Belly fat is dangerous (1). It is closely linked to diabetes, heart disease, and insulin resistance (2), (3). And it can affect anyone, irrespective of age, genetics, etc. So, you want to address the issue immediately by consuming foods that help mobilize this stubborn fat. In this article, I have listed 25 belly fat burning foods to include in your diet and live a healthy and happy life. But before that, let me tell you the reason belly region is prone to accumulating fat. Swipe up!!
Why Does Fat Accumulate Around Your Belly?
- Hormonal Changes
Hormones play a major role in determining fat distribution in the body. Hormonal imbalance can lead to increased hunger, slow metabolism, and increased stress levels, leading to belly fat accumulation.
If obesity runs in your genes, you may be more prone to accumulating fat in your belly region.
Stress can increase your risk of accumulating belly fat through increased cortisol levels or increasing your food consumption.
- Lack Of Sleep
Sleep deprivation increases the production of stress hormones in the body, which can lead to overall weight gain.
- Sugary Foods and Beverages
Sugary foods and beverages are devils in disguise. They contain high amounts of additives, preservatives, and artificial colors, which are major contributors of belly fat.
Alcohol is broken down into sugar in the body, and the excess sugar gets converted to fat. Excess sugar from alcohol can also lead to inflammation and inflammation-induced abdominal obesity.
- Trans Fats
Trans fats are the unhealthy fats found in processed and fried foods. They tend to accumulate fat in the belly region, slow down fat metabolism, and increase the number of harmful free oxygen radicals in the body.
Being inactive can also lead to the accumulation of belly fat. A sedentary lifestyle is the primary reason for the increase in the incidence of obesity worldwide. Desk jobs, sitcoms, and lethargy are pushing people more and more toward obesity and obesity-related diseases.
- Low-Protein Diets
Being on a low-protein diet can also be harmful when it comes to losing belly fat. Proteins are the building blocks, and everything – from your hair to the muscles and hormones – is protein. Lack of protein in your diet can lead to high stress and inflammation, increased toxicity, and slow metabolism.
Women who are going through menopause experience hormonal changes. High levels of cortisol (or the stress hormone) can be responsible for women gaining belly fat during this period.
- The Wrong Gut Bacteria
Good gut bacteria aid digestion and prevent belly fat accumulation. Consuming foods that do not promote the growth of these bacteria, like processed and fried foods can lead to a bulging belly. Consume low-sugar yogurt, probiotic drinks, or sauerkraut that increase the number of good gut bacteria to lose belly fat.
- Packaged Fruit Juices
Packaged fruit juices can be detrimental to your belly. Packaged, bottled, or canned fruit juices are loaded with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and sugar. The high amount of sugar can be harmful for your overall health and should be avoided.
- Low-Fiber Diets
Low-fiber diets can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly region. Low-fiber foods include white rice, flour, and peeled fruits. Dietary fiber helps increase satiety and aids stool movement in the colon, preventing the accumulation of belly fat.
So, these are some of the main reasons fat tends to accumulate in your belly region. Now, let us see which foods will help you cut the fat and get a flat belly.
25 Best Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast
Fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. Hence, make them an essential part of your daily diet to burn belly fat. However, make sure not to overdo it with fruits. Even though they contain lots of vitamins and minerals, they still contains sugar.
Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, kiwi, tangerine, and fresh limes are excellent fat burners that can boost your metabolism.
Other fat-burning fruits include apples, watermelons, grapes, and strawberries.
Pulses (or dal ) are protein-rich and low in calories and fat. The lean protein present in the dal helps build lean muscle mass, speeds up metabolism, and improves overall body functions. Simple boiled dal is healthier than fried or spiced up dal.
Fish are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Proteins help build muscle, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body and increase metabolic rate. Also, the lower the inflammation, the lower the chances of gaining weight that is triggered by stress and inflammation.
Almonds keep your stomach full for a long time, due to the healthy fat and protein content. They are a good source of nutrients to burn fat for vegetarians. They are also rich in omega-3s that increase energy and metabolism.
5. Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes are good sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming them regularly can help suppress hunger pangs, thereby preventing overeating. Plus, they are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Try and mix three different legumes to provide your body with different micronutrients.
6. Spinach And Other Green Vegetables
Vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, radish greens, carrot, broccoli, and turnip are rich in vitamins, minerals, water, and dietary fiber. These fiber-filled veggies can help reduce belly fat by preventing you from overeating, boosting your metabolism, aiding good digestion, and cleansing the colon.
7. Dairy Products
Full-fat dairy products are recommended as these are loaded with nutrients and will keep you satiated for a long duration, thereby leading to weight loss (4). Slim or skimmed milk is devoid of the nutrients and does not keep your hunger pangs at bay as well as full-fat dairy products.
Oats are rich in fiber and aid digestion. They contain insoluble fiber and carbohydrates that curb your hunger, give you energy for your workout, and can reduce fat content in your body. Try having oatmeal in the morning with some nut butter or nuts for added protein. When buying oatmeal, make sure that you choose one that is flavorless as the flavored oats contain sugar and chemicals.
9. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a great option to sweeten your breakfast or smoothies. The nut butter is loaded with protein and healthy fats that reduce the chances of weight gain. But be careful with the amount you consume – aim for no more than one tablespoon per serving.
10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cooking with extra vrigin olive oil is good for weight loss and your health, in general, because it helps lower bad or LDL cholesterol and increases the levels of good or HDL cholesterol. It is a weight loss-friendly and heart health-friendly oil that you can use to cook or season your food.
