While you can't count on food alone to banish your belly fat, certain dietary choices might help whittle your waistline to some degree. For meaningful fat loss, however, you still need to reduce your caloric intake and engage in regular exercise. With a sensible weight-loss program in place, these foods may help enhance your results.
A drizzle of safflower oil on your salad or dinner roll could help you reduce belly fat, according to a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2009. Researchers gave obese menopausal women safflower oil for 16 weeks and monitored their vital statistics. By the end of the study, they found that the women had less belly fat, even though they did not change their daily intake of calories or fat.
Not only are whole grains richer in fiber, vitamins and minerals than their refined counterparts, but they may help you burn more abdominal fat. In a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2008, researchers placed obese subjects on a reduced-calorie diet and told one group to get all grains from whole sources and the other group to avoid whole grains. Even though weight loss was similar among both groups, participants who ate whole grains lost more belly fat. Whole-grain choices include brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat bread but not white rice or products made with enriched wheat flour.
Green tea may enhance the belly-fat-burning effects of your workouts, according to a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in 2009. Scientists placed overweight and obese adults on a semi-supervised exercise schedule and gave them either a beverage containing caffeine and green tea catechins -- a type of antioxidant in the tea -- or caffeine only. Those who took the catechin-caffeine drink lost more abdominal fat than those who just took caffeine, and they also tended to lose more weight overall.
Smart Lifestyle Choices
The most effective way to lose belly bulge is to decrease caloric intake while increasing physical activity so that you burn more calories than you consume. Help create this caloric deficit by reducing portion sizes and choosing foods low in calories yet bulky enough to make you feel satisfied. Fruits and vegetables are excellent choices, as are lean proteins such as salmon, egg whites and low-fat cheese. For optimal results, engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, and perform strength-training exercises such as lifting weights at least twice weekly.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Comparison of Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid With Safflower Oil on Body Composition in Obese Postmenopausal Women With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The Effects of a Whole Grain-Enriched Hypocaloric Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Men and Women With Metabolic Syndrome
- The Journal of Nutrition: Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?