How to lose your belly fat

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Anupama Nair

Every one dreams of having a thin and fit body and belly fat makes our body look out of shape. It is more than a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight and it’s seriously harmful too. One type of belly fat called as visceral fat  is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Body mass index (BMI) is used to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease. However, this is misleading, as people with excess belly fat are at an increased risk even if they look thin. The sad part is losing fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat:

Eat Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. Research indicate that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food. Soluble fiber may help fight belly fat. A study in over many adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period  Make an effort to consume high fiber foods every day. Good sources of soluble fiber are:

  • flax seeds
  • shirataki noodles
  • Brussels sprouts
  • avocados
  • legumes
  • blackberries

 

Avoid foods that contain trans fats

What are trans fats and how are they formed? Trans fats also called trans-fatty acids increase bad cholesterol and also lowers good cholesterol. A diet full of trans fats increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading killer of adults. Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil. They’re found in some margarines and spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them. These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies. To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, you must read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.

Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it’s seriously harmful if you drink too much. Studies suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly increased risk of developing obesity, that is, excess fat storage around the waist Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help a lot. One study on alcohol use involved more than 2,000 people. Results showed those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank.

Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management. A high protein intake increases the release of the hormone PYY, which reduces  appetite and fullness., and you end up eating less. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight. Many studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein  Food high in protein are:

  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • whey protein
  • beans

 

Reduce your stress levels

 

Stress helps in gaining belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. Studies shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage. Women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle. Engaging in pleasurable activities that relieve stress like meditation and yoga helps.

 

Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods

 

Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease.

There is a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used in limits.

 

Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs

 

Reducing your carb intake can be very helpful for losing fat, including abdominal fat.

Diets with less than 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in people who are overweight, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). You don’t have to follow a strict low carb diet. Some research suggests that by simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat  People with the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains.

 

Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages

 

Sugar sweetened drinks might taste good but are loaded with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat. Studies show that sugary drinks lead to increased fat in the liver. Sugary beverages are even worse than high sugar foods. Since your brain doesn’t process liquid calories the same way it does solid ones, you’re likely to end up consuming too many calories later on and storing them as fat

 

To lose belly fat, it’s best to completely avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like:

 

  • soda
  • punch
  • sweet tea
  • alcoholic mixers containing sugar

 

Get plenty of restful sleep

 

A sound sleep of around 8 hours is important for many aspects of your health, including weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat. Those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat. Apart from sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.

 

Eat fatty fish every week

 

Fatty fish are incredibly healthy. They’re rich in high quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from diseases. These omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat. Studies in adults and children with fatty liver disease show that fish oil supplements can significantly reduce liver and abdominal fat  Try to eat 2–3 servings of fatty fish per week.

 

Some good fatty fish are:

  • salmon
  • herring
  • sardines
  • mackerel
  • anchovies

 

Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement

What are Probiotics? They  are bacteria found in some foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including helping improve gut health and enhancing immune function. There is evidence that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat. Those known to reduce belly fat include members of the Lactobacillus family, such as Lactobacillus fermentumLactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri .Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure you purchase one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains.

 

Drink green tea

 

Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage. It contains caffeine and the anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which appear to boost metabolism. EGCG is a catechin, which may help you lose belly fat. What is catechin? Catechins are phenolic compounds found excessively in tea, cocoa and berries. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is combined with exercise.

Change your lifestyle and combine different methods

Just doing one of the items on this list won’t help on its own. If you want good results, you need to combine different methods that have been shown to be effective. Interestingly, many of these methods are things generally associated with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle. Therefore, keep changing your lifestyle for the long-term helps in losing your belly fat and keeping it off forever. If you have healthy habits and eat healthy food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.

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