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What Are Hydrophilic Foods And How Do They Help You Lose Weight?
If you are interested in weight loss and hunger is your main enemy, you should take a look at hydrophilic foods. Hydrophilic means “water-loving”. Food that loves water? In a way. It refers to the ability of natural substances inside food to absorb water or adhere to water. The two main types are “Pectins” and “Mucilage” or “Soluble Fiber”. Each one comes from plants, such as fruits, nuts or seeds. But how does the ability to cling to water help you lose weight? There are actually several interesting ways it works, one of which you can see happening right before your eyes.
First, soluble fiber and pectin stick to the water and take up space. The ability to turn water (or liquid in the digestive system) into gel makes it harder for your body to absorb the water. It has to work with the gel and release the fibers, which takes time and effort. Meanwhile, you continue to feel full or satisfied. A side effect of this is that it keeps the intestines hydrated, which in turn helps other foods move smoothly through the digestive process. This space intake provides some food and goes a long way in keeping you satisfied.
Second, soluble fiber feeds the good bacteria (Probiotics you always hear about in yogurt commercials), which in turn helps you digest your food better. Good bacteria help break down food more thoroughly, and when you have better nutrition, you also have less cravings. Not having to fight cravings or resist problem foods also helps make losing weight easier. You cannot digest insoluble or soluble fiber. It doesn’t add to the calories you eat because you can’t break it down for use. The good bacteria can, however, and prebiotic fiber (soluble fiber) keeps them healthy so they can keep helping you.
Pectin (a substance apples are known for) is known to lower hunger hormones. An apple a day may not keep the doctors away, but it can keep hunger at bay. (There are more types of apples than there are days in the year, so if you don’t like one type, there are definitely more flavors to choose from) Remember though that hunger hormones & satiety signals are chemical signals. Unlike nerve signals, they take time to activate and reach the brain. It can take up to 15 to 20 minutes for a chemical signal to go from the stomach to the brain, so patience is key.
Hydrophilic foods also slow down the body’s ability to convert carbohydrates into sugar. This evens out blood sugar, resulting in positive changes such as reducing or eliminating the ‘afternoon slump’, stopping insulin spikes and limiting the insulin signal to “storage belly fat” that generally occurs when a lot of sugar is consumed. Balance your blood sugar throughout the day, calm fat storage signals and feel more even energy throughout the day when you choose these amazing foods.
Now that you know what hydrophilic foods can do for you, you’ll want to try them. There is nothing exotic or expensive here, and some of the foods may have already been part of your menu. Tasty staples like sweet potato, apple, oatmeal, artichoke, beans, beets, carrots, green beans, asparagus, berries, citrus fruits of all types, pumpkin, peach, pear and even mango are on the list. Slightly less popular or seasonal options include quinoa, peas, brown rice, figs, papaya, snow peas, various squashes, bok choy, peaches, kiwi and cabbage. The key to using them is to include 1 hydrophilic food with each meal of the day.
But what about the promise of the soluble fiber you can see?
It belongs to one of the most hydrophilic foods of all, the chia seed. This little seed has no taste. It’s the size of a poppy seed, but when you get wet, something impressive starts to happen. The shell of the seed is covered with soluble fibres. When dry, it is invisible. But when you moisten the seeds and wait, you will find that each one forms a bead of gel. If you look closely you will see that the gel is not completely clear, there is a little “halo” of gray in there and that is the soluble fiber. It stands on end when wet to make the water stick to the seed.
It’s important to have a soluble, fiber-filled, flavorless seed because unlike an artichoke or pea, you can add tiny seeds to almost anything. That low-fat yogurt cup doesn’t have the soluble fiber you want? Sprinkle some chia on it and now it does. Would you choose white rice for a Chinese dish instead of the familiar hydrophilic brown rice? Chia to the rescue, because you won’t notice the seeds are there, but your body will when the soluble fibers are activated. If you would like to observe chia gel in action, simply add 1 tablespoon of dry chia seeds to 9 tablespoons of water in a sealable container, shake or stir, and wait about 15 minutes. When you return, you will see a thick gel formed.
There are 2 general keys to using hydrophilic foods for weight loss, appetite sabotage and filling factor. By making a hydrophilic food a part of every meal, you take advantage of the satiety factor. Including a pear or peach for lunch, oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins and apple slices for breakfast or a sweet potato for dinner will make the meal fill you up faster. You will have less of other foods present at the same meal, or you will feel full longer. This also helps to avoid snacking. You can also use a hydrophilic fruit to sabotage your appetite if you have half an apple or two figs, or a small slice of papaya or kiwi, or an unsweetened drink with chia seeds about 15 to 20 minutes before a meal. Choosing just one of these with half a glass of water will activate the soluble fiber and reduce your appetite. It should be about 15 to 20 minutes before the meal because the chemical signal from the stomach is quite slow to reach the brain so you know it is working.
Using food in certain ways as a tool to help you lose weight is great because it is so safe. There is no need for pills or chemicals, your energy is stable and you can skip up to 600 calories a day by reducing or sabotaging your appetite. Keeping insulin and its fat storage signals in check while boosting your healthy helpful digestive bacteria are also great ways these foods help you with weight loss goals. You can always add more hydrophilic food to any meal to increase the effect. The list of specific foods in this article is a start, but a simple online search will reveal even more options for your menu. Don’t forget the chia seeds either. It’s the only one you can put in ANY food (or drink) to add hydrophilic properties. If the fruits you want are out of season and you’re not in the mood for a quinoa fix, some chia sprinkled over the spaghetti or a glass of iced raspberry tea with chia gel will still satisfy. With this knowledge, chia seeds and these tips on your side, you can try weight loss the easy, safe and food-based way.
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