Prior to discussing the food items that can assist in reducing belly fat, it’s crucial to understand which ones you must avoid.
Eliminating the “white stuff” is essential to combatting a muffin top, as it triggers a surge in insulin levels. This encompasses sugary foods like cakes, pastries, bread, rice, potatoes, and cookies.
While I’m not advocating for the complete avoidance of sandwiches, a diet rich in refined carbohydrates and sugar is the root cause of abdominal fat and elevates the chances of developing ailments.
To break free from the cycle of fat accumulation, incorporate the following foods into your diet:
1. Wild Salmon
With high-quality protein that stabilizes blood sugar and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon is helpful for regulating insulin. Human intervention trials also show that supplementing with omega-3 can help reduce visceral fat.
Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, and other nutrients, one cup of avocado also contains 10 grams of filling, fat-busting fiber. A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that adolescents who ate more fiber experienced reduced visceral fat and inflammation.
3. Raw Nuts
Loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, raw almonds and other nuts and seeds help stabilize blood sugar and make a delicious snack. Nuts and seeds are also rich in magnesium, a mineral most of us are deficient in.
A study in the journal Magnesium Research found a high-fructose diet with low magnesium levels is a combo that increases inflammation and promotes fat storage in the belly.
4. Green Tea
Dump the cortisol-raising java for a calming cup of green tea. Numerous studies show that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea help reduce body fat.
You’ll need to drink a good amount to get those benefits, so supplementing might be the way to go.
A University of Michigan study found obese rats had lower visceral fat triglycerides and improved insulin sensitivity after eating a blueberry-enriched powder for 90 days. Blueberries add real fiber and a phytonutrient punch to your protein shakes or Greek yogurt.
Frozen blueberries can be just as effective as the fresh ones when it comes to boosting fat and weight loss. You can use them as snacks or make some baked blueberry cheesecake.
Eggs are high-protein foods with very low calories, so you can eat up to three of them a day without a problem (as long as you’re healthy). They are high in satiety index, which makes them an excellent breakfast meal.
What is the satiety index? It is a scale that measures the duration in which food can leave you feeling full and not hungry after eating.
A 2002 study further revealed high-protein diets, such as those with eggs, can also reduce belly fat through their thermogenic effect. This means you can sit in front of your PC and still burn more fat than those on a low-fat, high-carb diet.
If you find the taste of eggs lacking, you can add more fats by making it sunny side up with coconut oil or scrambled eggs with grass-fed butter. Note, though, adding these can also increase the food’s calorie count.
A lot of people tire themselves in their cardio workout or other muffin top exercises to no avail. The reason is simple: they can’t quit refined grains and wheat.
If this is you, then quinoa makes an excellent substitute, especially for those who want a gluten-free diet. This grain crop is high in protein and fiber but low in sugar or glycemic index.
It also contains an amino acid called betaine. This amino acid can lower the levels of homocysteine, which studies associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
It converts homocysteine into a type of methionine, which is essential in improving liver function. The liver plays a significant role in reducing the appearance of muffin top by regulating fat storage, among others.
Other studies suggest betaine may encourage the growth of muscle mass, so you can also get rid of the subcutaneous fat. Quinoa also makes a good complement to your physical activity or interval training exercises.
If you love baking, you can combine baking soda and baking powder with some mashed banana instead of brown sugar. Both are sweet, but the fruit can have lower calories.
Bananas do have sugar, but their glycemic index is only somewhere between low and medium. They don’t cause significant glucose spikes.
What is the glycemic index? It is a measure of how fast or slow food can affect your blood sugar levels.
The green variety, meanwhile, has high levels of resistant starch, which is a complex chain of sugar the body cannot digest.
This makes the fruit a form of soluble fiber, slowing down the absorption of glucose. A 2015 study revealed that resistant starch can also enhance fat oxidation, especially when paired with protein.
You can also learn how to get rid of a muffin top by eating your greens, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli. These foods contain massive loads of vitamins and antioxidants, which can reduce chronic inflammation.
A 2007 study cited a link between belly fat formation and chronic inflammation. The latter can increase the chances of metabolic syndrome.
Greens are also filling but low in calories, so you can add them to your favorite foods, including a portion of red meat, and make the meals healthier.
You can also make them into smoothies and use Alkalizing Greens and combine the powder with equally nutritious fat-burning foods such as blueberries and bananas.
Change Your Diet to Prevent Health Risks
You can never underestimate the dangers of having belly fat. It won’t just affect your waist but also other parts of the body such as your hips, knees, and feet.
You may even damage the other internal organs such as the liver and pancreas. The fat can accumulate around them and secrete its own hormones.
Some people rely only on the belly button or muffin top exercises and strength exercises to help get rid of them. Others succeed, especially when they learn to target certain muscle groups or work with the right fitness trainer.
In many cases, however, they gain back all the weight they lost simply because of poor diet.
So while it may seem frustrating that you can’t melt away that belly fat with good old-fashioned crunches, know that your diet and hormones are the true gatekeepers to a flat tummy. Turn to these fat-busting foods, and you’ll send the muffin top packing in no time.