What To Eat To Flatten Your Belly
Belly fat refers to the fat around the abdomen and it can either be visceral i.e. surrounding the internal organs, or abdominal i.e. positioned under the skin. Some belly fat is normal and necessary for proper body function; lack of belly fat can lead to infertility and irregular periods in women.
What Causes Belly Fat?
There are four main things that contribute to the creation of belly fat: diet, exercise, sleep and stress. Belly fat is identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases and increased blood pressure), dementia, diabetes and also cancer.
A healthy lifestyle with proper food habits, reduced alcohol consumption, regular sleep pattern, frequent exercise and stress management can help in reducing belly fat.
Foods That Help Lose Belly Fat
When trying to reduce belly fat, it is impossible to target only on that area. However, there are handful foods that can help you fight belly fat including:
Dairy foods like yogurt, Greek yogurt, kefir and milk, are a source of probiotics or friendly bacteria that helps in regulation of gut function and reduces bloating.
Bananas, apples, asparagus, garlic, onions and oats are foods rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are substances that humans are not able to digest, but they help feed the friendly bacteria in the gut and lead to a healthier digestive system.
Oats are rich in fibre, and these foods as usually low in calories, make you feel full after a meal and regulate blood sugar levels. Other sources of fibre include berries (raspberries and blueberries), chickpeas, pumpkin, sauerkraut and seeds like sunflower, sesame and pumpkin.
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale contains a lot of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium, but also a group of vitamins A, K, C and B6. Green leaves contain a molecule called sulfoquinovose that promotes the growth of good bacteria which prevent inflammation and formation of belly fat. They contain little calories and help in reducing the bloating effects of sodium in our diets.
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beans, lentils and peas are rich in plant based proteins, vitamin C, vitamins B, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Peanut butter is a good combination of fiber and protein, and is a preferred snack to make you feel full. One peanut butter serving contains 8 grams of protein and up to 4 grams of fiber.
Lean meats like chicken and turkey, but also tuna, salmon and sardines. Fish is reach in omega-3 fats which have important function in protection against hypertension and heart disease, and also improve the function of blood vessels. In additions, salmon also contains vitamins D and B6.
Nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashews, and pistachios) are great for snacking. In particular walnuts are rich is monounsaturated fats and are good for the heart, while almonds are high in protein and help decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL). People who enjoy controlled amounts of nuts regularly tend to have lower body max index (BMI) and blood pressure.
Avocado is also a good source of monounsaturated fats and it also contains a lot of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Avocado also helps the absorption of carotenoids or anti-cancer agents found in tomatoes, carrots and spinach.
Fat-fighting foods also include cinnamon that stabilizes blood sugar levels, hot peppers that sped up the metabolism because of the spicy capsaicin and vinegar as a fat-burner and low-calorie dressing for any salad.
Some herbs and spices like ginger and parsley have diuretic affects and can help in flushing the excess water out of the body. Others like basil, cilantro, rosemary, garlic, cumin, pepper, sage, turmeric, mint, cayenne pepper, and oregano should also be consumed regularly as besides enhancing food flavor and aroma, they offer other health benefits and can prevent cancer.
Green tea is beneficial as it contains a lot of antioxidants and also catechins. Green tea leaves usually contain 10 – 20% catechins that are polyphenols or molecules that increase the metabolism and the fat-burning rate, have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Two studies (1, 2) found that consuming green tea extracts help is reducing obesity. Another study showed that it helps in the reduction of visceral fat as well.
In general, you should avoid food rich in sugar and fat, as well as refined carbohydrates. To additionally speed up the process monitor the intake of liquid calories closely; for example, strong alcohols like whiskey contain approximately 2,300 calories per liter, wine contains around 800 calories per liter, while beer contains around 400 calories per liter. Additionally, alcohol drinks like cocktails contain additional sugar that aids in weight gain.
For an overall good physical wellbeing you should keep moving. Incorporate at least 30 minutes daily exercise routines such as walking (10,000 steps per day), running, bicycling and combine them with weight training. In order to reduce stress, try practicing yoga, mindfulness or meditation once a week.
At last, regular sleep pattern significantly impacts overall health, as it allows the body to heal, relax and recover, and the brain to recharge.
For this process to be successful and long lasting, think of it as a “healthy lifestyle” instead of a “short term diet”. There is no magical pill for losing weight, it requires strong will and commitment, and it has to become your way of life.