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 “lover of water”. Food that loves water? Something like. It refers to the ability of natural substances within food to absorb or adhere to water. The two main types are “pectins” and “mucilages” or “soluble fiber.” Each comes from plants, such as fruits, nuts, or seeds. But how does the ability to hold onto water help you lose weight? There are actually a number of cool ways it works, one of which you can see how it happens, right in front of your eyes.

First, soluble fiber and pectin adhere to water and take up space. The ability to turn water (or fluid in the digestive system) into a gel makes it difficult for your body to absorb water. You have to work with the gel, peeling off 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 occupation makes a bit of food much longer so that you feel satisfied.

Second, soluble fiber feeds good bacteria (probiotics that are always talked about in yogurt commercials) which, in turn, help you digest your food better. Good bacteria help break down food more completely, and when you have better nutrition, you also have fewer cravings. Not having to fight cravings or resist problem foods also makes it easier to lose weight. You cannot digest soluble or insoluble fiber. It doesn’t add to the calories you eat, because you can’t break it down for use. However, good bacteria can, and prebiotic fiber (soluble fiber) keeps them healthy so they can continue to help you.

Pectin (a substance that apples are famous for) is known to reduce 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 certainly more flavors to choose from.) Keep in mind, however, that hunger hormones and satiety signals are chemical signals. Unlike nerve signals, they take time to activate and reach the brain. It can take 15-20 minutes for a chemical signal to pass from the stomach to the brain, so patience is key.

Hydrophilic foods also slow down the body’s ability to convert carbohydrates into sugars. This evens out blood sugar, resulting in positive changes such as reducing or eliminating ‘evening slumps’, stopping insulin spikes, and limiting the insulin signal to ‘store belly fat’ which usually occurs when consuming too much sugar. Balance your blood sugar throughout the day, calm fat storage signals, and feel more even energy throughout the day when you choose these great foods.

Now that you know what hydrophilic foods can do for you, you’ll want to give them a try. There is nothing exotic or expensive here, and some of the foods may have already been on your menu. On the list are tasty staples like sweet potato, apple, oatmeal, artichoke, kidney beans, beets, carrots, green beans, asparagus, berries, citrus fruits of all kinds, pumpkin, peach, pear and even mango. Slightly less popular or just seasonal options include quinoa, peas, brown rice, figs, papaya, peas, various types of squash, bok choy, peaches, kiwis, and sprouts. The key to using them is to include 1 hydrophilic food in each meal of the day.

But what about the promise of soluble fiber you can see?

That belongs to one of the most hydrophilic foods of all, the chia seed. This little seed has no flavor. It’s about the size of a poppy seed, but when you wet it, something awesome starts to happen. The shell of the seed is covered in soluble fiber. When it is dry, it is invisible. But, when you wet the seeds and wait, you will find that each one forms a drop of gel. If you look closely, you will see that the gel is not perfectly transparent, there is a little ‘halo’ of gray there, and that is the soluble fiber. It stands on end when wet, so that the water adheres to the seed.

Having a seed loaded with unflavored soluble fiber is important because, unlike an artichoke or peas, you can add tiny seeds to just about anything else. Doesn’t that cup of easy yogurt have the soluble fiber you want? Sprinkle on some chia and now it will. Do you want to choose white rice with a Chinese dish instead of the well-known hydrophilic brown rice? Chia to the rescue, because you won’t notice the seeds are there, but your body will, when the soluble fiber kicks in. If you want to watch the chia gel in action, simply add 1 tablespoon of dried 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 that a thick gel forms.

There are 2 general keys to using hydrophilic foods for weight loss, appetite sabotage, and satiety 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 either want less of other foods in the same meal, or you will stay full longer. This also helps avoid snacking between meals. 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 a sugar-free drink with chia seeds about 15 to 20 minutes before a meal. Selecting just one of these with half a glass of water will activate soluble fiber and reduce your appetite. It has to be 15 to 20 minutes before the meal, because the chemical signal from the stomach takes a long time to reach the brain, letting it know that it is working.

Using food in specific ways as a tool to help you lose weight is great, because it is so safe. No pills or chemicals are needed, your energy is constant, and you can skip up to 600 calories per day reducing or sabotaging your appetite. Keeping insulin and your fat storage signals in check while stimulating your healthy digestive aid bacteria are also great ways these foods help you with your weight loss goals. You can always add more hydrophilic foods 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 seed either. It is 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 quinoa, a little chia sprinkled over spaghetti or a glass of raspberry iced tea with chia gel will still satisfy. With this knowledge, chia seeds, and these tips on your side, you can try to lose weight in an easy, safe, and food-based way.

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