Want to Burn Belly Fat? Eat More Fiber

Soluble fiber has essential roles in the body that can help you lose the most stubborn fat

Losing weight isn’t easy, and losing belly fat is even harder. Is there a simple and effective way to lose that stubborn fat? The answer is yes. Just adding a certain amount of soluble fiber to your food can help melt belly fat away.

There are two types of plant fiber: Soluble and insoluble. Insoluble means it isn’t able to be broken down by the water and is excreted directly by the body. Eating an excess of insoluble cellulose can cause diarrhea, although it also has helpful roles in the body.

Water-soluble fiber plays an important role in our digestive tract and has a lot to do with our health and weight.

The Role of Soluble Plant Fiber

Soluble plant fiber helps the body lose excess weight by absorbing water in our digestive tract and then expanding it. As a result, we experience a feeling of satiety and this reduces the tendency to overeat. If you do happen to eat too much soluble plant fiber, you may become constipated due to the absorptive factor in the intestines.

Soluble plant fiber also nourishes the microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract. Our body’s microbiome resides in our nasal, oral, respiratory, reproductive, and digestive tracts and is most abundant in the digestive tract. These microorganisms include protozoa, fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Among them, bacteria account for the majority. There are at least 100 trillion bacteria within the human body.

Soluble plant fiber can feed the microbiome in our body. The health of the microbiome is essential to us. They protect the integrity of the lining of our gastrointestinal tract and help the lining of the gastrointestinal tract to perform its functions. The microbiome can also help us metabolize food so that the nutrients in food can be fully absorbed and utilized. On top of that, this microbiota also reduces inflammation in our gastrointestinal tract.

Studies have found that the level of gastrointestinal microbiota is inseparable from our digestive, immune, and nervous system functions. Many autoimmune and neuropsychiatric diseases are related to an imbalance of the intestinal flora.

Another benefit of soluble fiber is to enhance blood sugar balance. Although it’s a carbohydrate, soluble fiber doesn’t generate calories and can adjust the body’s sensitivity to insulin and its blood sugar balance.

Foods Containing Soluble Fiber

Not all soluble fiber has this effect—only thick and sticky fiber exhibits this function. Because this kind of fiber can stay in the gastrointestinal tract for a long time and makes us feel full, it brings about various biochemical effects.

Which foods contain this viscous soluble fiber? All kinds of beans, flaxseed, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and oats.

Worth noting is that the effects of fiber supplements aren’t as good as fiber derived from whole foods. Eating food containing 30 grams (1 ounce) of fiber per day is enough to produce an effect.

To summarize, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, a daily intake of at least 30 grams (1 ounce) of soluble viscous fiber aids in weight loss. Soluble fiber comes mainly from beans, green vegetables, and oats. Remember—don’t eat too much soluble fiber at once as it can cause constipation.

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Jingduan Yang, M.D. F.A.P.A. is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in integrative and traditional Chinese medicine for chronic mental, behavioral, and physical illnesses. He contributed to the books "Integrative Psychiatry," "Medicine Matters," and "Integrative Therapies for Cancer." Co-authored "Facing East: Ancient Secrets for Beauty+Health for Modern Age" by HarperCollins and "Clinical Acupuncture and Ancient Chinese Medicine" by Oxford Press. Dr. Yang is also the founder of the Yang Institute of Integrative Medicine and the American Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and the CEO of Northern Medical Center, Middletown, New York, since July 2022.
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