Belly fat affects your physical appearance and poses harmful health risks. Visceral belly fat, the type that lies deep within your abdominal cavity, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to “Harvard Women’s Health Watch.” Moderate physical activity and a diet low in calories, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates can help combat belly fat. Consuming certain foods also can help fight excess abdominal fat.
Your body digests whole grains slower than refined grains due to the higher amount of fiber contained in whole grains. This helps you feel full longer, eat less and keep your insulin levels low and steady. These benefits are believed to shrink belly fat cells, according to CBS News. A study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in March 2009 found that increasing dietary fiber consumption helps decrease weight and fat gain. Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and whole wheat bread, should make up at least half of your daily grain intake, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Avocados contain high amounts of monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that has several health benefits. Like whole grains, it reduces blood sugar and insulin spikes, which normally trigger your body to store excess abdominal fat.
Low-fat and Non-fat Dairy
Dairy products such as low-fat yogurt and skim milk have an optimal combination of carbohydrates and protein to stabilize insulin levels. In addition, yogurt often contains probiotics that keep your digestive system healthy and decrease stomach bloating.
Similar to avocados, nuts contain high amounts of healthy unsaturated fats that may help control blood sugar levels. Certain nuts, such as almonds, contain significant amounts of magnesium, a mineral necessary for maintaining steady blood sugar levels.
The vitamin C in citrus fruits may help you burn up to 30 percent more fat during exercise, according to CBS News, making these fruits good choices for a pre-workout snack.
Soybeans contain fiber, antioxidants and protein. Snacking on soy products keeps you feeling satisfied longer while their nutrients control insulin and blood sugar levels.
The idea of consuming fatty fish to fight belly fat may seem counterintuitive. However, this type of fish, which includes salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel, contains healthy unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help promote increased metabolism and fat burning, according to an article published in "Fitness Magazine" in June 2006.
Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that these catechins in combination with the caffeine in green tea may stimulate your metabolism and increase fat burning, helping you lose weight.
- Harvard Women’s Health Watch: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- The Journal of Nutrition: Increasing Total Fiber Intake Reduces Risk of Weight and Fat Gains in Women
- CBS News: Eight Delicious Foods that Help Fight Belly Fat
- University of Illinois Extension: Eating for Cadiovascular Health
- Fitness Magazine: The 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010: Executive Summary