14 Foods for a Flatter Belly
“Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”
It’s a quote that often pops up on fitness sites and motivational social media posts, but is there any truth to it? You better believe it!
There are healthy foods, and then there are superfoods. These are the foods that go above and beyond the call of duty, helping you not only get the nutrition you need, but helping you fight the battle of the midsection bulge, too.
Without further ado, here are 13 of the best foods to eat if you’re want a flatter belly:
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice have been linked to weight loss for years. One study found that obese adults who ate a half cup of grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals not only lost an average of 15 pounds in 14 weeks, but also reported decreased appetites and an increase in the good HDL cholesterol.
2. Matcha Green tea
Green tea has been around for more than 1000 years, and researchers continue to find fat-fighting benefits. In addition to being loaded with healthy antioxidants, green tea has been shown to speed up metabolism and increase fat burning during and after exercise. One study found that drinking green tea after exercise resulted in 25 percent more fat burning power.
3. Probiotic Yogurt
The fat loss benefits of yogurt are pretty impressive. In one study, people who ate just 18 ounces of yogurt a day while on a low-calorie diet lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than those who didn’t include yogurt in their diets. Even better, they also retained 30 percent more lean muscle, which helps burn calories and give you a toned, lean look. Make sure you eat yogurt with probiotics, which can balance the good bacteria in your gut and help you control your weight.
If you want to blast belly fat, reach for berries. Strawberries have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, which is important for controlling weight. Raspberries contain a substance called ketones, which can help rev up your metabolism. Blue, black, and purple hued berries are also beneficial to weight loss. They contain anthocyanin, a phytonutrient that gives them their color and has been linked to the prevention of obesity.
5. Ground cinnamon
Adding cinnamon to your recipes may do more than just enhance the taste—it’s high fiber content may also help flatten the tummy. A 2012 study found that mice who consumed cinnamon lost visceral fat (the fat stored in the belly). Its sweet taste can also help you curb your sweet cravings without derailing your diet—win/win!
6. Cayenne pepper
Famous for its spice, cayenne pepper also has some pretty impressive metabolism-raising and appetite-suppressing powers. A Purdue University study found that those who consumed 1.8 grams of cayenne pepper daily reported decreased appetites and reduced cravings of fattening, sugary foods.
7. Plant-based protein
Pea protein is not only good for your health, but your waist as well. One study showed that women who ate foods made with pea protein and pea protein powder had the lowest hip-to-waist ratios of any other group in the study, showing that pea protein goes straight for the tummy fat. Scientists believe it could be due to its high arginine and glutamine content, amino acids shown to increase calorie burning! Both rice and pea protein are low in fat, calories, and cholesterol-free, unlike their animal-based counterparts.
What do almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, and pistachios all have in common? They all help you banish belly fat! Because they are high in calories and fat, a quick glance at the nutrition label of any type of nut may make you immediately put them back on the shelf. But nuts contain the same “good” monounsaturated fat as avocados that help you lose weight; in one study, a daily snack of almonds resulted in 62 percent more weight lost than those who didn’t include nuts in their diet. They also help you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to snack.
Drinking plenty of water helps keep your body functions—including metabolism, digestion, and everything else you need for a flat belly—functioning normally. Water can also help aid in your weight loss efforts. Drinking 16 ounces of water before each meal has been shown to help you lose more weight, according to studies.
If you drink water and feel bloated, don’t get discouraged—water retention could actually mean you’re not drinking enough water and cause your body to retain water. Make it a point to drink at least 48 ounces a day, and the water bloat will go away.
(And we don’t mean coffee beans.) Beans are rich in protein and have actually been shown to be more effective at fighting stomach fat than animal proteins. In one study, participants who consumed a vegetarian diet with beans not only burned more fat all over the body as those who ate a meat-based diet, but more belly fat as well.
11. Chia and Flaxseeds
These power seeds are powerful when it comes to fighting flab, too. An ounce of Chia seeds contain almost 10 grams of fiber, which has been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off. Flaxseeds are another super seed and the number one source of lignan, a powerful phytonutrient linked to overall health. One study found that women whose diet included an increased intake of lignan had lower body fat levels.
They may not be low-calorie or low fat, but avocados are one of the best foods for fighting belly fat. How can that be, you wonder? Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, which has actually been shown to prevent fat accumulation around the stomach.
13. Leafy Greens
Your flat-belly diet should include a healthy dose of leafy greens. Not only are they superbly low in calories, spinach, leaf lettuce, romaine, and other greens are high in fiber, antioxidants, and a host of other ingredients that not only help with weight loss, but improve overall health as well.
14. Red Peppers and Tomatoes
If you really want a flat belly, reach for red fruits and vegetables. Red peppers and tomatoes both contain lycopene, the phytochemical that gives them their bright red color. Lycopene can also give you a smaller waist, according to one study. These beneficial antioxidants also help prevent fat storage.
If you’re serious about fighting belly fat, head to the kitchen—and make sure it’s stocked with these super fat-fighting foods!
Written By: Jill Overmyer
Edited By: Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian