Belly fat is dangerous (1). It not only prevents you from being fashion forward (talk about sporting those amazing crop tops), but is also closely linked to diabetes, heart disease, and insulin resistance (2), (3). And it can affect anyone, irrespective of age, genetics, etc. So, you must address the issue immediately by consuming foods that help mobilize this stubborn fat. In this article, I have listed 25 belly fat burning foods to include in your diet and live a healthy and happy life. But before that, let me tell you the reason belly region is prone to accumulating fat. Swipe up!
Why Does Fat Accumulate Around Your Belly?
- Hormonal Changes
Hormones play a major role in determining fat distribution in the body. And any hormonal imbalance can lead to increased hunger, slow metabolism, and increased stress levels, leading to belly fat accumulation.
If obesity runs in your genes, you are more prone to accumulating fat in your belly region.
It is human nature to eat too much under stress, eventually leading to fat accumulation.
- Lack Of Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to indigestion and bloating, resulting in a puffed up belly. Sleep deprivation also increases the production of stress hormones in the body, leading to overall weight gain.
- Sugary Foods and Beverages
Sugary foods and beverages are devils in disguise. They contain high amounts of additives, preservatives, and artificial colors. Though drinking them may seem fun and cool, they are the major contributors of belly fat.
Alcohol is broken down into sugar in the body, and the excess sugar gets converted to fat. Alcohol also causes dehydration, leading to abnormal metabolism. This, in turn, leads to inflammation and inflammation-induced abdominal obesity.
- Trans Fats
Trans fats are the unhealthy fats found in junk foods like fried foods, processed foods, crackers, etc. They tend to accumulate fat in the belly region, slow down fat metabolism, and increase the number of harmful free oxygen radicals in the body.
Being inactive can also lead to the accumulation of belly fat. A sedentary lifestyle is the primary reason for the increase in the incidence of obesity worldwide. Desk jobs, sitcoms, and lethargy are pushing people more and more toward obesity and obesity-related diseases.
- Low-Protein Diets
Being on a low-protein diet can also be harmful when it comes to losing belly fat. Proteins are the building blocks, and everything – from your hair to the muscles and hormones – is protein. When you are on a low-protein diet, your muscles become weak, and your body functions slow down. This leads to high stress and inflammation, increased toxicity, and slow metabolism.
Women who are going through menopause experience a lot of hormonal ups and downs. High levels of cortisol (or the stress hormone) are responsible for women gaining belly fat during this period. But menopause alone is not responsible for belly fat. It is also due to a sedentary lifestyle that menopausal women gain fat around the waist.
- The Wrong Gut Bacteria
Good gut bacteria aid digestion and prevent belly fat accumulation. Consuming foods that do not promote the growth of these bacteria, like processed food, fried foods, etc., can lead to a bulging belly. Consume yogurt or probiotic drinks that increase the number of good gut bacteria to lose belly fat.
- Packaged Fruit Juices
Fruit juices are good for you, but not the packaged ones. Packaged, bottled, or canned fruit juices are loaded with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and sugar. These are harmful for your overall health and should be avoided.
- Low-Fiber Diets
If you are suffering from IBS/IBD, low-fiber diets are good for you. But if you are not, they can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly region. White rice, flour, and peeled fruits are low in fiber. Dietary fiber helps increase satiety and aids stool movement in the colon. And when you do not consume enough dietary fiber, you may suffer from constipation and feel hungry all the time, leading to weight gain and belly fat.
So, these are the main reasons fat tends to accumulate in your belly region. Now, let us see which foods will help you cut the fat and get a flat belly.
25 Best Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast
Fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. Hence, make them an essential part of your daily diet to burn belly fat.
Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, kiwi, tangerine, and fresh limes are excellent fat burners that boost metabolism. And the acid present in them burns fat faster as compared to that in other fruits.
Other fat-burning fruits include apples, watermelons, grapes, and strawberries.
