’s mentality or to the environment that they live in for eg. living amidst family and friends who are food lovers. Certain individual conditions like pregnancy, eating food at irregular intervals, leading a hectic lifestyle, lack of proper exercising all lead to weight gain. Eating a balanced diet enriched with essential nutrients is one of the best ways to ensure good health that does not add up too much to one’s body weight. For this, one needs to consume their daily dose of fiber and dedicate a larger portion of one’s meal to consuming fruits and vegetables rich in fiber. This helps to make one feel fuller for long periods of time and subsequently also reduces hunger pangs.
Make sure to eat both soluble and insoluble fiber through natural means. Avoid processed fiber-rich food those are high on sugars, transfats and preservatives to facilitate one’s fiber intake which are popular choices like granola bars, more than a single serving of cereal, etc. Instead resort to natural sources of soluble and insoluble fiber that best promotes enhanced bowel movement and helps fight constipation, makes the person feel full and energized through the day.
Best Fiber-Rich Food For Weight Loss
Listed below are some fiber-rich food that is a must-have if one is looking to lose weight:
- Brown rice – opt for brown rice when you go grocery shopping and ditch white rice. This was you replenish your body with 3 gm of fiber per cup of brown rice.
- Whole grains – starchy grains, pasta, and the likes do not serve the purpose if it is fiber you are looking to add to your diet. Opt for whole grains instead and give your body the daily dose of fiber it needs.
- Berries – not only do berries add color to your boring salad but they are also excellent sources of fiber. Out of the lot, raspberries are the ones to look out for. A single serving provides 8 gms of fiber per cup.
- Beans – of the bean varieties, navy beans, and black beans are a rich source of fiber giving up to 15 gms of fiber per single serving. Lima beans, baked beans, red kidney beans are also good sources of fiber.
- Oatmeal – be it instant, ready to cook oatmeal, or overnight soaked oatmeal, your body gets 4 gms of fiber per cup. So swap bread and cereal with oatmeal breakfasts.
- Vegetables – vegetables are excellent sources of fiber. Veggies like carrot, skin-on potatoes, broccoli, green peas, spinach, brussels sprouts, etc are excellent sources of fiber providing 2gm to 10 gm of fiber per cup, depending on the type of veggie.
- Nuts – ditch those crackers and munch nuts instead whenever you crave a snack. In this way, you provide your body with the fiber it needs. Almonds, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pecans, peanuts, etc are some options to go for.
- Seeds – Chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc are all excellent sources of fiber. Swap your processed snacks with these seeds and snack healthy.
Points To Remember
Introducing or adding on any food to your diet, and that includes going for fiber-rich food as well, should be done after conducting some research. Consume natural, whole foods that provide fiber to your body, add it to your meals in a sensible manner and keep away from supplements unless a doctor recommends it. Your digestive system needs to get used to the excess of fiber that will go into your body if you are opting for a fiber diet to lose weight, so increase the amount of fiber you consume per day gradually and steadily. Check for ingredients and scan the nutrition label thoroughly on food packets so that you don’t feed your body with anything artificial, processed or junk to suffice your fiber need. Some people may experience bloating and intestinal gas when they consume fiber-rich food, especially if they don’t chew their food properly and eat too quickly. Learning to eat at a sensible pace may help solve this problem.
It is easy to understand that following a high fiber diet is a hassle-free way to lose weight and one need not even take much effort. However, have a word with your doctor as to how much fiber and what forms best suit your bodily as well as nutritional requirements. A fiber diet does not pose any major risks and the more natural means you opt for the same, the better. Alongside increasing fiber-rich food intake for weight loss, one must also dedicate at least 30 minutes per day to working out as together they can do wonders.