Belly fat carries many risks, it is the most dangerous type of fat on our body. An expanding waistline is sometimes considered the price of getting older. For women, this can be especially true after menopause, when body fat tends to shift to the abdomen.
Yet an increase in belly fat can do more than make it hard to zip up your jeans. Research shows that belly fat also carries serious health risks. Fortunately there are some food types that combined with exercise can help you get rid of your belly fat once and for all.
It is completely normal, even for skinny people, to have some belly fat. Fat is important for proper functioning of our bodies because it contains essential nutrients. Our bodies need fat to make tissue and create biochemicals, such as hormones.
Some fat can be stored just below the surface of our skin, while other can be found deeper inside our body around the organs, such as around our heart, lungs and liver. This deeper fat is called “visceral” fat and too much of it can seriously affect our health.
The Dangers of Belly Fat
Excess amount of belly fat greatly increases the risks of many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even some types of cancers.
You are not safe from belly fat even if you are slim, because slim people can have hidden belly fat that is folded deep inside the belly around the stomach organs and is visible only by medical imaging. Genetic issues, unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercise can all lead to this type of fat.
Men are more prone to storing fat on their belly than women and that is one of the reasons man have more coronary disease than women. Before menopause women are more protected because their fat is usually stored on the buttocks and thighs. But after they reach menopause women fat starts settling in the belly, and this fat greatly increases woman’s risk of death from heart disease.
Diet is just one part of the puzzle
Although genetics plays a role in the formation of belly fat that is just one part of the puzzle. Main reason for belly fat formation is unhealthy lifestyle combining both the lack of exercise and a poor diet. The key to losing belly fat is to be physically active and to have a healthy balanced nutrition.
Just eating food that targets belly fat without exercising will lead to much slower results. Try finding a physical activity that you enjoy wheatear that is walking, running, biking or going to the gym. When combined with a belly burning foods this will get you the results you desire much faster.
Another important thing to mention is sleep. Getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep is extremely important. Sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems including weight gain. Sleep duration affects the hunger and satiety, as well as the production of various hormones and has a direct effect on the metabolism of the body. Maintaining enough hours of sleep will make your body burn calories faster.
Another part of the puzzle is stress. Try to keep you stress levels down as they can lead to many health problems and can increase food cravings. Avoiding emotional eating can really benefit our weight loss progress.
Foods that fight belly fat
You can find many lists of food on various websites that claim that particular food has the ability to burn belly fat. Sometimes it can be very confusing to choose the right diet. It is important to realize that there is no magic diet for belly fat, but when you lose weight on any diet, belly fat usually goes first.
Here we will concentrate on food categories that may be beneficial in weight loss, as well as maintaining that weight loss over time:
Foods rich in fiber
Research has shown that eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day helped to build less visceral fat over time. This is why many lists contain fiber rich foods, such as beans, legumes, various fruits and vegetables with the skin, whole grains and oats. Try to include soluble fiber in every meal and snack throughout the day.
If your body is not accustomed to eating these amounts of fiber, start by gradually adding more and more fiber and drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water each day. This way you will avoid gas and diarrhea.
Protein rich foods
Protein takes longer to digest postponing hunger. The reason for this is that protein molecules are long chains with strong links which are harder to break down, and the whole process is more time consuming. It has been calculated that to obtain 100 calories from a protein food, the system must use 30 calories, compared to only 12 calories for fat and 7 for carbohydrates.
This is the reason many lists recommend foods like low-fat and low-sugar yogurt, skim milk, lean meat, fish and eggs, or plant based proteins such as beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds and certain vegetables. 1 egg contains 7 grams of protein. 1 cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Tabouli is also high in fiber and protein. Also nuts are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats, so if you eat them in moderation, they are excellent to curb hunger between meals.
Foods with high water content
Because of their high water content these food take up more space in your stomach and leave less room for other foods. Many fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water and nutrients, but are low in calories and that is the reason many lists recommend them. Fruits that have high content of water are berries, grapefruit, melons, oranges, apples, pears and more. Vegetables that have high water content are cucumber, lettuce, celery, radish, zucchini, tomato, cabbage and more.
In general good thing about fruits and vegetables is that these foods are generally full of water and they are also a good source of fiber and many other nutrients and antioxidants. Fruits are also filled with sugar and represent a good alternative to unhealthy snacks. Vegetables can satisfy our need to crunch, so consider munching a carrot, celery sticks or a sweet potato instead of chips.
Hot food can mean spicy food, food with higher temperature or both. Hot food takes longer to eat and with added bonuses such as fiber and water content that make you feel full. This is why oatmeal or homemade soups (broth based and not cream based) can be found in many lists. Also cayenne peppers appear in some lists as people tend to eat less when their food is spicy, and because they are believed to improve your metabolism.
Metabolism boosting foods
A good example of metabolism boosting food is green tea which has a phytochemical called EGCG that promotes weight loss by promoting the internal heat of the body and fat oxidation. Cayenne pepper is packed with capsaicin, which help speed up metabolism. Capsaicin increases the internal heat of the body, and in order to increase heat, energy is needed, and thus cayenne pepper contributes to increase metabolism. You will also find vinegar on many lists as it is believed that it helps your body break down fat.
There is no miracle way for loosing belly fat. It is often a long process that requires a lifestyle change. However it is important to know what food types can help you speed up that process and get the results you desire in a faster and healthier way.