Unless you’re one of a lucky fit few, you’re probably interested in burning off some belly fat. For many people their belly is the first place they noticeably gain weight and the last place they lose it. Apart from not being able to fit into your favorite part of jeans, having a large waistline can put you at risk for many health problems.
Doing regular exercise and eating healthy is essential to achieving and maintaining a good physique. Along with this, there are certain foods you can consume that help aid in fighting belly fat, and we’re not talking about starving yourself or just eating things that are low in calories.
Starving yourself can cause your metabolism to slow down and your body to store fat, the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Low-calorie diets can be hard and unrealistic to maintain for extended periods of time. Many times low-calorie diets fail to factor in healthy foods like natural peanut butter, which isn’t necessarily low in calories.
The most important thing to remember is to eat natural unprocessed foods that pack in a lot of nutrients. Foods high in fiber and protein are an essential part of eating to lose weight. High-fiber and high protein foods help you feel full longer, meaning you’ll be less likely to cave into cravings and reach for unhealthy snacks. Eating high fiber foods also results in having less visceral body fat. According to WebMD, people who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day without any other diet changes, build up less visceral fat over time than those who don’t. Getting this amount of fiber is as easy as eating two small apples.
First, you may be wondering why fat seems to always accumulate around your midsection. Well, according to WebMD, people store their fat in two ways, one you can see and one you can’t. The fat you can see just under your skin in places like your thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen, is called subcutaneous or under the skin fat.
You also have fat that you can’t see. This fat exists deeper inside your body around the vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive tract and liver), in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. This is called visceral fat. While this fat isn’t necessarily visible, it can be a bigger problem, even for people who are thin.
Everyone has visceral body fat, as it provides necessary cushioning for your organs. Unfortunately, the fat doesn’t just sit there. It creates a lot of harmful substances, and having too much of it can lead to many health issues, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancer.
Extra visceral fat forms when the body runs out of safe places to store fat. When this happens, your body will begin to store fat around your organs like the heart and liver. This can cause various health problems.
Visceral fat is also a result of your genetics and inactivity. Studies suggest that people who keep their weight down through diet alone are more unlikely to have unhealthy levels of visceral fat. You may have heard of the term “skinny fat,” well this is what that’s referring to.
Visceral body fat is another reminder of why it’s important for everyone to be active in addition to maintaining a good diet. However, there are certain foods you can eat that can boost your ability to burn belly fat.
Knowing what to eat is half the battle. Here’s a list of 10 belly fat-burning foods to help trim your waistline. These foods can help you get the most out of your work outs and help your body burn fat at the same time. It’s important to understand that just eating some of the foods below isn’t enough. You have to watch your portion sizes, eat a balanced diet and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Eating a cup of Greek yogurt encourages the growth of good bacteria in your stomach and can help eliminate bloating. The difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is how it’s processed. Greek yogurt is strained to remove the liquid whey. This process also removes some of the lactose sugars. According to a study from the American Council of Exercise on yogurt, Greek yogurt had less than two-thirds the fat-creating sugar and carbohydrates and twice the protein as regular yogurt. As a high-protein food, Greek yogurt helps stabilize insulin, a hormone that tells your body to store calories as fat when the levels get too high, according to CBS NEws. Because it has a lot of protein, yogurt will also help you feel full for longer periods of time.
Tip: Plain Greek yogurt can have a tart taste. For a tasty and healthy treat you can combine a cup off Greek yogurt with fresh berries, some sliced almonds and a little agave, honey or other natural sweetener. This nutrient snack is good for your health and easy to make.
These little gems are high in monosaturated fat, something that increases your basal metabolic rate. They also have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, according to Natural News. Avocados contain amnio acid lecithin, which helps in preventing liver overload and balancing weight. It also aids the memory.
Tip: Avocados can be eaten plain or as a wholesome addition to salads and sandwiches. An avocados creamy texture makes it a great substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches.
Almonds are high in fiber and antioxidants. High-fiber foods help you feel full longer and prevent food cravings. They also contain magnesium, a mineral that supports muscle contractions. This means that eating almonds will help you get the most out of your muscle contractions when you do things like crunches.
Tip: Make sure you eat low sodium or unsalted almonds. Many brands offer flavored almonds that can be packed with sugar and salt. Almonds are an easy snack to keep in your desk at work or to take with you on a hike as they don’t need to be refrigerated or prepared to enjoy.
The old adage is true. Eating an apple a day can really keep the doctor away. Apples contain pectin, a compound that can help inhibit colon cancer. They are also a rich source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, dietary fiber, phytosterol, flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Tip: Apples can make a great natural dessert. All you have to do is core and slice the apples, put the slices on a baking rack, sprinkle them with cinnamon and bake until the slices are golden brown.
This fruit also contains a fiber called pectin along with other nutrients, including vitamin A, C, E, B6, potassium, calcium and magnesium. A typical banana can contain about 422 milligrams of potassium. This mineral can help limit the amount of sodium in your body, which can lead to bloating.
Tip: Bananas are another naturally sweet snack that can be added to smoothies or enjoyed alone.
This fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, something that promotes a more efficient metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids also help improve your insulin response, meaning you’ll feel full longer. It’s also a fish that’s low in mercury and safer to eat than some other seafood options. Salmon also has monosaturated fat in it meaning it can help increase your basal metabolic rate which aids in weight loss.
Tip: If you’re not a fan of salmon there are other fish you can eat to get your omega-3 fatty acid fix, including mackerel and tuna.
Most people think body building when they see protein powder, but it’s something everyone can use. Protein powder contains amino acids which help melt away belly fat. Eating high-protein foods also helps keep you feeling full longer. It will also help you maintain muscle mass. If you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t want to risk also losing some of your muscles as a result of not enough protein consumption. Casein protein powder is a good choice as it’s digested more slowly to the body and provides a constant stream of amino acids over an extended period of time.
Tip: Add protein powder to a fruit smoothie for a low-calorie meal or snack.
This is another food rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not a seafood fan, adding flaxseeds to your diet is a great substitute. Along with improving your metabolism, the omega-3s found in flaxseeds also help prevent a high-rate of bone turnover which can lead to other health conditions like osteperosis.
Tip: Flaxseeds can be added as a topping on salads, cooked vegetables and your cereal. They can also added to shakes, oatmeal or in baking mixes to up the nutrients of your dish.
Strawberries and blueberries have been getting a lot of press lately for their health benefits, but don’t forget about the blackberry. These fruits aid in burning belly fat because they are low in calories and high in fiber. A cup of black berries offers more fiber than either strawberries or blueberries. They also contain about two grams of protein per serving.
Tip: Black berries can be added to a smoothie or fruit salad. You can also have them with some Greek yogurt for a fat-burning snack that your taste buds will love.
This may be the best news you’ve heard all day. You may not think of peanut butter as a healthy option, but this high-protein snack can help keep your food cravings at bay by making you feel full longer. It also contains niacin which is important for proper digestion. Peanut butter is still high in fat, so as with all foods, you need to limit your portion sizes. Also make sure to buy all-natural peanut butter without any added sugar or other additives in it as this can lead to extra calories and fat.
Tip: For a healthy snack idea try peanut butter with some sliced banana, another fat-burning food. Peanut butter and celery is another great option. Celery is very low in calories and high in vitamin C and calcium. It’s best when enjoyed raw making peanut butter and celery a healthy and always read-to-go snack option.
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