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Food And Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

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Food And Exercises For Flat Tummy

Who doesn’t want a flat, toned stomach? Well, fret not, we have a few ideas up our sleeves. While spot reduction of the belly alone isn't really possible, eating a healthy diet and exercising can help you get there. Then there are those magic foods that target your belly fat! So if you’re looking to lose a spare tire or two, a bowl of oatmeal with berries for breakfast and a healthy dose of yoga can be just the right thing.

If extra fat around your middle has been bothering you every time you look into the mirror, you have good reason to be worried. Stomach fat is associated with inflammation, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.1In fact, even if you are not overweight, that ring of belly fat can be dangerous.

According to research, people of normal weight with extra stomach fat (a waist circumference over 40 inches for men and 34 inches for women) have a greater chance of dying early than those who do not have belly fat and even those who are overweight.2

But there is no need to panic yet! A little attention to your diet and some exercise and you can bid those dangerous tires goodbye. Remember, however, crash dieting to whittle your belly is not a good idea. Neither is doing a hundred crunches to spot reduce your belly while neglecting all other aspects of diet and exercise. A safe and healthy weight loss means combining a lower calorie but balanced diet with exercise to lose anywhere between 1/2 to 2 pounds a week.3

Here are some tips to help you get that flat belly you have always wanted!

Tips To Trim Down Your Waistline

Try The Mediterranean Route To A Flat Stomach

A large study across 10 European countries shows that having a Mediterranean diet can shrink your waistline. A Mediterranean diet consists of a large quantity of legumes, vegetables, fruits, cereals, nuts, fish, and seafood. It is also characterized by low consumption of meat and dairy products, moderate alcohol consumption, and a greater ratio of unsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids (as is found in olive oil) in your diet.4

Bank On Foods That Can Shrink Your Belly

Apart from a holistic, balanced diet plan, there are also several foods that can help you target abdominal fat:

  • Oats: A bowl of oats is just what the doctor ordered if you want to manage your body weight. It has been shown to have metabolic-regulating and liver-protecting effects. Oats can help reduce abdominal fat and obesity and improve liver functions as well.5
  • Proteins: A study that looked at people on a fat-reduced diet found that those who had more protein lost double the abdominal fat compared to those who had more carbohydrates. So, upping your intake of protein-rich foods like lentils, fish, yogurt, quinoa, and beans can help you get rid of that beer belly.6
  • Tea: A cup of tea in the morning does not just perk you up, it can also trim your tummy! Catechins, polyphenolic compounds present in tea, have been found to reduce body weight and fat accumulation in the liver and abdomen, possibly by stimulating the breakdown of fat in the liver. As one study concluded, regular consumption of tea catechins can help curb obesity brought on by diet.7
  • Tart Cherries: Anthocyanins, which give berries their blue, red, or purple color, can affect metabolism and inflammation. Animal studies have found that having anthocyanin-rich tart cherries is associated with lower abdominal fat, percentage of body fat, and hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood).8
  • Yogurt: A cup of yogurt might be the perfect midday snack if you are looking to lose some flab from your tummy. One study shows that people on a diet who ate yogurt lost more fat than lean muscle – in fact, they lost 81% more belly fat than those who did not have yogurt.9
  • Blood Oranges: Apart from their stock of flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C, blood oranges also have a high content of anthocyanins which are known to be beneficial in fighting obesity and insulin resistance. Animal studies have found that blood orange juice can reduce abdominal fat by as much as 50%. The components in blood orange are thought to work in tandem to fight fat accumulation.10

Try These Ayurvedic Fat Scorchers

According to Ayurveda, having foods rich in fat and too much of salty, sweet, and sour foods, dairy products, red meat, and sugar leads to an imbalance in the system that deals with fat (medovaha srota). To correct this imbalance, fat-reducing herbs like rasna, myrrh, and guggul are recommended. Herbs like black pepper, chitrak, and cyperus can help speed up digestion and burn fat.11

Trim Down With Exercise

That exercise plays a vital role in losing fat is a no-brainer. After all, you need to burn more calories than you take in through food to get rid of flab. Though it might not be possible to spot reduce belly fat, exercise can help you shed pounds and tone your abdomen.

