One of the best ways to fight fat and control weight is to curb the appetite. This starts with selecting whole, healthy foods—particularly those rich in fiber. Found exclusively in plant foods, fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Insoluble fiber or roughage passes through your system and helps speeds elimination. Soluble fiber acquires a gel-like consistency when combined with water and helps us feel fuller and more satisfied.
The benefits of fiber don’t stop at the waistline either. High-fiber diets can lower cancer risks and blood cholesterol levels as well.
According to Taste for Life advisor Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, “In this toxic era, we need fiber more than ever to help us neutralize the toxins and scrub them out of our system.”
We gain weight when we’re assaulted by toxic substances that remain in our bodies for long periods of time. By upping fiber intake, our livers and colons are better equipped to rid the body of these toxins and properly metabolize fats.
Sadly, the average American eats less than 12 grams of fiber a day, far below the American Dietetic Association’s suggestion to consume 20 to 35 grams daily. According to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer conducted by the Medical Research Council of the University of Cambridge, individuals who consume 35 grams of fiber per day are 40 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who consume only 15 grams of fiber daily.
To include more fiber-rich foods in your diet, start by consuming more whole grains like brown rice, whole oats, millet, bulgur, rye, and quinoa. Beans, lentils, nuts, and veggies like eggplant are excellent choices too. Raw vegetables are a particularly good option, as they contain more fiber than their cooked counterparts.
As a snack, reach for fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and berries, which contribute to feelings of satiety. When possible, eat organic fruits (including their skins) to add even extra fiber to the diet.
Don’t forget about the power of spices when it comes to fighting fat. Not only do these kitchen staples add flavor, but they have many health benefits too. Cinnamon can be helpful for diabetes, indigestion, and heartburn. Ginger is great for digestive ailments. According to an Australian study published in the International Journal of Obesity, this peppery spice can even help control weight by causing a metabolic boost of up to 20 percent.
Consider upping the amount of green tea you drink as well. Green tea extract has been shown to boost metabolism and burn calories. Research suggests it may also inhibit storage of new fat.
By eating foods rich in fiber and flavored with exciting spices, it’s easier to follow a healthy diet. The recipes featured here are full of fiber-rich ingredients like beans, lentils, vegetables, and whole grains, all of which can help curb excess hunger and weight gain. Choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included to keep you feeling full and satisfied all day long.
Fuel Up on Fiber
Salba and chia seed stem from the same botanical (Salvia hispanica). Both provide good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Salba, classified as an heirloom crop, consists of two unique varieties of Salvia hispanica L grown using proprietary farming techniques.
Two tablespoons of Salba seed contains about 15 grams of fiber. Salba and chia can be sprinkled onto breakfast cereals or yogurt, used in baking, and can also be found as ingredients in breads, muffins, nutritional bars, pastas, snack foods like tortilla chips, and beverages and powdered drink mixes.
“Salba is the richest whole food source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber found in nature, with every 12-gram serving providing over 4,000 mg of dietary fiber,” says Julie Hammerstein, a nutritionist and family wellness coach based in Colorado. “My motto is ‘small change, big impact,’ so sprinkling Salba on your morning oatmeal, for example, is an easy way to enjoy the big impact of all that added nutrition.”
Supplement with Fiber
Getting enough fiber through one’s diet isn’t always possible. A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study shows that after 16 weeks of taking a soluble fiber supplement, overweight and obese patients experienced greater satiety and weight loss than those taking a placebo and significantly decreased their LDL (lousy) cholesterol as well. Look for natural dietary fiber supplements, organic fiber bars, and fiber powders to enhance digestive health.