The most difficult fat to burn is probably the fat stored around the abdomen. You may be able to sculpt your entire body, but burning the abdominal fat will be the most challenging. The best way to lose weight around the abdomen is to combine the right diet with the right exercise.
Even if you work out twice a day for two hours but indulge in unhealthy and junk foods, you will not be able to achieve the perfect abs. Whole and natural foods that are high in fiber and low in added sugars help in burning the stubborn abdominal fat. Here are 10 foods that help you get those washboard abs.
In one study, Japanese researchers found that the acetic acid in vinegar can reduce the risk for obesity and excess liver fat1, while simultaneously improving the way your body responds to sugars and helps in decreasing your waist size.
Daily consumption of vinegar may also help prevent metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.2 Vinegar is widely used in many foods such as pickles, vinaigrettes, hot sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and salad dressings.
2. Coconut Oil
Not all fats are the same. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) are found in greatest concentrations in coconut oil and coconut oil also contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that boost thermogenic capacity (the number of calories you burn while digesting a food).3
The results from one study suggest that MCT oil can be included into a weight loss program without adversely affecting metabolic risk factors. Though MCT may result in weight loss through increased energy expenditure and lipid oxidation, more research is required to affirm the findings.4 Coconut oil has a distinct flavor and can be used to prepare a variety of dishes.
Numerous studies have found that turmeric contains medicinal properties that are beneficial for overall health. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been shown to improve insulin resistance, cholesterol levels, and other symptoms linked to obesity. Insulin resistance makes it difficult for your body to lose weight. Research supports the property of curcumin in promoting weight loss and reducing the occurrence of obesity-related diseases.
One study has also shown that curcumin directly interacts with white adipose tissue to suppress chronic inflammation. Curcumin also has effects that inhibit adipocyte differentiation and promotes antioxidant activities. Through these diverse mechanisms, curcumin reduces obesity and prevents the negative health effects of obesity.5
Yogurt, especially natural Greek yogurt, has many health benefits and helps in weight loss. The calcium content in a cup of Greek yogurt is 15 percent of what your body requires in a day. One study reports that calcium intake is linked to reduced abdominal fat.6 Japanese researchers have found that yogurt is loaded with probiotics and probiotic intake is closely associated with lower levels of belly fat.7
In addition to its high calcium content, Greek yogurt is also full of protein (16 grams per cup) that keeps you satisfied for a long time preventing frequent hunger pangs. The probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri (LG2055) has lowering effects on abdominal adiposity and body weight, suggesting its beneficial influence on metabolic disorders. This finding raises the possibility that probiotics have anti-obesity effects.
5. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers have long been associated with weight loss. Capsaicin, the active ingredient that gives peppers their distinct taste is known to boost metabolism. Peppers also provide a healthy dose of vitamin C and consumption of 65-90 milligrams of vitamin C per day, which is the amount found in one red chili pepper, is found to reduce your body mass index (BMI) and burn 30 percent more fat during exercise, according to research conducted at Arizona State University.8
6. Green Tea
In the recent years, green tea has gained immense popularity. A review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that consuming four cups of green tea, which contains caffeine and antioxidant properties, increases metabolism and helps you burn around 100 calories per day.
Studies on the respiration rate of brown adipose tissue indicated that green tea extract was more powerful in stimulating the respiration rate of brown adipose tissue. The extract stimulates thermogenesis and fat oxidation and hence has the potential to influence body weight and body composition.9 Many studies have proven that when diet and exercise are kept consistent and tea is the only variable, abdominal fat decreases.
Lean protein is essential for muscle-building and seafood is an ideal choice for those trying to shed weight around the mid-section. A study in the journal Diabetes Care has shown that seafood is full of polyunsaturated fats, which are less likely to increase liver fat and belly fat compared to the polyunsaturated fats found in palm oil and beef. The dietary fat composition for ectopic fat storage during consumption of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was studied.
SFAs clearly increased liver fat compared with PUFAs and caused a two-fold increase in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) than PUFAs. At the same time, PUFAs caused a nearly three-fold larger increase in lean tissue than SFAs. Overeating SFAs promotes hepatic and visceral fat storage, while excess energy from PUFAs may instead promote lean tissue.10
8. Whole Grains
Whole grains are fiber-packed carbohydrates that are the perfect food for those who want to reduce their abdominal fat. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed obese adults who were on a 12-week diet.11 Half of the participants were told to make all starches whole grains and follow the reduced-calorie program, while the other half were simply told to follow the low-calorie plan.
At the end of the study, the people on the whole grain diet lost a greater percentage of body fat from the mid-section. A fibrous diet improves the digestion process and helps in weight loss. It also prevents overeating as it makes you feel fuller.
