Getting those abs to show is a tricky business. It’s not enough to just work your ab muscles, you also need to reduce your body fat levels in you want to showcase a defined set of abs. This means cutting down on carbs big time. However, there are the healthy carbs and the not so healthy ones. The healthy ones not only give you the energy you need to workout but also help you in burning fat.
A List Of Ab-Friendly Carbs
Barley is packed with fiber which is why it’s a great appetite suppressant. Barley contains a whopping 6 grams of belly-filling, mostly soluble fiber that has been linked to lowered cholesterol, decreased blood sugars and increased satiety. It also has many health benefits like decreased inflammation and stabilized blood sugar levels.
2. Whole Wheat
Whole wheat is any day better for you than processed wheat. It’s because whole wheat contains three parts of the grain, all nutrient-rich and fiber-filling. This makes it a complete food and helps keep you full for longer. You could opt for whole wheat pasta or whole wheat breads instead of regular ones.
Not only are legumes rich in nutrients, they also help you lose weight. In one four-week Spanish study, researchers found that eating a calorie-restricted diet that includes four weekly servings of legumes aids weight loss more effectively than an equivalent diet that doesn’t include them. They are even known to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.
4. Black Beans
Beans are a great combination of protein and fiber. Having beans ensures that your blood sugar doesn’t spike and they also give you the energy to build the muscle you want. One cup of black beans has 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber; they’re also rich in folate, a B vitamin that stokes muscle growth, and copper, which strengthens tendons.
Yes, oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by fiber, and because oats also have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving, they deliver steady, ab-muscle-friendly energy. And that fiber is soluble, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Quinoa is a natural superfood because it contains more protein than any other grain and a hefty dose of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. It is also high in fiber and B vitamins. They taste quite neutral allowing you to experiment with them by adding them to your salads and casseroles.
7. Chocolate Milk
You wouldn’t have expected chocolate milk to be on this list but low-fat chocolate milk contains eight grams of protein per cup. Researchers have determined that the ideal protein load for building muscle is 10 to 20 grams, half before and half after your workout. One serving before your workout and one serving after will give you a total of 16 grams of highly effective whey protein.
Bananas are great at treating a bloated belly. One study found that women who ate a banana twice daily as a pre-meal snack for 60 days reduced their belly-bloat by 50 percent. It’s also a good source of potassium, which can help reduce water retention. Bananas are rich in glucose and their high potassium content helps prevent muscle cramping during your workout. Perfect pre-workout snack this one.
Cherries are loaded with phytonutrient but you should opt for fresh tart cherries. Not dried, frozen, or canned ones. A study at the University of Michigan found that rats fed tart cherries showed a 9 percent belly fat reduction over rats fed a standard diet. Absolutely worth the trip to the produce section.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are known to be “slow carbs”. This is because they’re digested slowly and keep you feeling fuller and energized longer. They are packed with fiber, nutrients, and carotenoids, which are antioxidants that stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. This prevents calories from being converted into fat.
According to experts, broccoli contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane that increases testosterone and fights off body fat storage. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that can lower levels of cortisol during stressful situations. This cruciferous vegetable has also shown to reduce the risk of prostate, breast, lung and skin cancers.