Here’s what to eat the next time your food cravings rear their ugly head. This post from Women’s Health lines up foods that are rich in soluble fiber, the kind that keep you feeling full longer.
A food is considered hydrophilic if it fills up with water and, in turn, fills you up, satisfying your appetite. The term originated from the Greek words for water (hydro) and friendship (philia).
If losing weight is a goal for you, then you want to make sure you get some soluble fiber in your diet, too. Hydrophilic fibers dissolve and form a gel in the intestines. The gel helps steady blood sugar, which in turn stops food cravings and makes us feel full longer. Being well hydrated also aids digestion. Eat these foods the next time you feel the urge to hit the vending machine.
Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, which means they are filling. Because they are flavorless, they can bulk up your favorite snacks and meals without compromising taste! The seeds also help maintain electrolytes to encourage hydration and the efficient absorption of nutrients. The chia seed is rich in omega-3’s, antioxidants, fiber, iron, magnesium, and calcium, too.
This vegetable is high in fiber and low in calories—one cup of cooked okra is only 36 calories. Many people shy away from okra because of its slimy consistency, but you can alleviate the goo factor by adding it to soups and stir-fries. And okra is high in vitamins C, A, and B6, as well as folate, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
This is a breakfast favorite because it is so satisfying. Oatmeal has six grams of protein per serving and contains phosphorous, potassium, selenium, manganese, and iron. Oats also protect your cardiovascular system: A 15-year study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that oatmeal lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Just make sure your oatmeal doesn’t contain mercury.
This grain—which is also highly water absorbent—has a delicious, nutty flavor and a pasta-like texture. Try adding it to salads, soups, and side dishes. It is sold in three forms: hulled, pearled, and pot. We recommend the pot barley—it retains its nutritive punch and is the easiest to work with. Try this chicken-barley recipe to get started.
Fruits containing pectin—such as apples and pears—absorb tons of water. They help with digestion, lower cholesterol, and regulate the body’s absorption of sugar. Eat the pear’s skin—it contains the antioxidant quercetin.
Brussels sprouts have enough hydrophilic fiber to keep you full for hours. It is also a food recommended by the American Cancer Society because it contains chemicals that can stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens. Brussels sprouts can be steamed, sautéed, or roasted, but don’t overcook them—they’ll lose their nutritional value and flavor.
All beans are highly hydrophilic foods. They also decrease the risk of coronary disease. We prefer kidney beans because they are great in chili and thick soups. Use the beans instead of meat or tuna fish for the protein in a salad. Here are five more reasons to eat beans.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. Instead of peeling and disposing of the pith—the white layer beneath the orange skin—eat it. It too contains pectin and vitamin C. Oranges are also wonderful sources of vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, potassium, and calcium. When you’re choosing fruit, be sure to avoid the produce on this dirty dozen list.
Agar is a gelling agent made from seaweed. Widely used in Southeast Asia, agar consists mostly of hydrophilic fibers that reabsorb glucose in the stomach, quickly pass through the digestive system, and then inhibit the body from retaining and storing excess fat. You can make delicious pudding using agar. It’s easy to prepare and less than 50 calories per serving (the agar itself is calorie free).
Nori—dried seaweed—is used to wrap sushi. Nori is around 35 percent fiber, most of which is hydrophilic. It’s sold in thin, flat sheets at health food stores or online.
High in fiber, chickpeas will keep you full for hours. For a snack, try grabbing some crudité and making a homemade chickpea spread made with roasted chickpeas.