When it comes to fighting belly fat and achieving the flat belly you’ve always desired, a calorie is not just a calorie. In fact, certain foods can actually trigger your body to store more belly fat!
The good news is that certain foods can also actually help your body to melt stubborn belly fat at lightning speed, helping you to achieve your goals in no time! When you know the best foods to burn belly fat, you can start incorporating them into your favorite breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to maximize your weight loss efforts.
1. Chia seeds
Have you heard of the Chia Pet? Well, chia seeds aren’t just for growing house plants. In fact, these tiny seeds are one of nature’s top belly-fat fighters! Chia seeds are among the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to metabolize belly fat, as well as reduce circulating levels of stress hormones that trigger fat storage.
So, how do you eat chia seeds? You can add them to everything from smoothies to salads to yogurt. You can add them to your favorite breakfast cereal or even use them to thicken soups and gravies! Aim to consume about 1 tablespoon of chia seeds per day. They’re available in most grocery stores and health food stores.
These tart little berries aren’t called “blue dynamos” for nothing! Blueberries contain one of the highest antioxidant levels of all produce, making them terrific at decreasing unhealthy inflammation that may be triggering belly fat storage.
In addition, one study found that a diet rich in blueberries was shown to help significantly reduce abdominal fat. The same study found that this powerful fruit may lower triglyceride levels and improve insulin sensitivity — in other words, blueberries may help to fight heart disease and type 2 diabetes!
So, don’t be stingy when adding blueberries to your meals. They’re great alone, but they can also be baked into pancakes and muffins, and even added to stuffing. In addition, blueberries make a great topping for pork and poultry dishes.
Yogurt probably seems like more of a standalone food, but don’t be fooled. Yogurt can easily be incorporated into everything from soups to salads and even marinades. It can add a tasty, rich flavor to a meal, as well as help to shrink your waistline! Diets rich in dairy have been shown to be effective in reducing body fat, especially in the midsection (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, start incorporating more yogurt in your diet today!
4. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamin C. When the stress hormone cortisol is chronically elevated in the body, you can experience increased fat storage in the abdominal area. However, research has shown that vitamin C helps reduce stress levels and return the stress hormone cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation. This reduction in cortisol may help to prevent increased belly fat storage. So, mash them, bake them, or even make baked sweet potato fries to gain the benefits!
A recent study found that when obese adults consumed half a grapefruit or 4 ounces of 100 percent 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 them to feel satisfied and reduce their portions of other foods.
One extra belly fat–fighting benefit of grapefruit: It contains diuretic properties, helping you shed unwanted water weight, which can bloat your belly.
6. Hot peppers
Rich in capsaicin, this spicy vegetable can give your metabolism a boost, helping you to shed unwanted pounds, especially in the midsection. In addition, capsaicin has been found to help relax blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. Animal studies have also indicated that capsaicin may decrease insulin resistance, which means that this spicy seasoning may help improve blood sugar control, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
7. Red wine
Alcohol is an integral part of many celebrations, but it’s also packed full of excess calories that can pack on the pounds. When you’re drinking alcohol, your best option is red wine because it’s rich in resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to suppress levels of the hormone estrogen.
High levels of estrogen in your body promote increased fat storage, so suppressing them may decrease body fat while helping to increase lean muscle mass. Keep alcohol in moderation, with no more than one glass per day for women and two glasses per day for men. (A glass of wine is equal to 4 ounces.)