Want to lose your gut? Don’t we all. Whether that unflattering flab around your midsection discourages you from flaunting your bod at the beach or just wearing that expensive pair of designer jeans on casual Fridays, we’ve all been there. Flaunting a muffin top—even if you’re not eating one for breakfast—is something that’s not easy to come to terms with, but can easily be banished with the help of these specific fat-incinerating foods.
To aid in your quest of achieving a toned tummy, we’ve put together a list of the 30 most potent foods that’ll help you get rid of the gut—and keep it off! Snoop through our list (heck, even print it out and use it as a grocery list!) and get to burning some extra fat fast with our 30 Best Weight Loss Tips.
The good gut bugs that thrive in your stomach require food to live, and one of their go-to picks are black beans! Gut bacteria munch on these beans’ soluble fiber and then transform it into butyrate, a chemical that helps the body burn fat for energy. Every half a cup of black beans has over eight grams of satiating fiber, which is nearly twice as much as an apple boasts!
Wild-caught salmon is brimming with omega-3 fatty acids, which are notorious for squashing inflammation and helping you zap unwanted belly flab. In fact, these healthy fats fight inflammation by increasing in adiponectin, a hormone that boosts metabolism and burns fat. Stock up on this pink fish, as it’s rich in both EPA and DHA, the two active forms of omega-3s.
Stop fearing the fat! Creamy avocados are full of monounsaturated fats that dim your appetite and prevent the accumulation of belly fat. In fact, a European study tracked 90,000 people for several years and discovered that participants who tried to eat a low-fat diet had the same risk of being overweight as those who ate whatever they wished! Consider this fast fact another reason to bite into avo toast.
Looking to blast belly fat? Well first, you must make sure you’re eating foods that support a balanced gut microbiome—like miso paste (yup, the stuff miso soup is made with). Made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, miso paste teeming with gut-healthy bacteria that can help stimulate the digestive system, strengthen your immune system, and torch belly fat. Here’s proof: in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers compared overweight women who followed a low-calorie diet and were given either a placebo or a probiotic supplement for twelve weeks. At the end of the study, women who supplemented their calorie-restrictive meal plan with a probiotic lost more weight than those who took the placebo.
Carotenoids, plant-derived antioxidants that stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance (therefore preventing calories from converting into belly fat) are generously present in sweet potatoes. For a quick and easy side or snack, pop a whole tater into the oven, bake on high until soft, and enjoy alongside your dinner or on its own.
Forget counting calories on your quest to fight fat, and shift your focus onto protein instead. Since muscle steals the fat cells around your abdominals to burn for energy, maintaining those gains is a great way score washboard abs. Just one large egg contains about 78 calories and a solid six grams of protein. If you’ve exhausted all your favorite scramble combos, whip up some of these 25 Delicious Egg Recipes to Stay Skinny for a change.
Oats contain a type of hard-to-find soluble fiber called beta-glucans, which forms a gel in your small intestine, lowering blood cholesterol levels, boosting the immune system, increasing satiety, and regulating blood glucose levels. Wake up to a belly-flattening meal by whipping up one of these 50 Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss the evening before.
These reddish fruits can give your fat genes the red light. How so? Plums contain phenolic compounds called flavonoids, which lend the fruit its deep color as well as its ability to fight fat. Plums also are a great source of pectin, a gelatin-like type of fiber found in the cell walls of fruits that puts a cap on the amount of fat your cells can absorb.
There’s a reason why Popeye always chose spinach. The dark green leaves contain a long-chain sugar molecule called sulfoquinovose (SQ), which can help your midsection stay trim. According to a study in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, SQ promotes the growth your good gut bacteria, which prevent bad bacteria from colonizing your gut and causing inflammation and belly fat. Toss the leafy greens with a handful of walnuts, sliced strawberries, and goat cheese for a satisfying lunch.
This succulent root veggie is a unique source of betaine, an amino acid that increases metabolism, positively influences the mechanism for insulin resistance, boosts your mood, switches fat genes off, and attacks inflammatory markers that are released by belly fat, according to a review in the journal Nutrients. Not sure how to incorporate these bad boys into your meal plan? Try these 19 Boss Beet Recipes.
Take a moment to ignore the recent buzz claiming coconut oil is a health food foe, and consider this: according to a study published in the journal Lipids, participants who supplemented their diet with this tropical oil reduced abdominal obesity significantly more than participants who consumed inflammatory soybean oil. To what can we chalk up the flatter belly? Experts believe it’s the coconut oil’s medium-chain triglycerides (which are burned as energy instead of being stored as fat) and lauric acid (which has been shown to pinpoint belly fat and torch it).
According to a 2016 Danish study, people who ate a meal rich in plant protein rather than animal protein reported feeling significantly more satiated. Pack a baggie full of flab-frying peanuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds to munch on if the hunger pangs begin to distract you in between meals. Just make sure to portion your trail mix, as the fix-ins are some of the 30 Healthy Foods You Better Eat in Moderation.
Besides for being one of our favorite portable proteins for on-the-go satiety, Greek yogurt is also a great belly fat fighter. According to a recent study presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology conference, researchers found that when protein is digested and broken down, one of the resulting amino acids, phenylalanine, triggers hormones that help reduce appetite, which can lead to weight loss. If you find yourself stumped at the dairy aisle, don’t forget that we tested 12 yogurts and found the best one. Our top pick is the creamiest of them all—and packs in an impressive 15 grams of the muscle-building stuff!
