- Diet & Weight Loss
Foods That Help Reduce Belly Fat
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 1/3 of Americans are obese. Even still the statistic further states that approximately 300,000 people in America die each year from obesity related illnesses and diseases. A person can be diagnosed as clinically obese if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 30. So how do we reduce our risks to obesity related ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol?
Perhaps you have been trying for months or years to reduce your weight and become a healthier version of you, yet you are still not seeing the results in your waistline nor your blood work and doctor checkups.
One of the biggest complaints with people trying to slim down is how to lose belly fat. Many people become discouraged with their exercise routine when they do not see the results they were hoping for. However, did you know it may be the foods in your diet that are causing that stubborn belly fat to stick around? Fortunately, there are many foods that you can add to your diet that will help shed your belly fat in addition to regular exercise and a healthy diet.
These foods contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which is considered to be the healthy fats our body needs. These monounsaturated fatty acid are commonly referred to as MUFAs. They actually target the fat stored in you belly to help reduce the toxic damage of storing all that “bad fat” and will help aid in minimizing the storage of belly fat while melting away the pounds.
In addition to the MUFAs, if you want to trim down your belly fat you must consider foods that help control your blood sugar levels as well as elevate your metabolic rate. You should also find foods that will reduce or control the levels of cortisol production, which is a stress hormone that adversely affects the fat storage in our midsection as well as the rest of our body.
By keeping your body hydrated, it will also help prevent bloating thus creating a slimmer you.
If you are looking to lose more belly fat, then the first thing you should do is add more water to your daily routine...yes, water. Think about this, before you reach for that fruit juice or carbonated beverage, consider the calories you are consuming. Consider replacing these empty calories with good old fashioned water. If you did this for a solid week, you would be reducing your caloric intake by about 1,800 calories. That is equivalent to about a half pound a week.
Another benefit to drinking more water is hydration. Do you realize that sometimes your body isn't craving food, it is craving hydration? The more water you drink, the more those food cravings will decrease as your body is getting its hydration from the water instead of trying desperately to extract it from the foods you consume.
Speaking of, with an increased water intake you will feel fuller longer. Keep in mind that you may have to urinate more but this is good too. The more you urinate the more toxins will be released from your body, which is great for overall health.
Consider using stevia instead of sugar or other harmful sweeteners to sweeten your tea.
Green tea is one of the most healthiest drinks on the face of the planet, only topped by the one thing that aid is making green tea - water. Green tea has an antioxidant compound called Epigallocatechin gallate, more commonly referred to as ECGC. It is suggested to drink at least three or more cups of green tea a day because the ECGC will dramatically increase the metabolism and burn fat and calories throughout the day. And because green teas has a wide range of other anti-oxidants, it is known to help in other areas of overall health from detoxifying the body and cleansing the liver to helping with cardiovascular issues and neurological issues.
Almonds are a top contender when it comes to battling belly fat. Not only is it high in monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFAs), but it is also high in Vitamin E. With the combination of MUFAs and vitamin E, almonds also help reduce your cholesterol levels. Almonds are also high in protein and fiber, which is great for overall health and regularity.
Consider adding a handful of almonds (24 almonds or less) to your diet as a mid-afternoon snack. You can also integrate almonds into your diet by adding a few sliced or chopped almonds, as well as berries, to your yogurt for an energizing morning snack. Almonds, especially almond slices, go great with almost any salad. Therefore, you can easily get the benefits of almonds with any meal.
Natural Peanut Butter
Now before you grab just any peanut butter, not that this is referring to “natural” peanut butter. In fact, when you go to the grocery store, look for it on the label. It will actually read, “Natural Peanut Butter”. So what's the difference?
The difference is simple. The regular peanut butter doesn't just have peanuts in it. It also has a high amount of salt, sugar, and vegetable oil. Just a note about the sugar, these regular peanut butters could have a variety of sugar sources, including corn syrup. When it comes to the vegetable oil, companies usually partially or fully hydrogenated to prevent separation. Also note that in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does require peanut butter to be at least 90% peanuts to be called peanut butter. But why would you want the other 10% to be the gunk that is adding to your waistline. It kind of defeats the purpose, right?
Now natural peanut butter on the other hand, only contains peanuts and a small amount of salt. You can also find the unsalted natural peanut butter, which would leave it down to one ingredient: peanuts.
Natural peanut butter has a variety of health benefits aside from helping you shed pounds around your waistline. It is packed full of vitamin E, which is a great antioxidant and vitamin B6, which helps strengthen your immune system. It is also a great source of potassium, which is great for heart and overall muscle health, and magnesium to strengthen bones. But how exactly does it help you burn belly fat?
