So it’s time for a gut reality check, excuse the poor pun. The fact is, that it is a myth that certain foods can help you lose a specific section of fat more then another part of your body. However, there are certain foods that have nutrients in them which can in fact be quite effective at helping shed the pounds off that tummy.
Why? Because according to webmd, the fat around your stomach, especially when you are severely overweight or obese, typically comes off first as you begin to lose weight. Therefor foods that help you lose weight more effectively overall in fact end up being foods which help you trim that bulging stomach.
So really I want to tackle this in three distinct parts, as I have come to find via the experience in my own life as well as my family and friends, that there are three key aspects to food that help with weight loss overall.
First, is to obviously replace unhealthy saturated fats with healthy fats which are known for helping the body to change from storing fat, to using it for energy instead, which in turn means weight loss. You can get it either from grass fed beef, vegetables, or both if you prefer, I went with a combination myself.
Second, was to get metabolism boosting foods and ingredients into my diet which could help me burn fat even when I wasn’t actively trying to do so during exercise.
Third, was to make sure I was getting fiber in each one of my meals and snacks. Because while I inheritly knew fiber was important for weight loss and health in general, a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have shown that an effective way to target the visceral fat that specifcally is around your tummy is to get plenty of soluble fiber in every meal from fruits, veggies, and legumes while engaging in at least moderate physical activity (that’s a given).
Ditch the soda, and even juice and “health beverages”, just drink purified water, it works!
The other important detail to mention is that you should be drinking mostly purified water, too many people get there calories from liquids, and it is one of the primary causes for the rise in obesity in the western world, particularly the U.S.
1. Foods That Are High In Unsaturdated fats
Dig Into Some Avocados – This is a no brainer but this has become a real staple in my household because we can use it to make guacamole. But it also is great for use in a green smoothie which is a fruit smoothie with added veggies. The humble avocado is 75% monounsaturated fat, so this one is a winner hands down. It also happens to be a fantastic source of potassium, vitamins E and K, and fiber.
Olive oil and Canola Oil – So this is another really well known one like the avocado, not only because it truly is high in monounsaturated fat, but it also is easy for most people to buy and use in there day to day cooking. Exotic foods are all well and good, but they won’t have the same effect as the stuff we use daily. This stuff even has about 10-12% of it’s fat content as Omega 3′s which are known for lower cholesterol, awesome right? I like to use it fresh on my salads and pasta.
Nuts Are Nutritional Powerhouses – Yep you know them, I know them, we all do. But did you know that they can also help you shed the pounds? You bet! Now people tend to avoid nuts in general out of a fear that they are too high in calories and therefor need to be avoided most of the time, well this is faulty thinking. While you do need to eat them, like most foods in moderation, they can provide a convenient source of protein and fiber, and monounsaturated fats “on the go” for snacking at any time.
Macadamia nuts contain the highest amount of monounsaturated fats at around 80% of total fat content. If that’s a bit too rich for your wallet, you can go with almonds which have a total of 60%-65% monounsaturated fat content. Hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts and cashews also have over 50% as well.
Seeds, They Aren’t Just For Plantin’ - Like nuts, I have really enjoyed eating seeds because they taste yummy, and are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats too. I wanted to make sure I not only had great sources of unsaturated fats for cooking but for convenient snacking too when I can’t or won’t cook. Some of my favorite seeds that also happen to be great sources of healthy fat are cumin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Like with nuts, eat in moderation as they are high in calories and low in terms of physical bulk!
Fish Are Your Friends – One of the big changes I made in my life while on my journey to better health has been to eat a lot more fatty fish. I was never a big seafood nut, but I eventually grew to enjoy the taste of well prepared fish, especially wild caught salmon. Salmon is known for being particularly high in omega 3 fatty acids, and you need to only have about two normal sized portions twice a week to get your entire weeks worth of omega 3′s. Not only does the high fat content help you feel full, but so does all the protein as well, this prevents you from binge eating. Remember to only eat wild caught salmon, and stay away from any farmed fish, period.
2. Foods and Ingredients Known For Being Metabolism Boosters
Sip Some Green Tea and White Tea - One of the passions that I started to develop later in life was acquiring a taste for green tea, and then later white tea, which is now my current favorite. The health benefits of this wonderful drink are quite numerous and beyond the scope of this article, but needless to say the principle reason this beverage has gained so much attention is for its unique blend of antioxidants with the most potent being EGCG.
I have learned that this compound is actually a stimulant for our nervous system, particularly the brain. It turns out that when your brain is more active in general, it “tells” the body to burn more calories, which is even more effective when paired with caffeine which is naturally occurring in tea. White tea is known for having even higher levels of EGCG and less caffeine, plus it lacks the grassy aftertaste, hence why it’s my favorite.