According to a study in the journal Oncogene, curcumin (turmeric’s main antioxidant) is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory foods in existence. Since belly fat encourages inflammation as well as makes it more difficult to lose the bulge, sprinkling anti-inflammatory turmeric onto your eggs or stirring up a golden milk latte will help you tighten that tummy.
Light tuna is a dietary triple threat in a can: it’s affordable, packed with protein, and blasts belly fat. In fact, a study in the Journal of Lipid Research found that adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet could help turn off fat genes. While fish contain two types of omega-3s—DHA and EPA—the researchers discovered that DHA can be 40 to 70 percent more effective than EPA at suppressing fat genes and preventing fat cells from enlarging. Crack open a can of tuna because it’s the fish with the highest DHA content.
When you skimp out on sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, the hunger hormone, encouraging you to eat more the next day. Stay on track with your weight loss goals by noshing on nanners. Not only do their muscle-relaxing minerals, like potassium and magnesium, lullaby your body into a sleep mode, these fruits can also help you look and feel thinner. One study found that women who ate a banana twice daily before meals for two months reduced their bloat by 50 percent, thanks to the fruit’s debloating potassium.
Who knew that zapping fat is as easy as shaking some cinnamon onto your oats? A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that this blood sugar-regulating spice helps reduce insulin secretion, preventing sugar from being stored as fat. Not into oatmeal? Try sprinkling the stuff into your latte or smoothies.
Forget the flour tortillas and Frosted Flakes, and don’t even think about grabbing that loaf of ciabatta! “Whole grains provide a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and may even help regulate blood-sugar levels and promote a loss of belly fat,” explains Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE. “For every grain you choose, make it 100 percent whole grain.” Our exclusive report 19 Best & Worst Store Bought Breads can help you sift through the most popular pieces of toast so you can choose the right one.
Leucine can help you build the lean muscle mass that’s needed to trim excess fat from your frame, according to Jennifer McDaniel MS, RDN, CSSD, LD. Red meats just happen to be some of the best sources of this potent amino acid. Always pick grass-fed meats to get the added benefits of omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), as these two fats can decrease inflammation and fat storage.
At the same time cayenne pepper torches your tongue, it also incinerates the fat cells in your tummy. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating capsaicin, the main compound in the fiery pepper that lends it its heat, speeds up abdominal fat loss by boosting the body’s ability to convert food into energy. Add some heat and color to your cooking with these 20 Spicy Recipes That Fire Up Your Metabolism.
Consider these bumpy red berries your new natural weight loss pill. Raspberries are jam-packed with fiber and water, which help you feel full, as well as ketones—antioxidants that can help burn fat. And just like other berries, raspberries are brimming with polyphenols, powerful plant chemicals that have been shown to whittle your middle. Throw them onto your morning oatmeal or pop them as a snack to reap their benefits.
One of the juiciest joys of fall is the plethora of apple species we can find at the local grocery store. Whether you go for the Granny Smith or always pick the Pink Lady apples, this crunchy fruit has been proven to trim excess fat. Just don’t forget to bite into one with the skin on! Apple peels contain a compound called ursolic acid, which can increase muscle mass and brown fat, the good kind of fat that helps melt your midsection.
While grapes contain more sugar than most of our favorite low-carb fruits, they also pack in some unexpected flab-fighting benefits. A Washington State University study discovered that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes, converted the excess white fat into calorie-burning beige fat, decreasing obesity by 40 percent! And all you need is just three servings of resveratrol a day. Luckily, grapes aren’t the only source: apples and berries contain the fat-fighter too!
Let’s face it, kale is completely overrated. But dinosaur kale, a.k.a. black or lacinato kale, on the other hand, is its lesser-known cousin that’s equally as deserving of acclamation. Dinosaur kale’s blue-green leaves are less bitter and more tender than the regular kind, but boast the same flat belly properties, like filling fiber, protein, and B vitamins that can help you get rid of the gut.
It seems like green tea has a bit of competition when it comes to shedding the beer belly. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, white tea both blocks the formation of new fat cells and boosts lipolysis, the breakdown of fat. What’s more, white tea contains catechins, natural antioxidants that protect your body from harming free radicals and confidence-dampening belly fat.
Sneaking pepitas into some of your favorite foods is one of the best ways to increase protein intake. Not only do roasted pumpkin seeds contain eight grams of protein per ounce, they’re also packed with fiber, zinc, and potassium—key nutrients needed for muscle building and recovery. Remember, the more muscle you have, the less fat your body will hold on to.
If you’ve never heard of this fermented Chinese tea, it’s time to add it to your a.m. routine. A study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that feeding obese mice a high-fat diet coupled with pu-erh tea extract decreased their total body weight and cholesterol levels.
These bite-sized berries are as mighty as they are tiny. In a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, blueberries were shown to reduce abdominal fat, triglycerides, and total body weight. Next time you’re making a yogurt parfait, don’t forget to toss in some blueberries!
If you like to start your day with oatmeal, we’re definitely commending you. But you’re better off getting introduced to oat bran, oatmeal’s overachieving cousin. Oat bran boasts even more protein and fiber—6 grams of protein and fiber each per 120 calories—which means you’ll feel fuller for longer, and avoid the soft, tempting whispers of office donuts lurking around.
Pickles are filled with water, vinegar, and fiber, and barely any calories! In fact, just one cup of the pickled cucumbers pack in two grams of fiber for only 16 calories. Not to mention, studies show that acidic foods like vinegar help increase the body’s carb-burning rate by up to 40 percent. Once your body burns off carbs, it moves onto torching fat, which can help you finally rock your skinny jeans muffin top-free.
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