Muffin tops not only looks bad in your jeans, but can be dangerous to your health as well.
That baggage around your stomach is visceral fat. It forms deep within the abdominal cavity and secretes proteins that lead to chronic inflammation.
Over time this can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. (1) You can be a normal weight for your height and still have too much belly fat.
A simple test is to just measure your waist with a tape measure.
Men should have a waist of less than 40 inches and women should be less than 35 inches. (2) Luckily there are 7 foods that can help tackle belly fat and help you lose weight.
Fat Burning Food #1: Eggs
Whether poached, scrambled, boiled, or soft cooked, replacing eggs for some of the meat in your diet can provide the protein and nutrients to keep your body healthy and your appetite satisfied.
Rich in protein, eggs can help you feel full longer for just 78 calories per serving. (3) Multiple studies have shown that protein is the most important macronutrient for weight loss and can reduce cravings by 60%.
Protein is especially effective against belly fat. (2) Go ahead and add a boiled egg to a salad or eat one as a healthy midday snack. Even a fried egg is healthy if made with a touch of cooking spray in a nonstick skillet. (3)
Fat Burning Food #2: Lemons
Use the power of lemons to improve digestion and mineral absorption, and detox your body.
This popular fruit has probably been in your iced tea or water for a while. Lemons are great for detoxifying the liver and helping to prevent fat accumulation. (4) They’re also cheap and readily available. Try adding lemon to baked fish or chicken to add a zest of flavor for very few calories.
Fat Burning Food #3: Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are an excellent source of ‘good fats’ for your body’s energy needs. This small nut is packed with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Don’t like almonds? Pine nuts are rich in heart-healthy fatty acids that also help keep belly fat in check, as well as help you feel full. A ½ ounce serving (about 84 nuts) has only 95 calories. (3) These versatile nuts can top a salad or hide out in your desk drawer at work for a healthy snack option.
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Fat Burning Food #4: Blueberries
Whether you are trying to lose weight, or just eat healthier, blueberries are a source of many essential nutrients and one of the highest antioxidant fruits around. Both low in calories and high in fiber, blueberries are an excellent snack or addition to any meal.
This summer favorite is the best berry, with high amounts of antioxidants to fight fat. They boast a low glycemic index, meaning that they satisfy your sweet tooth without adding extra sugar. Daily consumption can boost belly fat loss, as well as boost metabolism and help burn calories. (4)
Fat Burning Food #5: Skim Milk
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, skim milk is a good source of calcium and Vitamins A and B12, without the added fat of whole or reduced-fat milk.
Another rich source of protein, milk contains whey and casein proteins to help fill you up. It also contains fat-fighting CLA.
It’s another calorie bargain at 86 calories per cup. (3)
Fat Burning Food #6: Oranges
Although a glass of orange juice is full of sugars that can spike your storage of stomach fats, when eaten whole, oranges provide a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps control blood glucose levels and makes you feel full longer. Oranges are also an excellent source of immune-boasting vitamins and antioxidants.
This tasty fruit has lots of fiber to help fill you up, as well as vitamin C. Australian researchers found that they are the highest ranked food on the “satiety index,” which ranked 38 foods that are the most filling. Oranges have a scant 59 calories each. (3)
Fat Burning Food #7: Apples
With countless varieties of apples available to us year round, you are bound to find a favorite. Both low in calories and abundant in nutrients, this high fiber fruit will not only satisfy your hunger, but can also provide resistance to infectious agents and harmful free radicals.
Keep fresh apples around for fast snacks that are loaded with vitamins B and C. In addition to fiber, they are loaded with minerals and antioxidants that help give you energy. (4)
There are other ways to burn stomach fat and help lose weight. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that combining certain foods increases nutritional value. For example, adding eggs to
For example, adding eggs to a salad makes it easier to absorb carotenoids which help fight weight gain. Honeydew and red grapes can be mixed with your favorite fruits to boost phytonutrients.
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Melons are a natural diuretic that can beat stomach bloat which can make you look puffy. Red grapes fight fat-storage genes with anthocyanin, another important antioxidant. (5)
Here are more weight management tips:
- Be sure you’re getting enough magnesium. Increased consumption of magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables helps lower fasting glucose and insulin levels. This critical mineral performs over 300 chemical reactions and keeps your heart beating regularly. (6)
- Skip soda. All that sugar is loaded with empty calories, and diet sodas are no better. A study in 2012 in the journal Obesity found that diet sodas increase BMI, waist size, and overall percentage of fat. Artificial sweeteners may trick the body into expecting a flood of energy. No calories means no energy, which interferes with hunger signals and may make you crave more calories to make up for the loss. Stick with water (add your lemon!) or unsweetened tea or coffee. (6)
- Ditch the salt shaker. Even if you don’t add extra salt to your food, you get more than you need from canned foods, deli meats, salad dressing, and certain dairy products. The recommended daily dose is 2,300 mg but almost 90 percent of people get far more. Try fresh herbs such as ginger, cumin, or other spices to add new flavor to old favorites. (6)
- Keep a food log and record every bite you eat, even if it’s just a “taste” of something you’re cooking. It’s easy to forget the odd cookie you ate at work or the extra helping of pasta. Be sure you weigh and measure your food at first so you can see what a true serving size looks like. We’ve grown used to “supersizing” our meals, especially when eating out. You won’t need to do this forever; just at first while you’re learning portion sizes. If you feel the pounds creeping back up, weigh and measure again to be sure you’re still familiar with how much you should eat. (2)
- Break a sweat. Aerobic exercise combined with smarter eating boosts weight loss. Don’t try to spot reduce—studies show it doesn’t work. Walking, jogging, swimming, or any other activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat will do. Aerobic exercise also helps reduce inflammation and level out blood sugar, which contribute to stomach fat. (2)
- Get your calcium. Dairy calcium, such as low-fat Greek yogurt, is more effective than calcium from other sources. When calcium levels are low, the body produces a hormone that stores visceral fat. Adults should aim for 1,000 mg of calcium from low-fat dairy sources every day. (1)