Do you know everyone has belly fat? Even those with flat abs too! But too much belly fat can be seriously harmful to you!
Belly fat is primarily of two types. The extra padding layer just below the skin is the subcutaneous fat. Belly fat also includes visceral fat, which lies deep inside the abdomen surrounding your internal organs. It is the visceral fat, potentially harmful type fat, leading to type-2 diabetes, heart problems, and other health ailments.
This article will inform you about foods to eat & avoid, lifestyle changes, ayurvedic tips, supplements, and exercises to reduce belly fat.
What is Belly Fat?
Visceral fat, lying deep inside the abdomen, is primarily belly fat or abdominal fat. It is less visible than subcutaneous fat.
You can measure visceral fat by measuring the circumference around your navel with an inch-meter tape. Usually, circumference measurement with more than 40 inches (102 centimetres) for men and more than 35 inches (88 centimetres) for women is considered abdominal obesity.
The harmful visceral belly fat is susceptible to what a person eats. So, making dietary changes and exercises is a must to get rid of excess belly fat. Pear-shaped bodies with bigger hips & thighs are safe than apple-shaped bodies with a broader waistline.
So, let’s start with healthy dietary changes in your daily life.
Dietary Changes to Reduce Belly Fat
First, let’s begin with those foods which you can eat.
What to Eat to Reduce Belly Fat?
1. Soluble Fibres
Soluble fibres form a gel by absorbing water. This gel slows down food as it passes through the digestive system. Research studies have shown that soluble fibres help weight loss by inducing the fullness hormones in the stomach, so naturally, you eat less!
Observation studies over 1000 adults indicated that for every 10 grams of increase in soluble fibre intake, fat reduces by 3.7% in around five years. You can consume soluble fibres every day.
Flax seeds, legumes, blackberries, beans, avocados, sweet potato, whole oats, pears & broccoli are some soluble fibre-rich foods.
2. High in Protein Foods
Proteins boost the release of fullness hormone (PYY), which binds to brain receptors & produces satiety hormone. This way, it helps in reducing appetite. Proteins also increase metabolic rate, help retain muscle mass during weight loss.
Studies show that people consuming more proteins tend to lose more belly fat than those consuming less. Meat, whey protein, eggs, fish, etc., are high in protein foods.
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is rich in high proteins and omega-3 fats that protect you from diseases. Observational studies have shown that consuming omega-3 fats lower the harmful visceral fat.
Research studies on adults have also concluded that people with fatty liver problems consuming fish oil supplements have decreased belly & liver fat.
Consume 2-3 servings of fish per week. Salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are sources of fatty fish.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar lowers blood sugar levels. It contains acetic acid, shown to decrease belly fat in research studies. Consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 millimetres) of apple cider vinegar is beneficial for health.
Probiotics are fermented foods known to affect hormones related to appetite and fat storage. These foods help in maintaining healthy gut bacteria, which further helps digestion. Some probiotic foods are yoghurt, curd, idli (small rice cakes), cottage cheese, and fermented soya bean.
6. Green Tea
Green tea contains a unique plant compound, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which increases hormones that tell fat cells to break down fat at the fastest rate possible.
Now, learn about the foods to avoid to reduce your excess belly fat.
What to Avoid Eating to Reduce Belly Fat?
1. Carbohydrates & Refined Carbs
Reduce the intake of carbohydrates. Diets with less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day result in belly fat loss in people. You don’t need to follow a strict diet.
Studies have shown that simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed and starchy diets can improve metabolism & reduce belly fat. Consume healthy carbs, like whole grains, legumes, vegetables, pulses, and fruits.
Avoid refined carbohydrates like sugar, candy, white rice, white bread, etc.
2. Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are as high in sugar content as soda & sweetened beverages. Drinking too much quantity may lead to fat gain. Any serving of unsweetened juice has fructose, which stimulates higher consumption of food & produces fewer satiety hormones.
To reduce belly fat, have fruit juice with water, substitute with unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water with lemon, etc.
3. A Lot of Sugar Foods
Sugar has half quantity glucose and half quantity fructose. When consumed in high quantity, fructose is linked with various chronic diseases, like heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver.
Observation studies have shown that consuming added sugars are harmful to metabolism and leads to weight gain. Numerous research studies have also concluded that large amounts of fructose build up fat around the abdomen and liver & lead to insulin resistance.
4. Sugary Beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages are even worse than sugar foods, as sometimes difficult to limit the quantity when taken in liquid. These are loaded with fructose, which increases abdominal fat.
A 10-week study has shown that sugary drinks increase liver fat, thus resulting in significant belly fat gain. Read labels before buying sugar beverages and make sure that it does not contain refined sugars.
5. Trans fat Foods
Trans fat is considered the worst fat type, which raises bad cholesterol & lowers good cholesterol in the body. High trans-fat foods are linked with inflammation, insulin resistance, heart ailments & belly fat gain.
Trans fats are mainly added to processed packaged foods & spreads, but many companies have stopped using them.
You need to be cautious while buying packaged food. Better to stay away from the processed foods, which usually have trans-fat, sometimes mentioned as hydrogenated fats.
Include healthy high-fat foods like chia seeds, avocado, eggs, nuts, nut butter, and olives in your diet.
6. Too Much Alcohol
Research studies have proved that drinking alcohol in large amounts increases the risk of central obesity, the excess fat gain around the waist. So, limiting alcohol intake will be beneficial for your health.
Now, let’s learn about the type of diets you can follow for reducing your belly fat.
What Type of Diets Can You Follow for Reducing Abdominal Fat?
