While there are tons of different diets out there, filling up on fiber is perhaps the healthiest and most successful way to shed the pounds. A groundbreaking study at Harvard showed the importance of fiber as it relates to weight loss. The study, which spanned over 12 years, showed that the women who increased their fiber instead of decreasing it, were half as likely to become obese. Simply adding fiber to their diet changed everything for their health. Not only will fiber help you lose weight, fiber also helps to prevent nasty illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. (via Fitness Magazine)

Photo Credit: Aria Integrative Health

Photo Credit: Aria Integrative Health

What is fiber anyways? Fiber is found in all plants, but not meat or dairy. Fiber helps you to feel full for longer as it keeps blood sugar levels stable, keeping those cravings to a minimum. It is important that women get at least 25 grams of fiber per day in the form of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is responsible for lowering cholesterol, maintaining a healthy colon, and preventing digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and diarrhea. When mixed with water in the body, soluble fiber becomes a sticky gel-like substance that healthily slows the digestion of food. (via Dietitians of Canada) Be sure to add these soluble fiber foods to your diet:

  • oatmeal
  • lentils
  • apples
  • strawberries
  • nuts
  • flaxseeds
  • beans
  • blueberries
  • psyllium
  • carrots

Insoluble fibers can be described as the “roughage” of the digestive tract. It adds bulk to the diet and has a laxative effect in the body, helping to prevent constipation. Insoluble fibers are found mostly in whole grains and vegetables. (via WebMD)

Photo Credit: Food Low Carb

Photo Credit: Food Low Carb

Add these high insoluble fiber foods to your grocery list:

  • whole wheat bread
  • seeds
  • brown rice
  • zucchini
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes
  • dark leafy vegetables
  • raisins
  • fruit
  • root vegetable skins

The awareness that fiber is essential for weight loss is becoming better known, and big companies that produce processed foods are picking up on it,but beware. Many companies are creating “faux fibers” that are synthetically made in a laboratory or highly processed. They add this faux fiber to their products as a ploy to lure in consumers. This fiber does not have the same beneficial qualities as fiber found in plant based foods. So if you’re looking to up your fiber intake, it is best to stick to real, whole foods. (via Prevention)

Photo Credit: Groceries Express

Photo Credit: Groceries Express

To get the most out of your fiber intake, add a variety of plant-based foods to every meal. In a matter of weeks, you’ll begin to see the pounds melting away! Need a few high-fiber snack ideas? Click here.