Scoop On Some Grapefruit – Ever heard of the “grapefruit diet”? OK, so I don’t advise you eat and drink mostly grapefruit and grapefruit juice, however there is some truth as to why this ever became diet fad to being with. In a study conducted by Dr. Ken Fujioka, in the Scripps Clinic “Grapefruit Diet” study, it was found that 100 men and women who ate just a half grapefruit with each meal lost an additional 3.6 pounds on average. It is my understanding that grapefruit contains enzymes that essentially help to lower insulin which in turn means the body puts on less weight. I love grapefruit and try to have it for breakfast or as a snack whenever I can.
Jalapeno, Chili Peppers, Cayenne Pepper - Other then being a band a I really enjoy, red hot chili peppers, along with types of peppers like jalapeno and cayenne pepper, have a unique ability among foods that we can eat to turn on the heat, literally, in our bodies. This is done principally through a process called thermogenesis, often seen in hibernating animals, which is of course how they stay warm through winter.
Capsaicin is the chemical that does this, and also gives these peppers there hot kick. When your body is is going through this process, your temperature rises and your metabolism boosts into high gear. You need to eat a fair amount of this chemical to get this effect however, but people have reported benefiting from it in more reasonable doses. I know for me personally, if at the very least it gives me the kick in the butt I need to be more active.
An Apple A Day Keeps The Fat Away – So this may seem a bit out of left field, as the humble apple is so ubiquitous that many people don’t think it offers the kind of health benefits that something more exotic might, but they would be wrong. In my experience the healthy food that you have easy access to and can take on the go with you anywhere is the food that will help you the most, it did for me.
I would mix it up with green and red apples and have them before each meal. I did this because I ran across a study from the State University of Rio de Janeiro that concluded that women who ate at least 3 apples or pears a day lost more weight then the ones who did not due to the boost in metabolism. This is such an easy thing to do, and is a fantastic place for folks who are just starting to make the changes in there lives they need to!
Drink More *cold* Purified Water – So I saved one of the most important and effective metabolism boosters for last, water! Yes, that’s right folks, good ol’ fashioned H20. Particularly cold water, because one of the neat facts I discovered while researching this topics was that while it requires little effort for the body to breakdown water and get it to the places it needs to, when you drink really cold water, it takes calories to break it down, as it has to warm the water up first.
Now the actual amount of calories it takes to do this for one normal sized glass is minimal, but over time it can really add up and your metabolism will be higher as a result, I found this to be the case myself when I drank a few liters of ice cold water throughout the day. Plus it also meant I wasn’t overeating or “drinking my calories” which is a real problem these days, so its a win-win.
3. High Fiber Foods
Snack On Some Raspberries – I love these things, and frankly most types of berries. They are one of the best bang for your buck nutritional all-stars that we can eat next to nuts. Raspberries in particular are known for being particularly high in fiber with about 8grams of dietary fiber per cup (which isn’t that many raspberries really). That’s about 1/3 of your total daily requirements for fiber, which in my opinion should be much higher then what the USDA recommends. They also happen to be pretty low in calories and the sugar content effectively satisfies my sweet tooth whenever I have a craving.
Munch On Some Organic Fortified Cereal - This may seem like a no-brainer, but you have to be careful about what cereals you buy. I only buy organic, and generally not the ones that are laden with sugar and meant to emulate there non organic cousins. That means no “peanut butter balls” or “cocoa rice crips” etc, only the low sodium, lower sugar, and high fiber cereals. Thankfully, they don’t all have to taste like cardboard. One of my personal favorites is “Golden Flax Cereal” from trader joes, which is affordable, has healthy Omega 3 fats in it, lots of fiber per serving, and actually tastes like a cereal you would want to eat!
Cook Up Some Beans – I admit it, I was never a big fan of beans, but when you prepare them correctly, they can be more then tolerable, and even delicious, provided you are not pouring lots of non organic gmo filled gunk into the pot. My top 3 for fiber are azuki beans which have nearly 17 grams of fiber per cup and lima beans which have about 13 grams per cup, not bad at all!
Grab Some Dried Figs – Now whenever I think of figs, I always think of the classic fig newtons but I had never actually tried the fruit untill recently and I absolutely loved it! But getting fresh figs can be difficult at all times of the year in certain parts of the U.S. and other parts of the world, so I opt for dried figs instead when I can’t have them fresh. Just 1 cup of dried figs gives you about 15 grams of fiber which is about 40% of your minimal daily fiber intake needs.
Grub On Some Yummy Prunes – This stuff isn’t just for your granny anymore! While I generally am not nutty about bottled prune juice, or any bottled juice for that matter, I do like to enjoy fresh prunes whenever I can, although you can opt for the dried ones as well, preferably ones that are organic and not laced with sugar and sulfur. 1 cup of fresh prunes will net you about 12 grams of fiber, not too shabby considering that’s only a small handful of fruit.
Have any other suggestions? Let me know! Leave a comment on here or my Facebook page!