Well, according to Josh Schlottman, a fat loss expert and personal trainer, natural peanut butter contains niacin, which keeps your digestion system healthy and prevents you from bloating. Also, the protein and fiber found in peanut butter helps raise your metabolism and suppresses your appetite to help you resist idle snacking and craving unhealthy foods.
There is a great way that you can incorporate a spoonful of peanut butter into your morning routine. Just simply mix 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter to 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt. Next mix in about a 1/2 cup of natural raw oats; not the quick 1-minute oats. Then add 1 teaspoon of honey with a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and mix well.
There are several studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that suggest that pistachios will help aid in weight loss, especially around the midsection. In one study the separated sixty adults into two groups. One group had pistachios integrated into their daily diet. The other controlled group wasn't allowed to consume pistachios. Six months later, the findings showed that the group who consumed pistachios had a decrease in their waistline by almost one inch (approximately 7/10 of an inch). In addition to the belly fat reduction, the group who ate pistachios also saw a significant drop in cholesterol and a more balanced blood sugar level.
Oats are a great way to start off your day. It makes you feel full longer and your body converts the oats to energy slowly throughout the day. This will help keep you energized and not as hungry as the day progresses. Oats are also known to be beneficial for heart health as well as a boost for the immune system.
Avocados, sometimes referred to as an alligator pear, is one of the major super fruits that should be added to any healthy diet. Aside from containing monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFAs), it also a great source of pantothenic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and dietary fiber. Avocados contain more beta-sitosterol more so than any other fruit. Beta-sitosterol is another key component to lowering cholesterol.
Avocados are great eaten alone as a snack but are also a wonderful addition to almost any meal including salads. Avocados are a great breakfast food too. Just cut it in half, remove the pit, and add a small egg to each of the pit indention. Then bake in the oven, at 400°F (204°C) with a little black pepper, chives, and other seasoning of your choice until the egg is cooked the way you like it. For an alternative way to prepare this recipe, check out The Healthy Foodie's website with some great tips on fixing eggs in an avocado boat.
Flaxseed Oil is the leading source of plant-based omega3 fatty acids. Omega3 includes eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and linolenic acid. This combination of fatty acids helps the breakdown of fat while also reducing the additional fat storage. In addition to reducing systemic inflammation, flax seed oil is known to have other health benefits, such as reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. Oz, flaxseed oil is also a natural way to keep your bowels regular. With 8 grams of fiber, flaxseed oil will help prevent against constipation and bloating.
Recipes with Flaxseed Oil
- Low-Carb Diet Recipes | The Dr. Oz Show
If your waist is greater than 35 inches, you're at risk for heart disease, gall bladder disease and diabetes. By losing 10% of your body weight, you can also lower your blood pressure. Choose lean healthy proteins and limit your carbohydrate intake,
- Spinach Raspberry Flaxseed Oil Shake | The Dr. Oz Show
The perfect addition to any beauty diet, this shake will make your mornings all about fiber.
- Total 10 Berry Smoothie with Flaxseed Oil | The Dr. Oz Show
Make this recipe for an easy breakfast!
- Super Kale, Hemp and Flaxseed Oil Pesto - Cookie and Kate
Omega 3-rich pesto ready in under 10 minutes! This delicious, healthy pesto can be served on pasta, sandwiches and more. The pesto is vegan and gluten free.
- Lemon Juice and Flaxseed Drink | The Dr. Oz Show
A popular belief in ancient Indian medicine, or ayurveda, is that the natural acid of the lemon has antibacterial properties. Vitamin C may fight H. pylori, a bacteria in your gut.
Note About Olive Oil:
Olive oil won't specifically reduce your belly fat. However, by switching to olive oil when you cook will actually help reduce calories for overall health and fitness. In fact, according to a study in the American Journal of Nutrition, it suggests that just smelling olive oil may help a person lose some of those unwanted pounds.
Sunflower seeds are a great snack or great for adding to salads and yogurts. Studies by researchers show that those who are overweight have seen a reduction in their waist size by eating these little wonders. They attribute it to the fact that sunflower seeds contain a large amount of monounsaturated fat - that's the healthy fat our body needs. This monounsaturated fat help prevent extra deposits of fat in our midsection.
The International Journal of Obesity did a study and now suggests that eaten two eggs a day will help enhance a person's weight loss. First, let's look at the nutritional value of eggs and why they will help you shed those unwanted pounds in your belly.
Eggs contain a large amount of protein that will raise your metabolism. Aside from eggs containing nine essential vitamins, it contains vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 not only works with your metabolism to increase energy but it also help breakdown fats throughout the day.
However, eggs also contain a specific amino acid called leucine. Leucine increases the amount of fat loss as well as promoting less lean muscle loss. So therefore, it is a win win for slimming down and overall health.
