Try these ab-flattening foods to boost your abs routine’s effectiveness, control belly bloat, and maintain a healthy metabolism.
1. Soy:Soybeans are rich in antioxidants, fiber and protein. Besides thevery high protein content (36.5 g per 100 g or 3.5 oz), soybeans contain a lot of fiber and are rich in calcium and magnesium. When used as a substitute for meat, which it does well because of its protein profile, a serving of soybeans can save you fat, especially saturated fat. Snack on dry-roasted soybeans, toss shelled edamame into soups, and slip a spoonful of silken tofu into your morning smoothie. Liquid soy also makes a good meal replacement: A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that overweight subjects who drank a soy milk-based meal replacement lost more weight than those who consumed a traditional dairy-based diet drink.
2. Salmon:Salmon is a protein source that also provides a good dose of healthy omega-3 fatty acids (this type of fat helps make your metabolism more efficient, according to “Fitness” magazine). Salmon may help boost your metabolism and keep you feeling full. An Australian study showed that overweight people who ate fish daily improved their glucose-insulin response. Translated, this means that seafood may help slow digestion and prevent cravings. If that doesn’t hook you, consider this: Seafood is an excellent source of abs-friendly protein. Eat about 4 oz. of salmon, twice a week, recommends “Fitness” magazine. If you don’t like fish, another option for getting omega-3 fatty acid is eating flaxseed and walnuts. Several recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract.
3. Quinoa:Pronounced KEEN-wah, this whole grain contains 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per half cup. Penn State researchers found that dieters who ate whole-grains lost twice as much belly fat as those who stuck to white-flour products—even though they’d consumed the same number of calories. Quinoa’s nutty flavor and crunchy-yet-chewy texture are like a cross between whole wheat couscous and short-grain brown rice. Quinoa is gluten-free, easy to prepare and extremely versatile. You can use quinoa anywhere you’d typically use rice. It’s great used in casseroles and stir fry, mixed with beans, or simply topped with tofu and vegetables. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” It has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with “high nutritive value,” and impressive biodiversity.
4. Avocado:Blood sugar spikes signal your body to store fat around your midsection, while monounsaturated fats, found heavily in avocados, stop this. Salty food, like potato chips and fast foods, may cause bloating of your tummy, because your body will retain water in your midsection and accumulate it outside of cells. Avocado contains potassium, which helps bring the water back into the cells. Dieters who consumed monounsaturated fats lost more stomach bulge than those eating the same number of calories but less of the fats, a study in the journal Diabetes Care finds. And a study in the journal Obesity reveals that when monkeys ate trans fats, their waists were 30 percent bigger than those of simians eating monounsaturated fats.
5. Blueberries:Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants and fiber, plus, they also help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthier digestive tract. They’re a low GI (glycaemic index) food, which means they keep your blood-sugar (and energy) levels nice and steady. A 2009 study at the University of Michigan fed rats a blueberry-enriched powder for 90 days. After the 90 days, the rats who received the powder, which accounted for 2 percent of their diet, had less abdominal fat and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, which measures how your body uses glucose for energy. The more fiber you eat — experts say that it’s best to get between 25 and 35 grams every day — the fewer calories you absorb from all the other stuff you put in your mouth. That’s because fiber traps food particles and shuttles them out of your system before they’re fully digested.
6. Eggs:Eggs are a perfect protein source. They contain a perfect balance of essential amino acids which are protein building blocks responsible for building everything in your body – from muscle fibers to brain chemicals. In a randomized controlled trial, 160 overweight or obese men and women were divided into 2 groups, one of which ate a breakfast including 2 eggs, while the other consumed a bagel breakfast supplying the same amount of calories and weight mass (an important control factor in satiety and weight loss studies). Participants ate their assigned breakfast at least 5 days a week for 8 weeks as part of a low-fat diet with a 1,000 calorie deficit. Compared to those on the bagel breakfast, egg eaters had an 83% greater decrease in waist circumference.
7. Yogurt:A study published by International Journal of Obesity suggests that people who get their calcium mostly from yogurts lose more weight around their midsection. The probiotic bacteria found in yogurts keep your digestive system healthy, which translates to less bloating and constipation, which in turn makes you belly flatter. Eat 18 ounces a day and you can drop a jeans size. People who ate that much — in conjunction with cutting their total calories — lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than dieters who skipped the snack, according to research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
8. Almonds:Almonds are a true super-food. They build muscle, reduce cravings, and fight obesity. Start your mornings with a handful of small almonds (at least 6). They will help your body to burn fat and help you on your way to a flat stomach. These delicious and versatile nuts contain filling protein and fiber, not to mention vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of magnesium, a mineral your body must have in order to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, and regulate blood sugar. “A stable blood-sugar level helps prevent cravings that can lead to overeating and weight gain,” says David Katz, MD, a professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.
9. Spinach:Spinach is a great source of vitamins and minerals (calcium, beta-carotene, vitamin C and magnesium) and with only 7 calories per cup it is a very low-calorie food. Calcium is known to help muscles to contact so it’s a great pre-workout food. You could eat a whole bag and mot even put a dent in your daily calories. So put it in whatever. Omelets, salads, smoothies, wraps, if you can put spinach in it (and not have it be disgusting) do it.
10. Water:Water is actually not a food; however, it is very important to drink lots of water. It will help your body to increase its metabolism and it will reduce your daily caloric intake. By drinking eight cups of chilled water per day your body will spend 70 calories more than it would otherwise. Also, by drinking water instead of high-sugar drinks, you will cut hundreds of extra calories per day!
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