Belly fat, or visceral fat, is a common problem area for weight loss-seekers. While trimming abdominal fat may enhance your appearance, doing so may benefit your physical health most. Carrying excess abdominal fat increases your risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to Harvard Health Publications. Fortunately, healthy dietary changes and increased physical activity are effective remedies. Indian foods can enhance your efforts if you choose and prepare your foods wisely.
Whole Grain Breads and Rice
Unlike refined grains, such as enriched flour, whole grains are complex carbohydrate sources that provide rich amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Emphasizing complex carbohydrates is an important dietary step toward managing belly fat, according to Harvard Health Publications. Indian foods made with whole grains include brown and white basmati rice and breads made with chapati flour, which is made from whole wheat. You can also prepare healthy whole grain rice pudding dessert by replacing whole or sweetened-condensed milk with skim or low-fat milk and white rice with brown rice in traditional recipes. When dining out, request whole wheat breads, such as tandoori roti and chapatis, without butter or oil.
Lean Meat, Fish and Lentils
Protein-rich foods enhance lean tissue growth and fullness between meals. MayoClinic.com recommends cutting back on saturated fat, prevalent in red meat, egg yolks and high-fat dairy products, if you wish to prevent or manage abdominal weight gain. Many low-fat Indian foods contain valuable amounts of protein. Mridula Baljekar, Indian chef and author of "Indian Cooking Without the Fat," suggests preparing curry dishes with fish or lentils rather than beef or lamb and using natural spices, such as curry powder blends, turmeric, garlic and pepper, rather than salt or butter for seasoning. At Indian restaurants, ask for curry dishes with tomato-based sauces rather than creamy sauces, which are often made with heavy cream or whole milk. You may also enjoy grilled poultry and fish, which are typically marinated in yogurt and grilled in a clay oven known as a tandoor.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are important for belly fat loss and weight loss in general. Baljekar recommends adding a variety of colorful vegetables, such as leafy greens, tomatoes and bell peppers, to curries and serving meals with fresh veggie salad topped with raita -- a yogurt-based salad dressing. Requesting "more vegetables" when dining out can help you manage portion sizes of denser foods and allow you to consume more food volume without reaping excessive fat and calories. Fresh fruit, such as mangos and bananas, provide healthy side dish and dessert options. For a nutritious on-the-go breakfast or hearty snack option, create your own mango shakes with pure mango pulp, which is high in nutrients and fiber and cubed mango and low-fat milk.
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat in Women: How to Keep it Off
- "Indian Cooking Without the Fat"; Mridula Baljekar; 2005