When you’re trying to flatten your protruding belly, core exercises and ab workouts can help plenty.
But what you eat plays an even bigger role.
Apart from the usual expert-preaching of drinking enough water, eating fresh produce and healthy fats, and also avoiding belly-builders (alcohol, salt, soda, and sugar), certain foods are particularly good for shrinking your flabby belly.
So, without further ado, here are 12 foods that will help you keep your waist slim and giving your body the extra nutrients it needs for fat loss.
Thanks to the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin (which reduces swelling) and a high water content of 96%, cucumbers help prevent bloating.
This crunchy veggie is also extremely versatile: eat it in a chopped salad, sprinkle on top of yogurt, or munch on cucumber slices with homemade hummus.
As a member of the super-nutritious pulse family, lentils—along with other seeds that grow within pods like chickpeas, white beans, and dried peas—are packed with protein and fiber, which increase satiety.
They’re also a good source of iron; this is important because studies have shown that being deficient in the mineral could slow down your metabolism.
Craving an afternoon snack? A banana may be your best bet.
In addition to potassium, bananas are packed with resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that your body digests slowly, which keeps you full for longer.
Resistant starch also encourages your liver to switch to fat-burning mode, giving your metabolism a boost.
Even more good news for your abs – bananas may help prevent water retention in our bodies by regulating sodium levels, decreasing the risk for bloating.
There are lots of reasons to love this brightly colored tropical fruit, which is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and folate.
Papayas also contain an enzyme called papain, which helps your GI system break down difficult-to-digest foods, in turn preventing inflammation and belly bloat.
In addition to eating papaya whole and fresh, it’s wonderful in a smoothie, in salads, or thrown on the grill with a drop of olive oil.
5. Whole Grains
Gluten-fre may be trendy, but carbs aren’t your enemy (unless you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance).
In fact, whole grain carbohydrates actually help you stay slim.
Whole grains are a great source of filling fiber, which aids digestion and increases satiety. In one study, researchers found that women who regularly consumed whole grains had a 49% lower risk of major weight gain over time.
Whole grains also help better regulate blood sugar and insulin levels compared to refined grains.
Start your day with oatmeal, snacking on plain popcorn (yes, it’s a whole grain!), and choosing quinoa or brown rice over white.
6. Chili Peppers
Spicy foods like chili peppers kick-start your metabolism, and they may also help you stick to your healthy eating goals.
According to a 2011 study from Purdue University, capsaicin (the active component that gives chili peppers their heat) may help prevent weight gain.
Researchers found that participants who ate capsaicin-rich foods had fewer cravings for fatty, salty, and sweet foods, as well as a lower preoccupation with eating in general.
To reap the fat-burning benefits, add chili peppers to an omelet, salads, or stir fry, or just bite right in.
You already know that asparagus is full of antioxidants and may even act as an aphrodisiac.
But did you also know it can promote a slim stomach?
This super-healthy spring veggie is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which your body digests slowly—keeping you full for longer in between meals.
And as a natural diuretic, asparagus facilitates the removal of water and waste to decrease discomfort and bloat.
Finally, asparagus contains prebiotics, which act as fuel for healthy bacteria in your gut – bonus!
Like asparagus, yogurt is great for your gut.
It contains beneficial probiotics, which help balance microflora and prevent bloating.
Eating yogurt may also increase feelings of fullness, thanks to 17 grams of protein per serving (that’s almost three times as much as is in an egg!).
Try adding it to your morning smoothie, use it in your favorite dip recipe, or enjoy with berries for an afternoon snack.
If you’ve ever sipped on a glass of ginger ale while sick, you know the drink can do wonders to calm an upset stomach.
Turns out the root is also good for keeping your belly slim.
Thanks to compounds that help move food through your GI tract, ginger has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to treat bloating.
Ginger may also help with weight management as per a 2012 study from Columbia University, researchers found that participants who drank a hot ginger beverage felt fuller after meals.
An easy way to include it in your diet is to make a ginger tea with ½ teaspoon of ground or freshly grated ginger and one cup of hot water.
Go ahead, put avocado on your toast, pasta, brownies, pudding, or even banana bread—your belly will thank you.
The superfruit (yes, it technically is a fruit) contains 2 grams of filling fiber and 4 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which may help keep the pounds off.
In one study, researchers found that people who regularly ate avocados had smaller waistlines than those who didn’t.
Healthy fats like avocados are vital to gut health, as they coat the stomach and allow for ease of digestion.
They also help the body increase its absorption of other nutrients and antioxidants.
For a guilt-free snack, reach for a handful of almonds.
As with avocados, the nut contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which help your body burn fat and fight hunger.
One study in the International Journal of Obesity found that when people had a serving of almonds as part of a low-calorie diet, they lost more weight than those who ate a similar diet but had a carb-heavy snack instead of almonds.
12. Dark Chocolate
If you have a sweet tooth, take heart: Not all chocolate is off limits.
Good quality dark chocolate (anything above 65% cacao) is actually very good for youLike avocados and almonds, dark chocolate contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which help speed up metabolism.
Just remember to watch your portions.
To indulge while keeping calories in check, keep you piece the size of a dental floss container.
An odd but simple “carb trick” that burns 1 pound of belly fat per day.
“All this by Flavor-Pairing?” I asked.
I met an old friend for lunch last month and I was super impressed with how good she looked.
She said, “It’s not so much about the Flavor-Pairing, but more about how it re-awakens what the Japanese call, ‘the weight loss doubling molecule’ which signals 22-hour a day fat-burning effect in the female body.”
Even though I was skeptical, I’ve been struggling with my weight over the last few years, so I gave it a shot and watched the same video she did.
Well, it’s only a couple weeks later and you know what they say about how “you can’t transform your body overnight”…
They’re right – it actually took me 16 days to lose 22 pounds.
Now it’s my girlfriends asking ME what I’M doing differently 💅