Zipping up your jeans with ease sure does help you feel skinny. And eating lots of these could help you keep more of that extra waistband room: beans.
That's because beans -- whether pinto, kidney, or black -- are an excellent source of soluble fiber. And in a recent 5-year study, eating lots of foods rich in this kind of fiber appeared to help fight belly fat.
Whittle Your Middle
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber -- found in nuts and whole grains-- is what keeps your digestive system on track. Soluble fiber -- found in fruit, veggies, and beans -- has long been touted for its cholesterol-lowering and blood-sugar-controlling powers. And now researchers think soluble fiber may have special weight-management benefits, too. In the study, for every 10 grams of soluble fiber a person consumed daily, 3.7 percent less belly fat was gained over time.
Just Grill It
A big belly isn't an issue only during swimsuit season. You want to minimize belly fat for health reasons, too. Because excess belly fat -- also known as visceral fat -- has been linked to an increased risk of lots of different illnesses, from diabetes to heart disease. Scientists aren't exactly sure how fiber cuts down that fat in the middle, but there's no reason to hold off when we already know of so many great health benefits from eating more fiber.