1. Keto Diet
The idea of the keto diet is to consume more calories from proteins and fats. Restrict the intake of carbohydrates instead. Reduced intake of carbs puts your body in a ketosis state, where fat burns quickly.
You can cut back on processed sugars, like soda, white bread, processed juices, pastries, cakes, etc.
2. Vegan Diet
The vegan diet focuses on eating plant-based foods and stopping consuming animal-derived foods like meat, eggs, dairy, etc.
Research studies of 18 weeks have shown that vegetarian diet people lost more abdominal fat than a non-vegetarian diet.
3. Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is similar to the hunter-gatherer diet, the way our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era. It focuses on consuming nutrient-rich whole foods and limiting processed foods. Meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are allowed in this diet.
4. Atkins Diet
Atkin’s diet aims to control insulin levels of the body through a low-carb diet. On this diet, sugar & sugary drinks, grains & vegetable oils are avoided. This diet helps manage weight and reduces metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases.
5. Dash Diet
Also known as a flexible diet, the dash diet doesn’t require special foods. It’s best to create a balanced eating plan at your convenience. In this diet, you can achieve weight loss by controlling daily requirements. This diet helps in managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels hence resulting in weight loss.
Stress causes adrenal glands to produce stress hormones (cortisol) which increase your appetite and thus, increase abdominal fat gain. Studies have proved that women with more waistline produce more cortisol hormones than women with the lesser waist.
You have to engage yourself in pleasure activities, like running, listening to music, taking a bath, watching a movie, reading good books, yoga & meditation to relieve stress.
Replace Cooking Fats With Regional Oils
Many research studies have shown that medium-chain fats in coconut oils may increase metabolism & reduce fat deposits. Replace your cooking fats with your regional oils, like sesame oil, coconut oil, groundnut oil, or mustard oil.
A 12-week study of obese men taking coconut oil loses 1.1 inches of abdominal fat without any lifestyle changes.
Make sure to buy cold-pressed oils as potent nutrients of ingredients & natural form are preserved while manufacturing these oils.
Get Plenty of Sleep
An observational study of 16 years on 68,000 women has shown that women sleeping less than 5 hours were more likely to gain abdominal fat than the women sleeping equal to or more than 7 hours.
Research studies indicate people who do not get enough sleep tend to gain more weight. So, take care of your sleep. Make sure to have a good quality sleep of more than 7 hours.
Plan Your Food Intake
Keep track of your food intake with the help of a food diary or online food tracker apps. It is not like you are weighing each & every calorie, but make sure to include a proper portion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fibres in your diet.
So, plan your food routine with these apps & cut down on your unhealthy carbohydrates, and boost protein intake.
Now, let’s learn about some ayurvedic tips for reducing belly fat.
Effective Ayurvedic Tips for Belly Fat
Fenugreek (methi) seeds help in weight loss by burning stubborn belly fat. Antioxidants present in fenugreek seeds also help in flushing out toxins from the body & reduce abdominal fat.
You can drink the mixture of powdered fenugreek seeds with lukewarm water or soaked fenugreek seeds on an empty stomach.
Triphala powder eliminates toxins from the body and rejuvenates digestive systems, resulting in losing harmful belly fat.
You can take one tablespoon of Triphala powder with warm water two hours after lunch.
Dry Ginger Powder
Ginger has thermogenic properties, which help in burning fats at the fastest possible rate.
You can take dry ginger powder boiled in water to boost your metabolism rate & burn excess abdominal fat. You can even include raw ginger in your diet.
Chewing Food Time
When you chew your food slowly in the mouth, half of the digestion occurs in the mouth with the help of saliva produced. In a way, chewing helps break down foods before digestion takes place in the stomach and intestines.
Taking enough time in chewing food also produces fullness hormones, that alert stomach is full. In a way, you would end up eating less food!
Make sure to drink water whenever you feel thirsty, as drinking even when you don’t feel thirsty can confuse your brain!
Drinking water with or without lemon juice first thing in the morning helps with a reasonable metabolism rate and weight loss.
What Supplements can you use?
Fat burners are supplements that enhance the fat loss rate. Usually, you can take these fat burners before your workout or exercise in the morning.
Sometimes, the body makes up a tolerance against the stimulants present in these fat burners. So, make sure to cycle these supplements after two or three weeks.
Let’s know about the exercises which you can follow for dropping belly fat.
Best Exercises to Follow for Reducing Belly
Fat crunches are one of the best fat-burning exercises. Lie down on your back. Put your palms on the back of your head. Try to touch your knees to your elbows; make this movement with both the knees one by one.
Twelve yoga poses of Surya Namaskar are a combination of various cardio & weight strengthening exercises. Practising Surya Namaskar activates your body metabolism & helps in weight loss.
Cycling increases heart rate and can burn significant calories. It also helps in losing fat from the waist & thighs. Make sure to start using cycle for nearby places.
Zumba is a high-intensity exercise. Its cardio exercises sweat your body up, releases toxins, and reduce cholesterol and blood sugar.
Walking is a simple yet effective cardio exercise. A balanced diet along with walking habits works wonders. You can do brisk walking or even run for 15 to 20 minutes daily. These physical activities boost your metabolism rate and hence reduce excess belly fat.
Aerobics is considered an effective cardio exercise. Studies have shown that aerobics helps in reducing excess abdominal fat.
The frequency and duration of aerobics are more critical than aerobics.
It is crucial to curb excess abdominal fat, as it increases the risk of various diseases.
There is no one magic solution for reducing stubborn belly fat. But with effort, determination, patience, and consistency, you can achieve visible results.
Try adopting some or all the above tips, which help remove the excess abdominal fat from your body.
So, when are you starting? Do let me know about your other queries in the comment section below.