9. Olives And Olive Oil
Olives and olive oil are extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine and are high in monounsaturated fats. Olive oil contains polyphenols, which protect the body from disease. Olives, on the other hand, contain some amounts of fiber making them ideal for a snack or salad topping.
Reports reveal that a diet high in monounsaturated fat helps you store less abdominal fat even if you don’t reduce your calorie intake.12 Consuming a high-carb diet has been associated with weight loss owing to its metabolic effects.13 Besides being low in calories, olives are also high in healthy fats, both of which are helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
Drinking water helps improve your metabolism, cleanses your body of waste, and acts as an appetite suppressant. Drinking water just before your meals results in an average reduction in intake of 75 calories per meal. Moreover, instead of consuming sodas, soft drinks and energy drinks that are loaded with added sugars, aim to drink at least 8-10 eight-ounce glasses of water every day.
Another way of ensuring sufficient water consumption is to add some lemon and ice to make it more tasty and nutritious at the same time. Drinking ice-cold water can boost your metabolism as your body ends up working harder to warm up the water. This causes the body to burn more calories and helps you in weight loss.
|↑1||Yamashita, Hiromi, Katsuhiko Fujisawa, Erina Ito, Seika Idei, Nobuyo Kawaguchi, Masumi Kimoto, Miki Hiemori, and Hideaki Tsuji. “Improvement of obesity and glucose tolerance by acetate in Type 2 diabetic Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 71, no. 5 (2007): 1236-1243.|
|↑2||Kondo, Tomoo, Mikiya Kishi, Takashi Fushimi, Shinobu Ugajin, and Takayuki Kaga. “Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 73, no. 8 (2009): 1837-1843.|
|↑3||St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, Aubrey Bosarge, Laura Lee T. Goree, and Betty Darnell. “Medium chain triglyceride oil consumption as part of a weight loss diet does not lead to an adverse metabolic profile when compared to olive oil.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 27, no. 5 (2008): 547-552.|
|↑4||Mumme, Karen, and Welma Stonehouse. “Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115, no. 2 (2015): 249-263.|
|↑5||Bradford, Peter G. “Curcumin and obesity.” Biofactors 39, no. 1 (2013): 78-87.|
|↑6||Bush, Nikki C., Jessica A. Alvarez, Suzanne S. Choquette, Gary R. Hunter, Robert A. Oster, Betty E. Darnell, and Barbara A. Gower. “Dietary Calcium Intake Is Associated With Less Gain in Intra‐Abdominal Adipose Tissue Over 1 Year.” Obesity 18, no. 11 (2010): 2101-2104.|
|↑7||Kadooka, Y., M. Sato, K. Imaizumi, A. Ogawa, K. Ikuyama, Y. Akai, M. Okano, M. Kagoshima, and T. Tsuchida. “Regulation of abdominal adiposity by probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055) in adults with obese tendencies in a randomized controlled trial.” European journal of clinical nutrition 64, no. 6 (2010): 636.|
|↑8||Johnston, Carol S. “Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 24, no. 3 (2005): 158-165.|
|↑9||Dulloo, Abdul G., Claudette Duret, Dorothée Rohrer, Lucien Girardier, Nouri Mensi, Marc Fathi, Philippe Chantre, and Jacques Vandermander. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70, no. 6 (1999): 1040-1045.|
|↑10||Rosqvist, Fredrik, David Iggman, Joel Kullberg, J. Jonathan Cedernaes, Hans-Erik Johansson, Anders Larsson, Lars Johansson et al. “Overfeeding polyunsaturated and saturated fat causes distinct effects on liver and visceral fat accumulation in humans.” Diabetes (2014): DB_131622.|
|↑11||Katcher, Heather I., Richard S. Legro, Allen R. Kunselman, Peter J. Gillies, Laurence M. Demers, Deborah M. Bagshaw, and Penny M. Kris-Etherton. “The effects of a whole grain–enriched hypocaloric diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women with metabolic syndrome.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 1 (2008): 79-90.|
|↑12||St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, and Aubrey Bosarge. “Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 3 (2008): 621-626.|
|↑13||Paniagua, Juan Antonio, A. Gallego De La Sacristana, I. Romero, A. Vidal-Puig, J. M. Latre, E. Sanchez, P. Perez-Martinez, J. Lopez-Miranda, and F. Perez-Jimenez. “Monounsaturated fat–rich diet prevents central body fat distribution and decreases postprandial adiponectin expression induced by a carbohydrate-rich diet in insulin-resistant subjects.” Diabetes care 30, no. 7 (2007): 1717-1723.|