Although intense calorie burning workouts and a diet consisting of a caloric deficit play an integral role in losing fat, the type of foods you consume play an equal part in fine-tuning your physique. So what kind of foods should you be eating?
The latest nutrition science and various studies suggest that there is a long list of foods that have what it takes to transform your body for the better. So if your goal is to turn that belly fat into toned, tight abs, start by giving these foods a shot!
#1 Blueberries: Blueberries have various health benefits, but one you may not know about is their capability to help you expose those abs. An examination in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that pterostilbene, which is an antioxidant found in blueberries, may help keep fat off by reducing the activity of enzymes involved in fat storage, while also enhancing fat oxidation. In addition, the aforesaid Harvard study found that, along with cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, larger intakes of berries are linked with less weight gain over the years.
#2 Green Tea: I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Green Tea is awesome for fat burning! Green tea is high in antioxidants and catechin-polyphenols (EGCG), which are somewhat accountable for the fat burning. In a recent study out of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, participants consumed a caffeine-free green tea extract experienced a 25 percent higher rate of fat oxidation during exercise than those who received a placebo. The supplement group also witnessed a higher drop in body-fat levels following the month-long study.
#3 Greek Yogurt: A lot of people associate dairy with fat gain, big mistake! Greek Yogurt is a healthy, high protein food you should definitely be eating (unless you’re lactose intolerant of course). A Journal of Nutrition study determined that overweight people who worked out daily and followed a high-dairy, high-protein diet, while also tracking their calorie intake, lost more body fat and gained more lean body mass than people who took in the same number of calories but ate less protein and less dairy. However, for best results stick with the plain and add some blueberries instead of going for the sugary flavored kind.
#4 Cruciferous Veggies: These include: Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, etc. These types of vegetables are nutrient dense and often high in fiber, meaning they can fill you up on fewer calories and won’t negatively impact blood sugar levels. Harvard University researchers tracked the eating habits and body-composition changes of more than 130,000 men and women for more than two decades, they found that higher intakes of non-starchy, lower-glycemic vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale were strongly associated with lower rates of weight gain.
#5 Apples: Research out of Japan suggests that polyphenols found in apples, mostly in the apple skins/peels, may improve body-fat measures by altering compounds involved in fat metabolism. These polyphenols were shown to increase levels of adiponectin, which is a protein that plays a major role in energy regulation, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. Low levels of adiponectin, which are pragmatic in obese populations, are linked to insulin resistance, a pro-inflammatory environment, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
#6 Steel Cut Oatmeal: Oatmeal is high in fiber and a great source of complex carbohydrates (which digest slower, and don’t spike insulin and blood sugar levels). A 2015 study by researchers at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center discovered that people who consumed oatmeal for breakfast experienced greater satiety and ate 31 percent fewer calories at a follow-up meal when compared with people who ate up to the same number of calories from corn flakes.
#7 Beans: Another great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates are beans. They are also an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A recent study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics even found that a bean-heavy, fiber-rich diet is as efficient as a low-carbohydrate method for weight loss, but is far better when it comes to improving cholesterol levels. In addition, a University of Minnesota study found that subjects were just as fulfilled after eating a higher-fiber bean-based meal as they were following a beef meal.
#8 Salmon: Salmon is a great fatty fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. A study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate a omega-3 supplement every day and did cardio for little more than two hours a week reduced their body-fat percentage while lowering their heart-hampering blood triglycerides and raising HDL cholesterol numbers at the same time. When another group with the same exercise routine was provided sunflower oil instead of omega-3 fatty acids, they shed hardly any fat. Note: If you are not a Seafood or Fish fan, like me, I suggest investing in a Fish Oil supplement to get those essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids in.
#9 Hot Sauce and Spices: I’ve also mentioned this before as well, spicy foods burn fat! Capsaicin is a compound that gives the chili peppers in hot sauces their fiery kick; it is believed to be body fat’s worst enemy by cranking up metabolism and enhancing fat burning. Capsaicin can also boost satiety, which results in improved calorie control.
#10 Olive Oil: Another thing I’ve mentioned before is that healthy fats are a great tool in aiding fat loss, and Olive Oil is a great source! In fact, a recent study by a group of white coats in Italy found that oleic acid, a main monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, can boost post-meal circulating levels of a hunger-fighting compound called oleoylethanolamide (OEA). That one ingredient results in a lower caloric intake over the following 24-hour period.
#11 Nuts: Nuts are another great source of healthy fats and can also aid in fat loss. A recent study out of Loma Linda University in California found that eating tree nuts, such as: pistachios, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts, as part of your healthy eating plan is strongly linked with a reduced risk for obesity. Even though nuts are packed full of calories, they contain a powerful mixture of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can keep you from turning to other higher-calorie foods with less of a notable nutritional list.
#12 Meat: Meat can guarantee your diet includes plenty of protein, which has been shown to be quite effective at promoting fat loss. Aside from increasing lean body mass, protein can also help prevent belt-stretching weight gain due to the fact that it has a higher thermic effect than carbs and fat. Note: If you are a vegetarian, some other great sources of fat burning protein are Greek Yogurt, Beans, Nuts, etc.