Dear Dr. Mo: I wish to lose some weight and I know fiber is important part of a good weight-loss plan. My diet so far has not been very healthy and I am trying to improve it. Which foods do you suggest as a good source of fiber?
Dear reader: Nutritional super foods, rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other health preserving compounds are all around us. And yet, we succumb to advertising and our own cravings for sugars, greasy junk food and the simple fact that fast food is easier to acquire, it’s more readily available and in truth, it is often cheaper.
The first step is to become aware of these things and understand that in the 21st century, eating healthy presents a real challenge and asks for will power.
The magic word in today’s healthy diet which attains and maintains a healthy weight and good shape is, planning.
I say that in any weight loss plan, a strategic goal has to be Attain and Maintain.
To Attain and Maintain, you need proper tools, one of which is dietary fiber.
Fiber absolutely has to be on your daily menu – it not only helps in weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer and by regulating your bowel movement, it helps regulate cholesterol levels and ratios in the blood, preventing both weight gain and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes etc.
To help in your planning, here are some fiber-rich (super)foods you could include in your everyday meals:
Good source of fiber per cup and also contains protein, calcium and potassium. It contains carotenoid Lutein, important for eye health and it potentially modulates immune response with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-cancerous activity. It has Indols, chemicals that safeguard metabolic pathways of Estrogen, helping to prevent some of the hormone-linked cancers like cervical and breast cancer.
This is very good meal to star your day with. It packs a whole lot of fiber per serving just make sure the label says ‘whole grain’ as there are varieties, which are not. Good thing about oats is that they go just fine with other stuff like raisins, bananas, berries or nuts – all of which are good sources of fiber as well.
Berries in general are calorie-low/fiber rich food, which is also full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Raspberries in particular are very rich in fiber – 8 grams per cup!
Very low in calories it contains about 3 grams of fiber per cup and it has good amounts of Folate, potassium and vitamin A. It also contains useful amount of manganese.
Phytochemicals found in pumpkin could positively affect blood levels of insulin, glucose and cholesterol helping to prevent Type 2 diabetes or to improve an existing diabetic condition. It has a good amount of fiber per cup and useful levels of potassium. Pumpkin is indeed a magical treat – it contains carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), which are important to keep your eyes healthy.
This plant is exceptionally rich in antioxidants. An average Artichoke contains about 10 grams of fiber and not much calories but it gets better – it strengthens the liver and gall bladder function; it aids digestion in yet another way – by having a favorable influence on beneficial intestinal bacteria. Artichoke lowers blood cholesterol and is a rich source of potassium (richer than banana even).
An average fresh (and not peeled) tomato contains about 2 grams of fiber, which is a fine addition to your diet; but it also contains the carotene Lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. Tomatoes are also rich in potassium and in general, their consumption could be beneficial for reducing cardiovascular risks linked to Type 2 diabetes.
This list, of course is not exhaustive and I will write more about different foods that help Attain and Maintain your weight loss goal in a healthy way.
As I said, planning is the key so take time every Sunday to plan your meals and snacks for next week and make sure you try to include some from this list. If you’ll travel, planning is that much more important so make an extra effort to do it – and stick to it!
Yours in health,