It is normal to have some amount of belly fat in people but too much of belly fat can have adverse effects on your health. Some of your fat is under your skin while other fat exists deeper inside your heart, lungs, liver, and other organs. The deeper fat that is also known as visceral fat might lead to bigger health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, dementia, and certain cancers.
Let’s take a look at some of the following tips that can help to reduce your belly fat.
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1. Don’t eat sugar and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
Several studies have suggested that sugar has harmful effects on metabolic health. Sugar has fructose which is linked to diseases like obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A large amount of fructose leads to excess fat in the belly and liver. Liquid sugar is even worse. Sugar-sweetened drinks like sugary sodas, fruit juices, and several high-sugar sports drinks increase the risk of obesity among children. Hence, it is beneficial to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and stop drinking sugary drinks.
2. Increase in Protein Consumption
If losing weight is your ultimate goal, then increased consumption of protein in your diet can be very effective. Not only will it help you lose weight, but it will also help you avoid re-gaining weight. Several studies have reported that people who eat more protein-rich foods have less belly fat. So, increase your intake of high-protein foods such as fish, whole eggs, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy products. If you are a vegetarian or vegan then consider eating foods like Seitan, Tofu, Lentils, Chickpeas, Spelt, Tempeh, etc.
3. Eat High Fiber Foods, especially viscous fiber
Eating fiber-rich foods can help you to lose weight. However, one must keep in mind that not all fiber is created equal. Only the viscous fibers are effective in reducing your belly fat. Viscous fibers slow down the movement of food through your digestive system, which in turn slows down the digestion and helps in absorption of nutrients. This results in a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite. To increase the amount of fiber consumption, eat a lot of plant foods like vegetables and fruits. You can also eat legumes as well as some cereals like white oats.
4. Cut carbs from your diet
Several studies have reported that when people cut carbs from their diet, their appetite goes down and they lose weight. Low-carb diets can also help in preventing type 2 diabetics. Avoiding refined carbs like sugar, candy, white bread, etc. is sufficient enough if your protein intake is high. However, if you want to lose your weight fast, then consider cutting your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will kill your appetite and help to burn your belly fat.
5. Regular exercise is very effective in reducing your belly fat
Exercise is very important if you want to live a long and a healthy life. Vigorous exercise is very effective at reducing your belly fat. Aerobic exercises like walking, running, swimming, etc. has been shown to reduce belly fat in several studies. Get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days per week. Brisk walking also helps if you can sweat and breathe harder with your heart rate faster than usual. Exercise also helps in reducing inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and improves other metabolic abnormalities that are associated with excess belly fat.
6. Get more sleep
Sleep provides nutrition to your brain and its deprivation can hamper your metabolism which in turn can make it very difficult for you to lose abdominal fat. Studies have suggested that people who had 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night gained less fat over 5 years compared to those who slept for 5 or fewer hours per night or 8 or more hours per night.
7. Reduce your stress levels
Stress produces hormones like cortisol and interferes with your weight loss. Everyone experiences stress but how you handle it matters the most. Make efforts to reduce your stress by spending time with your friends and family, meditating, exercising, etc. This will make you healthier and better prepared to make good choices for yourself.
8. Have smaller and more frequent meals
Smaller meals increase your metabolism rate and can also help you to reduce extra abdominal fat. Mini-meals can help in satisfying the appetite, stabilize blood sugar levels, and provide nutrients to your body throughout the day. While skipping meals will lead to decreased energy, a drop in blood sugar levels, and a slower metabolism.
9. Eat more good fats and less trans fats
Good or unsaturated fats are fats that you will find in foods like nuts, avocados, flaxseed, olive oil, etc. These foods are healthy and can reduce your chances of heart disease. It can also help you in losing your weight. While saturated or trans fats are fats that you will find in processed foods, which enhance your health risks and increase your abdominal fat.
10. Track your foods and figure out exactly what and how much are you eating
Most people don’t remember what they are eating and tend to over or underestimate. Anyone who truly wants to optimize their diet should keep a track of what and how much they are eating. This doesn’t mean that you need to weigh and measure everything throughout your life, but doing periodically can help you realize where you need to make the changes. If you want to increase your protein intake to 25-30% of calories, you need to measure and make small adjustments to reach your goal.
Some of the belly fat burning foods are listed below:
- Peppers: Hot peppers like chili peppers, jalapenos, and cayenne powder helps in reducing weight and reduces appetite.
- Beans: Beans have the perfect amount of carbs and protein that will stave off your hunger. Examples include black beans, kidney, lentils, garbanzo, etc.
- Berries: Berries are filled with Vitamin C and fiber that helps to increase your metabolism rate. Examples include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries.
- Leafy greens: Leafy greens satisfy your appetite and enhance your metabolism rate. They are low in calories and high in fiber that makes it a perfect weight-loss food.
- Citrus fruit: Citrus fruit is another metabolism booster and is great for losing excess abdominal fat. Squeeze some lemon, lime, orange or all the three fruits into your water and sip it all day.
- Coconut: Coconut can also help in reducing your unwanted belly fat. Drink coconut water or coconut milk every day to get effective results.
- Broccoli: Broccoli increases your metabolism rate and helps you burn your excess belly fat.