Research that compared the effects of aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, playing tennis, dancing etc.), resistance exercise (push ups), and interval sprinting exercise (where you sprint for short intervals, taper off, and repeat) found that interval sprinting might be most effective at reducing total fat and belly fat in a shorter period of time.12

There is also some evidence that high-intensity exercise training (e.g., 20 miles of walking or jogging in a week done at a pace where you are so out of breath that it is difficult to talk while exercising ) might be more effective at reducing abdominal fat than low-intensity training (e.g., 12 miles of walking or jogging in a week done at a pace where you can breathe comfortably while exercising ).13

Strengthen Your Core

Exercises that strengthen your core muscles can also give you a toned and flat stomach. Stomach crunches, oblique crunches, planks, and side planks target your core muscles.14

Tone Those Abs With Yoga

Yoga asanas like the cobra pose (where you lie face down on the floor and arch your upper back and chest off the mat)15and the bow pose (where you lie down on your stomach with your knees bent and pull in the stomach while holding and extending your feet upward)16can help tone your abs.

References   [ + ]

1.Belly Fat Is Bad, Even at a Normal Weight, US Department of Health and Human Services.2015.
2.Sahakyan, Karine R., Virend K. Somers, Juan P. Rodriguez-Escudero, David O. Hodge, Rickey E. Carter, Ondrej Sochor, Thais Coutinho et al. “Normal-weight central obesity: implications for total and cardiovascular mortality.” Annals of internal medicine 163, no. 11 (2015): 827-835.
3.Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths, National Institutes of Health.
4.Romaguera, Dora, Teresa Norat, Traci Mouw, Anne M. May, Christina Bamia, Nadia Slimani, Noemie Travier et al. “Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower abdominal adiposity in European men and women.” The Journal of nutrition 139, no. 9 (2009): 1728-1737.
5.Chang, Hong-Chou, Chien-Ning Huang, Da-Ming Yeh, Shing-Jung Wang, Chiung-Huei Peng, and Chau-Jong Wang. “Oat prevents obesity and abdominal fat distribution, and improves liver function in humans.” Plant foods for human nutrition 68, no. 1 (2013): 18-23.
6.Skov, A. R., So Toubro, B. Rønn, L. Holm, and A. Astrup. “Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity.” International journal of obesity 23, no. 5 (1999): 528-536.
7.Murase, T., A. Nagasawa, J. Suzuki, T. Hase, and I. Tokimitsu. “Beneficial effects of tea catechins on diet-induced obesity: stimulation of lipid catabolism in the liver.” International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 26, no. 11 (2002).
8.Seymour, E. M., Sarah K. Lewis, Daniel E. Urcuyo-Llanes, Ignasia I. Tanone, Ara Kirakosyan, Peter B. Kaufman, and Steven F. Bolling. “Regular tart cherry intake alters abdominal adiposity, adipose gene transcription, and inflammation in obesity-prone rats fed a high fat diet.” Journal of medicinal food 12, no. 5 (2009): 935-942.
9.Zemel, M. B., J. Richards, S. Mathis, A. Milstead, L. Gebhardt, and E. Silva. “Dairy augmentation of total and central fat loss in obese subjects.” International journal of obesity 29, no. 4 (2005): 391-397.
10.Titta, L., M. Trinei, M. Stendardo, I. Berniakovich, K. Petroni, C. Tonelli, P. Riso et al. “Blood orange juice inhibits fat accumulation in mice.” International Journal of Obesity 34, no. 3 (2010): 578-588.
11.Frawley, David, and Subhash Ranade. Ayurveda, nature’s medicine. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2004.
12.Boutcher, Stephen. Belly Fat Breakthrough: Understand what it is and Lose it Fast. Simon and Schuster, 2014.
13.Irving, Brian A., Christopher K. Davis, David W. Brock, Jusdy Y. Weltman, Damon Swift, Eugene J. Barrett, Glenn A. Gaesser, and Arthur Weltman. “Effect of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 40, no. 11 (2008): 1863.
14.10-minute abs workout, National Health Service.2015.
15.Finney, Sumukhi. The Yoga Handbook. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009.
16.Handa, Parvesh. Ladies Weight Loss Programme. V&S Publishers, 2011.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.