Add Sriracha Hot Sauce to Your Diet
Sriracha hot sauce has about 20 different fat burning chemicals to help speed up the metabolism for about an hour and a half after eating it, according to Dr. Oz. So he suggests adding some to your eggs and other healthy food options.
Watermelon is great for reducing belly fat if you use it as a replacement snack. It is 91% water and has a sweet taste. It will help when you are craving a high calorie sweet snack if you reach for watermelon slices instead. Aside from being mostly water, watermelon also contains 5% fiber which makes you feel full longer. It is even said by some experts that watermelon is one of the foods that you can eat as much as you want to eat, so there is no risk of starving on your diet to lose weight.
Some of the nutrients that are found in watermelon include:
- L-citrulline amino acid
- L-arginine amino acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B-6
Berries and Other Beneficial Fruits
Everyone should get at least 2 daily recommended servings of fruit a day. That's about two or more cups a day. Berries are packed with all sorts of amino acids, vitamins, and other nutrients that not only help maintain a healthy lifestyle but help aid in weight loss.
Blueberries are one of these super fruits. In fact, there is a diet out there called the blueberry diet where an individual who is trying to lose weight by adding 2-3 cups of blueberries to their diet plan. Blueberries contains Vitamin C, for a healthy immune system, Vitamin E, commonly known as the anti-aging vitamin, and an amino acid called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has a multitude of benefits for our bodies, but some studies show that it also helps prevent or reduce the amount of weight gained.
Raspberries are another major contender when it comes to weight loss. They contain ketones that help burn harmful fat cells in the body, in addition to a variety of vitamins and other nutrients.
Other Fruits with Fat Burning Benefits
- Maqui berries
Green vegetables contain a high amount of vitamin A and vitamin C. These vitamins help reduce oxidative stress as well as help control the stress hormones released that are responsible for storing belly fat. Green vegetables are also high in folic acid, which helps raise the metabolism and plays an important role in healthy digestion. Because of this, folic acid is responsible for balancing insulin levels and ultimately decreasing the storage of fat, especially in the midsection.
Cucumbers are a great addition to any weight loss plan. Cucumber slices have about 8 calories per 1/2 cup serving. Plus they are 95% water and contain 5% of dietary fibers. So what does this mean? This means that it will help improve digestion, increase the metabolism, and eliminate toxins from the body. It also helps to keep the body temperature regulated making you feel refreshed and energized for most of the day. In addition to these benefits, cucumbers are packed full of vital nutrients your body needs, such as vitamin B and vitamin C.
Other Green Vegetables That Help Reduce Belly Fat:
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
Yes, studies show that you do not have to give up chocolate but before you reach for that chocolate bar, there are some things you should consider. First, the studies show that dark chocolate has health benefits, such as aiding in weight loss but that doesn't mean chocolate is a free-for-all serving amounts. You will need to limit your chocolate intake. Remember too much of a good thing can be very, very bad. Scientists suggest no more than 50 grams of dark chocolate a day, if you absolutely must have your chocolate fix.
Next, realize that the study is about dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. Once you introduce milk into the equation it negates all of the healthy properties. So this means don't eat that piece of dark chocolate and wash it down with milk. It defeats the purpose.
Dark chocolate retains up to 95% of a powerful antioxidant called flavonoids. These flavonoids will help increase the metabolism as well as help fight against heart disease and has anti-aging properties. Studies have also shown that dark chocolate can reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing your overall good cholesterol (HDL).
Did you know that protein powder isn't just for body builders looking to build muscle? It is also for those trying to shed a few pounds. There have been studies that show that those who consume whey protein shakes tend to lose more belly fat than those who don't use protein powder. In fact, these studies show that consuming whey protein powder drinks is more beneficial than obtaining protein from lean meats.
Protein is important to weight loss. It leaves you feeling full longer without all the sluggishness. In fact, protein causes what is called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process where it burns more calories to digest something. So to break it down, it takes more calories to digest this beneficial protein compared to other micro-nutrients, thus could lead to more weight loss.
Although there is clearly many food options available that will help reduce belly fat, these listed are just a few. There is no lose weight quick scheme that works without some sort of consequence or side effect, so losing weight gradually with total health in mind is the best route to take. Even still, you will need to set up some sort of doctor approved exercise or activity routine to go along with your healthy eating habits.
But keep in mind that one cannot work completely without the other. You can't lose all of the weight by diet alone just as you can't lose all of the weight with exercise alone. You have to find a good balance between the two and looking at it from a healthy lifestyle perspective. The focus should be on a healthier you not only as a short-term goal but as a lifestyle choice for total overall health.
Any health, diet or exercise advice is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your medical physician. Be sure to clear any exercise and/or diet changes with your personal health care provider before implementing these changes.
© 2015 L Sarhan