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OPINION: Fall foods can help you lose weight

by HEALTHY LIVING Siloam Springs Regional Hospital | November 21, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

You might be concerned about your waistline now that it's November. It's for good reason -- this month is stuffed with starchy side dishes and thick slices of pie.

But you don't have to choose between your favorite fall flavors and your waistline because these five foods are both delicious and nutritious ways to celebrate the season. What's even better is that they can help you lose weight!

• Apples -- There's a reason we use the phrase "apple of my eye," and there are plenty of reasons to cherish apples this fall. A single, medium-sized apple packs more than four grams of fiber -- about 16% of what the USDA suggests we ingest daily. Fiber helps us feel fuller longer, even though an apple is only about 95 calories. Not only can this fruit help you lose weight but studies show that apples also can lower cholesterol and reduce the risks of Alzheimer's disease.

• Pears -- Like apples, pears are high in fiber. A medium pear contains about six grams of fiber, 206 mg of potassium, and 8 mg of vitamin C. Better yet, a medium pear is only about 100 calories, so consider reaching for fruit rather than baked goods. Studies show that women who make the fruit-for-sweets swap tend to lose weight faster.

• Pumpkin -- What would autumn be if we didn't have pumpkins? Maybe your mouth is already watering just thinking about that special latte, but these gourds can be good if you scale back the sugar. Pumpkins are packed with beta-carotene, a pigment that turns into an antioxidant (vitamin A) in the body, and have over 3.5 grams of fiber in each half-cup. The Journal of Nutrition reports that increased fiber intake promotes weight loss. So, why not make your fiber festive?

• Squash -- Even though it's sometimes called "winter squash," it's a great fall staple for any meal. Whether acorn, spaghetti or butternut squash, these anti-inflammatory fruits (because of their internal seeds) are brimming with vitamin A, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids. Shredding squash instead of using spaghetti noodles also can cut 140 calories from your diet per cup-sized serving.

• Sweet potatoes -- Swapping your traditional medium potato for a sweet potato can cut 60 calories from your diet -- and that doesn't even include the toppings. Not only can that help with weight loss but it also has about 10 grams fewer carbs than a baked potato. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin A, as one cup provides as much as 85% of your daily suggested intake.

Don't fall for the hype that your favorite fall foods have to work against your nutrition plan. There are plenty of ways to make your autumn menu awesome while losing weight!

If you're having trouble losing weight or diet planning, your provider can help you plan a diet, weight loss and exercise regimen. The providers at Siloam Springs Family Medicine are accepting new patients. If you would like to schedule an appointment, call 479-215-3035 or visit NW-Physicians.com. Walk-ins are welcome.

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