If you're trying to lose weight, aim at eating more fibre. A high-fibre diet can increase satiety, reduce hunger, decrease overall caloric intake, promote weight loss and improve your overall health.
Fibre is a complex carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body. As it is not digested, fibre neither provides nutrients or energy, nor it holds calories. However, it promotes a healthy digestive system and helps the body remove potentially harmful waste.
There are two main types of fibre - soluble and insoluble and both are beneficial to health.
Soluble fibre: This type of fibre dissolves in the stomach to form a gel-like substance, which can trap fats, sugars and cholesterol. Thus, it helps to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and even aid in weight loss.
Insoluble fibre: This type of fibre does not dissolve in your stomach. Instead it absorbs water and increases in size. Insoluble fibre helps with digestion by providing bulk and moisture to stools.
Supplements vs. high-fibre foods for weight loss
Experts recommends consuming 19 to 38 grams of dietary fibre per day, depending on gender and age. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the daily fibre intake should be 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men. For women and men over 50, the recommended daily intake falls to 21 and 30 grams, respectively. However, many people are not eating enough fibre to meet these guidelines.
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Taking a fibre supplement may help you to meet your daily fibre goals. You can find various types of fibre supplements including psyllium husk, glucomannan and inulin. These supplements come in many forms, including powders, capsules, and tablets.
However, eating whole foods is a better option to boost your fibre intake for weight loss or other health reasons. In addition to fibre, whole foods will provide a wide array of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are not available in supplement form. What's more, fibre-rich foods are more satiating than a supplement.
Best fibre-rich foods for weight loss
Fibre comes exclusively from plants; you won't get fibre from meat fish or animal products (including dairy). Try to get both types of fibre by consuming a wide variety of plant-based foods.
Soluble fibre is found in beans, oats, apples, carrots, barley, citrus fruits, psyllium and peas. Foods rich in insoluble fibre include nuts, beans, vegetables, potatoes, cauliflower, wheat bran and whole wheat flour.
If you're looking for a more holistic food source of fibre as alternatives to supplements, chia seeds and flaxseeds are an excellent option for you. Chia seeds are 40% fibre by weight. A 28-gram or 1-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fibre. Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, iron, and calcium.
Just one tablespoon of flaxseeds can provide 3 grams of fibre. Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants as well as contain decent amounts of vitamin B1, and copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.