By Erin Palinski Wade, RD
Diets that promise to banish belly fat are all the rage, but what about these weight loss plans makes them burn belly fat more effectively than other weight loss plans?
The key isn’t in the foods that you avoid- it’s actually in the foods you start eating. That’s right-in order to fight belly fat you need to eat MORE! But not just more of any food; you want to start increasing your intake of foods and nutrients that have been proven to shrink unsightly and unhealthy belly fat.
In my book, Belly Fat Diet for Dummies, I reveal many foods and nutrients that actually help your body start to burn fat more effectively, bringing you long lasting, belly-flattening results. To get started with your own belly-fighting efforts, begin by adding in these 5 simple foods at least a few times per week. You will be amazed at the results!
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Already known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, blueberries may have another surprising benefit- they can shrink belly fat! A study at the University of Michigan found that when rats were fed a diet containing blueberries consistently over a three month period, they showed a significant reduction in abdominal fat. And even better- triglyceride levels dropped and insulin sensitivity increased meaning this delicious berry
A recent study found that when obese adults consumed half a grapefruit or four ounces of 100% grapefruit juice before three main meals, they experienced a significant decrease in both body weight and waist circumference. This may be due to the high water content of the grapefruit helping these individuals to feel satisfied, helping them reduce their portions of other foods. And one extra belly-fighting benefit of grapefruit- it contains diuretic properties helping you shed unwanted water weight which can bloat your belly.
Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are not only strong anti-inflammatory nutrients, but they also help to regulate stress hormones. When stress hormones such as cortisol are elevated in your body, it causes your body to store more fat- specifically belly fat. However, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent cortisol levels and other stress hormones from peaking, meaning less of these hormones are circulating in your body, and therefore you start to store less belly fat.
You’ve probably heard that “milk does a body good” but did you know dairy products can also do your belly good? Diets rich in dairy have been shown to be effective in reducing body fat, especially in the midsection. These findings may be in part due to calcium’s crucial role in regulating how fat is stored and broken down by the body. Dairy products are also rich in the amino acid arginine, which has been shown to help promote fat loss and increase muscle mass. So make sure to include some dairy in your diet daily- but make sure it’s the right kind. High fat dairy is loaded with unhealthy saturated fat and calories, which will work against your belly fighting efforts. Instead choose fat free or low fat options. I love Greek yogurt as a great option since it is also a great source of protein- which keeps you full longer and helps keep away cravings for foods that may be less than belly friendly.
These peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which studies have shown helps to return the stress hormone cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation. This means that after a stressful situation, stress hormones will be circulating in your body for shorter amounts of time, helping to fight against belly fat storage. And don’t worry if you don’t love bell peppers. There are plenty of great food sources of vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries, and even kiwis!
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