Men's Health
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Black Beans

9 Foods That Help Fight Belly Fat

Keep your middle trim by adding these foods to your diet.

1 / 11 Black Beans

All legumes are full of protein and fiber -- two well-known appetite crushers. And thanks to their dark color, black beans are also one of the highest in flavonoids of all the beans. And research shows that flavonoids may thwart the storage of excess tummy fat.

Pears

2 / 11 Pears

Fresh pears are so low in calories and high in fiber, you could eat one before every meal and still lose weight. But even better, pears are loaded with catechins and flavonols -- two antioxidants that appeared to hinder the storage of belly fat in a 14-year study. (Related: Here's more on how antioxidants help banish belly bulge.)

Popcorn

3 / 11 Popcorn

Go ahead. Pop up a bowl. Sans the butter and salt, popcorn is a real gut whittler. Why? Because popcorn is a whole grain -- and a study revealed that people who ate lots of whole grains had smaller middles compared with folks who ate mostly refined grains. So while you're waiting for yours to pop, clear all the white rice, pasta, and bread out of your cupboards. (Related: Give your popcorn some low-guilt flavor with these tips.)

Cold Potatoes

4 / 11 Cold Potatoes

Hate having to pass on the potatoes for the sake of your pants size? Well, you may not have to. Just eat them cold -- as in vinegar potato salad. If you chill potatoes overnight, they form something called resistant starch crystals -- a constituent of fiber that triggers the production of two hunger-halting hormones, according to research. And resistant starch helps the body incinerate more fat for fuel while making less fat available to stash away in fat cells. (Related: Find out how vinegar potato salads help your blood sugar, too.)

Peanuts

5 / 11 Peanuts

Hard to believe that rich-tasting, calorie-packed peanuts could help you lose weight. But they just might. Seems the healthy fats in peanuts are burned more readily than the less-healthy fats found in cookies, chips, and creamy desserts. So make them your snack of choice. (Related: Supercharge the nutrition in your peanuts with this trick.) 

Sunflower Seeds

6 / 11 Sunflower Seeds

Toss 'em into soups and salads, mix them into yogurt, or sprinkle them onto sandwiches for nutty crunch. Plus, sunflower seeds (unsalted, please) are high in monounsaturated fat -- a healthful type of fat that appeared to inhibit waist widening in a study of overweight people.

Tea

7 / 11 Tea

Seems the white version of this brew may be a veritable fat blaster. When human fat cells were treated with white tea extract in a lab study, the cells absorbed about 70% less fat than the untreated cells did. And those same tea compounds also triggered the breakdown of fat in existing cells. (Related: Here's another kind of tea that can help whittle your waist.)

Apple Cider Vinegar

8 / 11 Apple Cider Vinegar

As a fish condiment and tang-provider for sauces and salad dressings, nothing beats apple cider vinegar. But here's a big bonus: Apple cider vinegar also has a compound called acetic acid, which turbocharges the body's ability to burn fat and simultaneously hinders fat storage.

Safflower Oil

9 / 11 Safflower Oil

This popular salad dressing ingredient could be a big boon to your belly-flattening efforts, thanks to the omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. It may rev up metabolism. And in a study, just a couple of tablespoons a day appeared to encourage belly fat to take a hike.(Related: Here's more on how this oil helps with weight loss.)

An Active Approach

10 / 11 An Active Approach

Eating foods that seem to target belly fat is just a starter strategy for getting rid of that gut. You'll see better, faster results if you exercise, too. In fact, just being more active in general helps. In one study of office workers, just standing up more often helped melt 1½ inches from people's waists. It doesn't take much -- just a few extra hours a week of exercise may produce results. Learn how 3 extra hours of exercise per week affected belly size in a recent study.

Stress Less

11 / 11 Stress Less

Reducing stress may help with the battle of the bulge, too. Chronic stress boosts your blood levels of cortisol -- the "fight or flight" hormone. And cortisol encourages belly fat in two ways:

  • It triggers cravings for sugary, high-fat comfort foods.
  • It signals the body to store more fat in your abdomen.

Find out how meditating for just 7 minutes a day can reduce both stress and food cravings.