Pulses (or dal ) are protein-rich and low in calories and fat. The lean protein present in the dal helps build lean muscle mass, speeds up metabolism, and improves overall body functions. Simple boiled dal is healthier than fried or spiced up dal.
Fish are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Proteins help build muscle, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body and increase metabolic rate. Also, the lower the inflammation, the lower the chances of gaining weight that is triggered by stress and inflammation.
Almonds keep your stomach full for a long time, and they are good fats that do not add to your calories. They are a good source of nutrients to burn fat for vegetarians. They are also rich in omega-3s that increase energy and metabolism.
5. Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes are good sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming them regularly can help suppress hunger pangs, thereby preventing overeating. Plus, they are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Try and mix three different legumes to provide your body with different micronutrients.
6. Spinach And Other Green Vegetables
Vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, radish greens, carrot, broccoli, and turnip are rich in vitamins, minerals, water, and dietary fiber. In fact, their calorie content is lower than fruits. These veggies can help reduce belly fat by preventing you from overeating, boosting your metabolism, aiding good digestion, and cleansing the colon. These are low in calories and are the best options to consume as healthy snacks (cucumber, carrot, and beetroot) to curb your junk food cravings.
7. Dairy Products
Full-fat milk, full-fat yogurt, and feta cheese are dairy products that you must include in your diet if you are not lactose intolerant. Full-fat dairy products are recommended as these are loaded with nutrients and will keep you satiated for a long duration, thereby leading to weight loss (4). Slim or skimmed milk is devoid of the nutrients and does not keep your hunger pangs at bay.
Oats are rich in fiber and aid digestion. They contain insoluble fiber and carbohydrates that curb your hunger, give you strength for better a workout, and reduce fat content in your body. Having a bowl of oats with skimmed milk for breakfast is the best thing you can do every morning. When you are buying oatmeal, make sure that you choose one that is flavorless as the flavored oats contain sugar and chemicals.
9. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, though high in calories, is the best option to sweeten your breakfast or smoothies. The nut butter is loaded with protein and healthy fats that reduce the chances of weight gain. But be careful with the amount you consume – do not exceed the daily threshold of two tablespoons of nut butter per day.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a light, low-calorie, delicious, and subtly fragrant oil. Cooking with olive oil is good for weight loss and your health, in general, because it helps lower bad or LDL cholesterol and increases the levels of good or HDL cholesterol. It is a weight loss-friendly and heart health-friendly oil that you can use to cook or season your food.
11. Whole Grains
Whole grains, such as millet, quinoa, and brown rice, are good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Consuming these will keep your hunger pangs at bay, improve muscle mass, aid digestion, and cleanse the colon. This, in turn, will help you shed the belly fat easily.
12. Protein Powder
Protein powders are a great option if you cannot load up on whole foods that are rich sources of protein. You can use whey protein, any vegan protein powder or homemade protein powders to improve muscle mass, increase metabolism, and get rid of the annoying belly fat in just a few days.
13. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are amazing for weight loss. It has become a trend now to include chia seeds in smoothies, salads, and breakfast bowls. They are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 grams of dietary fiber. Thus, consuming chia seeds will prevent you from overeating at wrong times of the day, improve digestion and metabolism, and support your gut health, leading to steady weight loss.
According to Kayleen St.John, R.D., Executive Director of Nutrition and Strategic Development of Euphebe, low levels of vitamin D are connected to abdominal obesity. Mushrooms are great sources of vitamin D as well as protein. They are low in calories and high in water content. You can easily prepare mushroom soup or add them to salads and sandwiches to make a delicious lunch or dinner without worrying about calories.
Raspberries are great sources of vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that helps flush out toxins from the body. They are also loaded with dietary fiber, and having about 30 grams of raspberries per day is said to cancel out 300 calories and lead to about 30 pounds of weight loss in a year, and hence makes them one of the very effective belly fat burning foods out there. Therefore, include them in your diet to lose the flab and get a slimmer tummy.
16. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a good impact on blood lipid levels and may even help reduce tummy fat. Loaded with healthy fats, coconut oil reduces bad blood cholesterol levels, improves digestion, and boosts overall immunity. Use edible grade coconut oil for cooking. You can also have bullet coffee as your morning drink to keep you charged for the entire day.
According to Julieanna Hever, author of The Vegiterranean Diet, having soup before meals helps reduce the number of calories you consume. This, in turn, helps prevent fat accumulation in the belly region. You must consume vegetable, chicken, or mushroom clear soup. Ideally, make soups at home to reap the maximum benefits.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared weight loss after an egg breakfast to that after a bagel breakfast containing similar calories. The results were amazing. The participants who consumed two eggs for breakfast lost 65% more weight, and their waist circumference was reduced by a whopping 34% (5). And that’s because eggs are a great source of protein and both water and fat-soluble vitamins that help keep the hunger pangs at bay and build lean muscle.
19. Spicy Chili Peppers
Chili peppers like cayenne, green chili, and red chili are loaded with vitamin C and capsaicin that help increase the metabolic rate and burn the fat away. Consuming these chili peppers can help you lose weight and also manage the flab in your belly region. Add cayenne pepper or red chili flakes to your salads, and green chilis to fritters or omelet. They not only enhance the taste but also make you slim.
Broccoli is one of the best belly fat burning foods. From reducing obesity to treating cancer, it offers a wide range of benefits. In fact, experts believe that consuming broccoli wards off the chances of falling prey to type 2 diabetes. The phytonutrients present in broccoli help flush out the toxins, reduce inflammation, boost metabolic rate, and improve your body’s immunity. Consume blanched or grilled broccoli with salads and soups and get a toned and flat belly in no time.
Nuts like walnuts, macadamia, pine nuts, and pistachios are good for weight loss. They are loaded with healthy fats and protein that increase your satiety levels, improve the taste of food, and prevent you from snacking on other trans fats-loaded junk food. In fact, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, people who snack on nuts tend to have lower belly fat (6).
Farro or emmer is a wheat product that is dried and sold. It can be consumed after cooking in water and adding to soups and salads. It is high in dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, zinc, protein, and magnesium. Since it is a good source of protein and dietary fiber, it keeps you satiated for a long duration, helps build lean muscle, and cleanses the colon. Consume farro for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and you will notice the difference in your hunger cycle immediately.
Yogurt is loaded with good gut bacteria that aid digestion and take care of your gut health (7). In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that women who consumed probiotics lost twice as much weight compared to those who didn’t (8). Include yogurt in your diet by using it to make smoothies, salad dressing, etc.
Sauerkraut is a fermented food. Kimchi (pickled veggies) is a good source of probiotics or good gut bacteria that help reduce bloating and improve digestion. According to Frank Lipman, M.D., founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, including sauerkraut in your diet can help protect your gut from being overtaken by pathogenic bacteria that cause health problems. So, to lose weight, have some lip-smacking kimchi or sauerkraut. And you thought losing weight wasn’t fun!
Spirulina is low in calories, protein-rich, anti-inflammatory, appetite-suppressing, blood lipid-lowering, and blood pressure-lowering. This single cell protein is the perfect belly fat reducing supplement that you may include in your diet after consulting your doctor. You can add it to salads, smoothies, and juices.
These are the 25 belly fat burning foods you must include in your diet. Now, let me tell you a few other things to do to get a flat tummy. Scroll down.
Other Things To Consider
- Avoid packaged fruit juices, soda, and energy drinks.
- Have protein in every meal.
- Cut carbs from your diet.
- Consume foods rich in fiber, especially viscous fiber.
- Exercise is very effective in reducing belly fat. Hence, you must exercise regularly.
- Track your meals and figure out what and how much you are eating.
Belly fat is stubborn and may not go away in a day. Here, persistence is the key to success. Keep building new and healthy habits, and you will see results for sure. Also, keep your goals realistic. Not eating and exercising vigorously may make you weak and lead to weight gain. So, plan your activity levels and diet so that you lose belly fat without losing muscle mass. Take care!
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