Belly fat is linked with higher risk for developing various health issues, but belly fat burning foods can help you lose belly fat when combined with exercise. It is normal for every person to have some belly fat, even for people with flat abs. A healthy body needs some fat which contains essential nutrients. Our body uses fat to make tissue and create biochemicals, such as hormones.
Some of our fat is close to the surface right under our skin. Other fat can be found deeper inside our body around the organs, such as around our heart, lungs and liver. This deeper fat is called “visceral” fat and too much of it can affect our health.
Why belly fat is dangerous
Too much belly fat (or what is called the “apple” shape) increases the risk of many health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even certain types of cancers.
The ironic thing is that even slim people can have hidden belly fat that is folded deep inside the belly around the stomach organs and is visible only by medical imaging. This might be due to genetic issues, unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercising and puts them at risk just like the other people with a more visible belly fat.
Men tend to store more belly fat than women and it’s one of the reasons men have more coronary disease than women. Women tend to be protected before menopause, when their fat tends to be stored on the buttocks and thighs (the “pear” shape”). At menopause, however, women’s fat tends to settle in the belly, and this fat is much more dangerous than buttocks fat and greatly increases a woman’s risk of death from heart disease.
Diet is just part of the picture
While your genetics may play a role in belly fat, this is just part of the picture. Most of belly fat is related to unhealthy lifestyle – being physically inactive and consuming too much calories. Being physically active is a key in losing belly fat and should be combined with healthy nutrition. If you only eat foods that seem to target belly fat without exercising, you will see much slower results.
Find activity that you enjoy and do it on a regular basis, such as walking, running or biking. It’s also good if you can find a support group to help you with moral support to maintain the results. You can also refer to my previous article about 8 simple exercises to get flat tummy that you can do at home. These exercises specifically target the belly and help to tone this area.
Another part of the picture is sleep. I’ve written in the past about the dangers of sleep deprivation which one of them was weight gain. When we maintain enough hours of sleep we burn more calories. Recent studies (both in humans and animals) have linked insufficient sleep and a tendency to gain weight.
Sleep duration affects the hunger and satiety, as well as the production of various hormones and has a direct effect on the metabolism of the body. In addition, it was found that people who don’t sleep enough are less active the next day and burn fewer calories. It was found that 8 hours of sleep provide the best metabolism. Some even claim that stress is part of the picture as we all know how emotional eating affects our diet.
What is the common link between the various lists of foods that fight belly fat?
Looking at various websites with lists of foods that fight belly fat can be quite confusing. The lists vary quite significantly in the length and content. It’s hard to know where to start from. After all, there is no magic diet for belly fat, but when you lose weight on any diet, belly fat usually goes first. So here I would like to concentrate in food categories that will help you to better maintain your weight over time:
1. Fiber rich foods
Research shows that eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day helped to build less visceral fat over time. This is why many lists contain fiber rich foods, such as beans, legumes, various fruits and vegetables with the skin, whole grains and oats. Try to include soluble fiber in every meal and snack throughout the day. If you’re not used to eating this much fiber, add it gradually to avoid gas and diarrhea and be sure to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Some of the fiber rich foods are true superfoods that are also featured in my e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Program, a program that will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.