Having a flat stomach is about much more than just looking good
and feeling good about how our bodies look. The excess belly fat
that is common among many Americans creates health risks too.
Belly fat leads to increased risk of cardiovascular and other
diseases more so than fat in other places such as our hips and
thighs. No matter what we eat, the formula for a flat stomach has
to include the number of calories consumed being somewhat equal
to the number we burn off. Food is simply fuel for the body. If
we put more in than our bodies can use up, then it stores up as
fat. The alternative is to increase our activity level and use up
more. There are some foods though that have been shown to be
helpful in getting that flat stomach. Eating flat belly foods can
help us get that flat stomach and improve our overall health.
What are flat belly foods? Here are some of the types of food
that can help achieve our goal of a flat stomach.
It may sound strange to say that eating fat will help keep you
from getting fat, but many researchers have found just that. That
doesnít mean all fats, it applies specifically to monounsaturated
fats. Stay away from the greasy fast food and other foods with
trans fats. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 20-35% of
your calorie intake be these foods with the ďgoodĒ fats.
Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Prevention and Cynthia Sass,
MPH, RD, former nutrition director at Prevention recommend in
their book, Flat Belly Diet, that sticking with 1600 calories a
day will help you get a flat stomach and still have energy, a
healthy immune system, and keep muscle strong. Part of the secret
of this diet is eating foods with monounsaturated fatty acid in
every meal as they indicate that these types of fats actually
help reduce belly fat. This is the type of good fats found in
foods like peanut butter, olive oil, and avocados. They also
emphasize eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans,
seeds, lean protein, and very little red meat and avoiding
There is research that reports eating foods loaded with soluble
fiber can help get you that flat stomach. Eating fiber makes you
feel fuller so you donít need to eat as much to feel satisfied.
Less calories in of course mean less calories to burn up. Foods
high in fiber include beans, fruits, whole grains and vegetables.
Some of the foods with the highest amounts of fiber are
artichokes, split peas, lentils, black beans, raspberries and
Your digestive system needs healthy friendly bacteria to digest
your food. If you do not have enough of these bacteria working
for you, your digestion is slowed and bloating occurs as well as
having undigested food causing belly bulges. Flat belly foods
that are good sources of probiotics vital to this digestion
process are yogurt and kefir. When buying yogurt or kefir, make
sure you read the labels and get ones with live active cultures.
You can also add a full spectrum probiotic supplement to your
diet. Our favorite probiotic supplement has
twelve key good bacteria that are microblended with bluegreen
You need protein to build strong muscle and maintain muscle
integrity and strength. This doesnít mean chowing down on lots of
steaks and hamburgers though that have a lot of fat if you are
seeking a flat stomach. Good proteins come from lean sources such
as beans, soy, and dairy, and if you need a meat fix then opt for
white meat chicken or seafood. Be sure to take the skin off the
chicken before cooking as it contains lots of saturated fat. If
you notice that you are losing weight, but not dropping in waist
size, this can be an indication that you need more protein or
need strength training, according to Alan Aragon, a nutritionist
in Westlake Village, California (http://ow.ly/qkrkZ).
Protein powder drinks are another good source of protein. Studies
such as one in The Journal of Nutrition are showing benefits of
choosing whey powder over soy. In this study it is reported that
those who added whey protein to their diets showed less body fat
and smaller waists than those that used soy protein.
Personally, I love getting protein with smoothies. They are easy
and fast to make, and easy to take with you when you are on the
run. I can add in fruit or veggies for some extra fiber and
antioxidants, some yogurt for probiotics and protein and my
favorite organic whey protein powder for a real boost.
This protein powder has bluegreen algae for extra nutritional
value, sprouts, and protein digesting enzymes.
Metabolism Boosting Foods
Increasing your metabolism can also help burn fat and get you
closer to your goal of a flat stomach. Capsaicin is a chemical
compound that creates a sensation of heat from irritating nerve
endings. It is mostly found in various types of peppers and has
been found to give a boost to metabolism. Green tea is another
metabolism booster. Some studies have reported an increase in
metabolism of 4-10% when drinking two to four cups of green tea a
day. Staying hydrated also helps keep your metabolism working at
its peak. Being even mildly dehydrated can slow down your
metabolism, so be sure you are drinking plenty of water.
For a natural and healthy way to keep your metabolism high and
your fat content low, add enzymes to your regimen between and at
meals. Enzymes help boost your metabolism. These enzymes contain
amylase, cellulase, lipase, protease, and lactase for more
efficient digestion to avoid the after-meal energy slump. These
enzymes with an extra boost contain cayenne and other substances
to increase metabolism, burn fat, digest a broad spectrum of
substances, and clean up waste in the body.
We typically think of dairy foods as being fattening, but not
getting enough can actually lead to your body making more fat.
This is explained in a study in The American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition as calcitriol, a compound that increases fat cell
production, being stimulated by a lack of calcium. You can
actually go further towards getting a flat stomach by making sure
you get extra calcium.
Yes, I know there are lots of snack bars out there that vary in
protein, calories and overall nutrition. You really have to read
labels and compare to make sure you are getting one with the
right nutrients to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied,
but without adding a lot of extra calories or unnatural
ingredients that youíll have to now burn off. My favorite snack
bar is made with high-quality, organic ingredients, is
fortified with sprouted grains, greens, and bluegreen algae so I
know Iím getting good nutritional value from it. It also has
almond butter for a smooth texture and is sprinkled with minced
almonds which helps make it great tasting as well as nutritious
and convenient when Iím busy or on the run.
Now that you know some flat belly foods to get you on the way to
a flat stomach, get started on burning away that belly fat for a