There are three types of fat in our body: triglycerides (fat circulating in the blood), subcutaneous (the layer of fat directly below the skin surface) and visceral (belly fat). Belly fat, also known as visceral fat is the excess abdominal fat surrounding the organs in our stomach and is considered to be the most harmful form of fat in our body. This kind of fat has been associated with everything such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer etc. The belly fat does not sit idle. It has a negative impact on almost every organ in our body through the production of chemicals and hormones. Belly fat can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender or genetics etc.
There are a number of things which make us gain belly fat
Sugary foods and beverages
Excess sugary stuff include cakes, pastries, cookies and even yogurt. Soda and even milk tea and coffee contain high amounts of sugar. Observations have shown the relationship between high sugar intake and belly fat, largely due to the high fructose content of added sugars, additives and preservatives and even artificial colours.
Alcohol is broken down into sugar inside the body and the excess sugar gets converted into fat. It suppresses fat burning and the excess calories from alcohol are partly stored as belly fat. It also causes dehydration resulting in abnormal metabolism.
Low protein diet
Low proteins causes muscle weakness, and slowing down of body functions. This results in high stress and inflammation, slow metabolism and increased toxicity.
People have become less active and this has increased rates of obesity specifically abdominal obesity and lethargy.
Stress and Cortisol
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and is known as the “stress hormone” as it helps the body to deal with a stressful situation. However this hormone can lead to weight gain when produced in excess, specially in the abdominal region. In many people, stress causes overeating. The cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly.
Not enough sleep
Many studies have linked inadequate sleep with weight gain which may include abdominal fat.
These are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats in order to make them stable. They are found in packaged foods such as muffins, crackers, wafers etc. which may lead to belly fat.
15 Super Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast
Citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, fresh limes, kiwi etc. Are fat burners that boost metabolism due to the acids present in them which cuts down fat. Other fruits also helpful are apples, strawberries, grapes.
Pulses are rich in protein and low in calories and fat. The lean protein in them helps to build muscle mass, speed up metabolism.
Beans and legumes
They are rich in proteins, fibre, vitamins. Consuming them regularly can reduce hunger pangs and prevent overeating.
Vegetables such as spinach, carrot, broccoli etc. are rich in vitamins, minerals, water and fibres. Their calorie content is even lesser than fruits. They can reduce belly fat by preventing over eating, boosting metabolism and reducing junk food cravings.
Though high in calories it is loaded with protein and healthy fats that reduce chances of weight gain. It should be consumed two tablespoons a day.
Olive oil is a light, low calorie oil. It helps in lowering bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. It is weight loss friendly and heart friendly healthy oil.
Having soup before meals helps reduce the number of calories we consume. This prevents accumulation of fats in the belly region. The soup must be homemade, rich in vegetables, chicken or mushroom.
According to research, low levels of Vitamin D are connected to abdominal obesity. Mushrooms have high levels of vitamin D and protein. They have low calories and are high in water.
Fish are a source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. They help in building muscles and the fatty acid increases metabolism and reduces inflammation triggered by stress.
Full fat milk or yogurt must be included in our diet as these are loaded with nutrients which will keep us satiated for a long time therefore leading to weight loss.[i]Slim milk or skimmed milk is devoid of the nutrients and do not reduce hunger pangs.
They are rich in fibre and aid digestion. They curb down hunger, provide body strength for a good workout and reduce fat in the body. The oats chosen should be flavour less as the flavoured ones contain sugar and chemicals.
They are high in vitamin C which is a natural antioxidant that helps to flush out toxins from the body. Having a minimum of 30 grams of raspberries can reduce up to 300 calories.
It is one of the best belly fat burning foods. The nutrients help to flush out toxins from the body, reduce inflammation, increase metabolic rate and improve body immunity. It even prevents from type 2 diabetes.
They contain vitamin C and capsaicin that help increase metabolic rate and burn fat.
Nuts like walnuts, pine nuts etc. Contain healthy fats and protein which keeps us satiated and prevents from snacking on trans fat loaded junk food.
Other than these foods, plenty of exercise, sufficient water and a balanced diet full of proteins, fibres and carbohydrates will keep the body fit and hydrated and curb down the need to consume junk food. Having ginger tea or green tea is also helpful in reducing belly fat. Coconut oil is also reduces belly fat therefore food cooked in coconut oil is also good to cut down on belly fat. These are some of the best ways to reduce belly fat and lead a healthy happy life. Taking unnecessary, excessive stress also results in irregular lifestyle which also results in irregular diet and even binge eating junk food which will lead to having belly fat. This healthy lifestyle should be maintained throughout one’s life.
[i]Chan, T. H, School of Public Health, Harvard
[ii]American Heart Association