7 Foods to eat and avoid if you are trying to slim that waist!

The problem with that layer of flab around your tummy goes far beyond cosmetic. Eat these foods to help get rid of that muffin top.

With summer upon us, the thought of strutting across the beach naturally comes to mind. Unfortunately, many of us struggle the most with trimming fat off our midsection. That belly fat hanging over your swimsuit can certainly be distressing, but the issue with that bulge is more serious than that. Studies increasingly show that visceral fat (ie fat stored around the abdomen) and health risks are directly correlated. As your waistline expands, your health risks soar too. Because visceral fat is metabolically active, carrying excess weight around your middle is linked to increased risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, certain types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and even dementia. Fortunately, losing seven to 10 per cent of your body weight can dramatically help manage the fat around your stomach.

Although not an easy feat, getting rid of those love handles is possible. Doing countless stomach crunches at the gym seems to be the priority when it comes to trimming midsections, but exercise alone isn’t enough. Our diet is 70 per cent responsible for altering one’s physique. Therefore it’s crucial that you eat a proper diet to optimise your results and reap the full benefits of your workouts. For longlasting results, eat a nutrient-dense and varied diet. No food can singlehandedly result in abs, but certain foods can help facilitate the process. To leave you looking fitter and feeling healthier, load up on:

Oatmeal: Eating breakfast is one of the easiest ways to jumpstart your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar levels, and give you enough energy to tackle your day. Opt for complex carbs like oatmeal, which is packed with fibre. As a source of whole grains, oats are absorbed slowly and keep your blood sugar steady. They also keep hunger pangs and cravings under control. If plain oatmeal lacks appeal, try adding fresh fruits for some natural sweetness and an extra dose of fibre.

Almonds: Although foods rich in trans and saturated fat will inflate your stomach, studies show that monounsaturated fats can actually help enhance your body’s fat-burning capacity. Given the water-retaining properties of sodium, opt for unsalted nuts and keep portions moderate (eg. 10 walnuts or 15 almonds). If you’re allergic to nuts, other great sources of monounsaturated fats include avocadoes, seeds, olives and olive oil.

Eggs: Good things come in small packages and eggs are proof of that. Packed with protein, eggs can help you build muscle, achieve a leaner physique and ensure you stay fuller for longer. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, which helps optimise cardiovascular health. Although notorious for being high in cholesterol and calories compared to the white portion of the egg, the yolk is especially good to eat when trying to lose belly fat. In fact, that’s where most of the nutrients lie including vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Probiotic-rich foods: Yoghurt, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut. Bloating is often a result of inflammation in the gut due to bacterial imbalance. By cultivating the growth of ‘good’ bacteria, regular consumption of probioticrich foods can help improve gut health and minimise symptoms related to digestive discomfort.

Simultaneously, limit your consumption of:

Sugary foods

From affecting hormonal activity pertaining to fat loss to stimulating cravings for high-fat sugary foods, throwing hunger levels out of whack, eating too much sugar can hamper your body from burning fat, particularly around the belly. Simple swaps can drastically help slash your sugar intake. For example:

• Consume fruit whole rather than in the form of juices

• Trade milk chocolate for the dark variety

• Snack on nuts rather than biscuits

• Switch to whole grains like brown rice and rye bread

Additionally, avoid artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame and mannitol. Although zero calories, artificial sweeteners are as dangerous as sugar and can cause bloating.

Processed foods

Steer clear of chips, biscuits, deli meats, ice cream and doughnuts. These foods tend to be heavy on trans fats, sugar, sodium, various chemicals and flavour enhancers to extend their shelf life. As a result, packaged foods act as a breeding ground for inflammation and hamper the body from burning fat around the belly. Overconsumption of these foods can also result in eating more calories than intended, which leads to fat gain.

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