11. Whole Grains
Whole grains, such as millet, quinoa, and brown rice, are good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Consuming these will keep your hunger pangs at bay, aid digestion, and help cleanse the colon. This, in turn, will help you shed the belly fat easily.
12. Protein Powder
Protein powders are a great option if you cannot load up on whole foods that are rich sources of protein. You can use whey protein, a vegan protein powder or homemade protein powders to help improve muscle mass and increase your metabolism.
13. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be very helpful for weight loss. It has become a trend now to include chia seeds in smoothies, salads, and breakfast bowls. They are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 grams of dietary fiber. Thus, consuming chia seeds can help prevent you from overeating, improve digestion and metabolism, and support your gut health, which can lead to steady weight loss.
According to Kayleen St.John, R.D., Executive Director of Nutrition and Strategic Development of Euphebe, low levels of vitamin D are connected to abdominal obesity. Mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D. They are low in calories and high in water content. You can easily prepare mushroom soup or add them to salads and sandwiches to make a delicious lunch or dinner without worrying about calories.
Raspberries are loaded with dietary fiber and polyphenols like anthocyanins and ellagitannins (5). The dietary fiber helps add bulk to the stool, improves bowel movement, and keeps you satiated for a long duration (6), (7). The antioxidants help scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals, thereby reducing inflammation and inflammation-induced obesity (8), (9). Consume raspberries in breakfast bowls or in smoothies.
16. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a good impact on blood lipid levels and may even help reduce tummy fat. Loaded with healthy fats, coconut oil reduces bad blood cholesterol levels, improves digestion, and boosts overall immunity while helping keep you full. Use edible grade coconut oil for cooking. You can also have bullet coffee as your morning drink to keep you charged for the entire day.
According to Julieanna Hever, author of The Vegiterranean Diet, having soup before meals helps reduce the number of calories you consume. This, in turn, helps prevent fat accumulation in the belly region. You want to consume vegetable, chicken, or mushroom clear soup. Ideally, make soups at home to reap the maximum benefits.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared weight loss after an egg breakfast to that after a bagel breakfast containing similar calories. The results were amazing. The participants who consumed two eggs for breakfast lost 65% more weight, and their waist circumference was reduced by a whopping 34% (10). And that’s because eggs are a great source of protein and both water and fat-soluble vitamins that help keep the hunger pangs at bay and build lean muscle.
19. Spicy Chili Peppers
Chili peppers like cayenne, green chili, and red chili are loaded with vitamin C and capsaicin that help increase the metabolic rate and burn the fat away. Consuming these chili peppers can help you lose weight and also manage the flab in your belly region. Add cayenne pepper or red chili flakes to your salads, and green chilis to fritters or omelet. They not only enhance the taste but can also make you slim.
Broccoli is one of the best belly fat burning foods. From reducing obesity to reducing the risk of cancer, it offers a wide range of benefits. In fact, experts believe that consuming broccoli wards off the chances of falling prey to type 2 diabetes. The phytonutrients present in broccoli help flush out the toxins, reduce inflammation, boost metabolic rate, and improve your body’s immunity. Consume blanched or grilled broccoli with salads and soups to help get a toned and flat belly in no time.
Nuts like walnuts, macadamia, pine nuts, and pistachios are good for weight loss. They are loaded with healthy fats and protein that increase your satiety levels, improve the taste of food, and prevent you from snacking on other trans fats-loaded junk food. In fact, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, people who snack on nuts tend to have lower belly fat (11).
Farro or emmer is a wheat product that is dried and sold. It can be consumed after cooking in water and adding to soups and salads. It is high in dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, zinc, protein, and magnesium. Since it is a good source of protein and dietary fiber, it keeps you satiated for a long duration, helps build lean muscle, and cleanses the colon. Consume farro for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and you will notice the difference in your hunger cycle immediately.
Yogurt is loaded with good gut bacteria that aid digestion and take care of your gut health (12). In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that women who consumed probiotics lost twice as much weight compared to those who didn’t (13). Include yogurt in your diet by using it to make smoothies, salad dressing, etc.
Sauerkraut is a fermented food. Kimchi (pickled veggies) is a good source of probiotics or good gut bacteria that help reduce bloating and improve digestion. According to Frank Lipman, M.D., founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, including sauerkraut in your diet can help protect your gut from being overtaken by pathogenic bacteria that cause health problems. So, to lose weight, have some lip-smacking kimchi or sauerkraut. And you thought losing weight wasn’t fun!
Spirulina is low in calories, protein-rich, anti-inflammatory, appetite-suppressing, blood lipid-lowering, and blood pressure-lowering. This single cell protein is the perfect belly fat reducing supplement that you may include in your diet after consulting your doctor. You can add it to salads, smoothies, and juices.
These are the 25 belly fat burning foods you must include in your diet. Now, let me tell you a few other things to do to get a flat tummy. Scroll down.
Other Things To Consider
- Avoid packaged fruit juices, soda, and energy drinks.
- Have protein in every meal and snack.
- Reduce carbs in your diet.
- Consume foods rich in fiber, especially viscous fiber.
- Exercise is very effective in reducing belly fat. Hence, you should exercise regularly.
- Track your meals and figure out what and how much you are eating.
Belly fat is stubborn and will not go away in a day. Here, persistence is the key to success. Keep building new and healthy habits, and you will see results for sure. Also, keep your goals realistic. Not eating enough and exercising too vigorously may make you weak and lead to weight gain. So, plan your activity levels and diet so that you lose belly fat without losing muscle mass. Take care!