If developing firm, defined abs tops your list of fitness goals, an optimal diet for you to follow should include nutrient-dense foods that can help burn body fat and build lean muscle.
Oatmeal is an ideal breakfast choice for an abs diet. The soluble fiber in oatmeal and other whole grain products such as brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals can prevent abdominal fat buildup, reduce total body fat and waist circumference. A 2008 study published by "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" shows that obese adults on a diet with four to seven daily servings of whole grain foods lost twice as much abdominal fat as those who ate refined counterparts of the same foods.
Turkey or Chicken Breast
Lean proteins like turkey and chicken breast are among the best foods to include in an abs diet. Eating quality lean proteins can help facilitate fat loss by slowing down digestion and insulin production, thus making it easier for the body to break down and use stored fat for energy, explains Deborah Friedson Chud, author of "The Gourmet Prescription."
Eggs are an excellent source of protein containing vitamin B12 needed by the body to metabolize fat. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that people who ate eggs for breakfast every day lost more weight than those who ate bagels. Fitness model Tosca Reno, author of "The Eat-Clean Diet" recommends eating at least three or four egg whites along with one yolk.
Wild salmon has fewer growth hormones and toxins than its farm-raised cousin, and it contains high levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids that can help suppress appetite, prevent fat deposition, increase energy expenditure and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Nuts, including almonds, pecans, peanuts and walnuts, are good sources of monounsaturated fat (MUFA), promoting fullness and helping increase the metabolic rate. Research conducted by David Katz, director of Yale's Prevention Research Center, shows that women who switched to a 1,600-calorie, high-MUFA diet shed a third of their belly fat within a month.
Calcium in milk and other dairy products such as yogurt and cheese can help boost weight loss by increasing fat breakdown in fat cells. Researchers at the University of Tennessee found overweight people consuming three servings a day of calcium-rich dairy lost more belly fat than those who followed a similar diet with less diary servings. For the abs diet, always pick low-fat or fat-free dairy over full-fat versions.
Vegetables like spinach and broccoli are high in soluble fiber, which acts as a cleanser for the digestive system. Vegetables also supply an abundance of cell-repairing antioxidants that provide vitamins and enzymes needed for energy metabolism that can help slim abs. Research published in "The"Journal of Nutrition" on Mar. 25, 2009 shows that people who ate higher amounts of antioxidants had smaller waists as well as less visceral and subcutaneous fat.
Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. For every gram of fiber consumed approximately seven calories can be eliminated, according to research by Germany's University of Kiel, Department of Human Nutrition and Food Science published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in 1990.
Drinking at least three cups of green tea daily can help burn 80 more calories thanks to antioxidants that can induce breakdown of fat. A study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" on Dec. 11, 2008, found that green tea, along with exercise can especially enhance fat loss in the abdominal area.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The effects of a whole-grain–enriched hypocaloric diet
- Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fats: Know which ones to choose
- Fat Free Kitchen: Foods that burn fat
- Journal of Nutrition: Carotenoid Intake associated with lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome
- Journal of Nutrition: Metabolizable energy of diets low or high in dietary
- Journal of Nutrition: Green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced abdominal fat loss