Most of us as adults dream of having a flat belly or "six-pack abs". When it comes to the battle of the bulge, we find that belly fat is a very tough opponent. The problem is we usually don't have a good strategy to fight it.
So is there a secret to losing belly fat? I'm pretty sure you have done what everyone does and that is doing sit-ups and crunches everyday. Making sure your diet is on track with lots of fruits and vegetables. But yet, your belly is still bigger than you want it to be. If you want to get rid of belly fat, new research shows that what you eat is just as important as how much you exercise you do.
To understand why it is important to get rid of belly fat, we need to know what happens when fat accumulates in your abdomen. When you carry extra pounds in your midsection it causes very serious health problems. In fact, did you know that belly fat is more dangerous than fat around your hips and thighs?
Most of us think that belly fat is what we see and can grab with our hands. This is called "subcutaneous fat", which is located under the skin. But it is the fat we don't see that's really a cause for health concerns. I'm talking about the dangerous fat that is tucked deep inside your waistline surrounding the abdominal organs, called "Visceral fat".
Gaining this type of fat is worse for your health than "subcutaneous fat" because it has been associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
But don't worry. Studies have shown that when you lose weight, belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose.
Phew! What a relief, right?
Most people who lose weight will lose it in the abdominal area than anywhere on their body. The reason for this is because "Visceral fat", that sits deeper inside the abdomen, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin. This is good news for people who are noticeably overweight because they will see quicker results than someone who has less fat to lose in that area.
In addition to exercise, there are a number of foods that are great for your waistline. They are also delicious and can actually help you fight belly fat.
If you love eating carbs, then this is right up your alley!
Studies show that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains can trim extra fat from your waistline. All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and naturally low in fat.However, it's better to chose whole grains because they are better sources of fiber.
Eating foods like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread while reducing refined carbohydrates helps in keeping your body's insulin levels low. This makes it easier for your body to absorb and burn fat cells slowly for longer-lasting energy.
A diet consisting of mainly whole grains maybe difficult to do, but you can always work your way toward eating more whole grains. They are a good source of fiber, which satisfies hunger for longer periods. And, you will find yourself eating less refined foods.
When out shopping for whole grain products, make sure you check the label. Always look for the word "whole" is on the package and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list. You want to choose items with a minimum of 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
Even though avocados are high in fat, they have great health benefits. The fat in avocados is called monounsaturate fatty acids (MUFAS) which are considered healthy fats. Studies show they lower bad cholesterol, and raise good cholesterol. But keep in mind... they are still fats! It is very easy to overeat guacamole. You will have to treat them like all other fats, which means they have to be controlled and eaten in moderation.
With that said... Avocados, help absorbs nutrients such as caroteniod, which fruits and vegetables are rich in. Caroteniods is cancer-fightling compounds found in colorful fruits and veggies like tomatoes, carrots, spinach and winter squash. It has been discovered that these carotenoids can improve health and reduce weight.
Experts say it's best to consume avocados with your greens, like in a salad.
Why? Because fruits and vegetables are low in lipids or fats that the body needs to absorb the nutrients. So when you add avocados to a salid, it absorbs these carotenoids.
See! You learn something new everyday... :-)
Bananas is good for belly swelling. It has a good source of potassium, which helps limit the amount of sodium in your body. Bananas also help to maintain normal blood pressure and support proper heart function.
Because of the sugar content in bananas, it's important that you will watch your overall sugar consumption. One cup serving of bananas contains 28 grams of sugar. However, it is an excellent "transition food" if you are trying to eat healthy. You can satisfy your sweet tooth by mixing banana with almond butter.
If you are trying to lose weight, bananas are a good way to go because it helps you feel full and gives you energy. It's great to eat a banana after you workout especially if you have muscle cramps.
Berries contain phytochemicals and flavonoids that may help to prevent some forms of cancer. They have antioxidants that can improve blood flow, and deliver more oxygen to your muscles. This makes cardio exercise easier to do.
So to get your muscles ready, have some yogurt and berries before your next workout. :-)
I like to buy the freshest berries like at the farmers' market because they are usually picked and harvested that same day. But if you can't get to a farmers' market, every grocery store carries a wide variety of fresh or frozen berries that are just as good.
Yogurt is good for belly bloating. It promotes the growth of good bacteria in your stomach. The good bacteria then eliminates the bad bacteria.
Yogurt, especially Creamy Greek Yogurt, consist of carbs and protein. It helps to stabilize insulin, which is a hormone that tells your body to store calories as fat when levels get too high.
Green Tea contains the compound ECGC, which makes it easier to burn fat. Experts say drinking three cups daily may increase your metabolism and burn 30 calories.
Chocolate Skim Milk
Think chocolate milk is just for kids? Think again.
Chocolate milk contains a combination of calcium (for strong bones) carbohydrates and protein to promote muscle building. Drinking chocolate milk after a good workout is a tasty way to speed recovery.
So the secret to losing belly fat is to lose weight on a balanced, calorie-controlled diet. To get all the nutrients you need, the foundation for your diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, eggs, and poultry.
Don't forget to exercise at least an hour a day. That's right! Get off your butt and start hooping. :-)
Also, make sure to watch your sugar intake.
If you need further help in choosing the right foods to eat, I found this excellent Flat Stomach Food Guide you can download and carry around as you grocery shop.
Flat Ab Diet