More than half of American adults are classified as overweight or obese, as are a third of our children. Unfortunately, our appetite for calorie-laden foods may be exceeded only by our susceptibility to fad diets that promise quick weight loss.
Folks, these weight loss diets and magical fat-burning foods are not solutions to our epidemic of obesity. If you want maintain weight loss and achieve your ideal weight, one of the most important things you can do is to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods.
The Many Health Benefits of Fiber
Fiber-rich foods take longer to eat than foods without fiber—you can’t chow down on apples and broccoli the way you can on chocolate and ice cream. This allows time for the signal of fullness to reach your brain, enabling you to stop eating before you’ve stuffed yourself.
That feeling of satiety stays with you longer, too, because fiber slows the rate at which food leaves your stomach. Another health benefit of fiber is that it prevents the roller coaster ride of dramatic elevations and just as sudden drops in blood sugar levels that leave you feeling tired and hungry.
A fiber-rich lunch can also help you resist that sugary or starchy mid-afternoon snack. If you grab an apple instead, chances are you’ll eat less at dinner, too.
Taking Advantage of the Health Benefits of Fiber
The simplest way to ensure you’re taking advantage of all these health benefits of fiber and getting the recommended 30+ grams per day is to make plant foods the mainstay of your diet:
Snack on an apple (3.5 grams)
Have a spinach salad (4 grams) for lunch
Eat half a cup of beans (6-8 grams) at dinner
One of the easiest ways to beef up your fiber intake is to incorporate flaxseed into your daily diet. Just sprinkle a quarter cup of of freshly ground flaxseed over salads, soups, or other foods and you’ll get 11 grams of fiber—not to mention high-quality protein and essential fats.
As you increase your intake of fiber-rich foods, be sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Eight, eight-ounce glasses of filtered H20 should do the trick.