Belly fat can be seriously harmful. Studies have shown that belly fat (central adiposity) can increase your risk of a heart attack by 10 to 20 percent. This is even more likely with a larger waist to hip ratio. There is also an increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Although losing fat from this area can be difficult, several lifestyle changes can help to reduce excess abdominal fat. Eat plenty of soluble fibre:
This increases fullness and decreases calorie intake. Every 10g increase in fibre can decrease belly fat by 3.7%. Soluble fibre also acts as a prebiotic and so will increase the growth of healthy flora in you gut. Examples are:
- citrus fruit.
Avoid foods containing Trans fats:
There is a direct relation to increased belly fat with an icreased intake of trans fats. Examples are:
- Baked goods, such as cakes, biscuits and pies.
- Microwave popcorn.
- Fried foods, including french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken.
Avoid drinking excess alcohol
Eat a high protein diet:
Include proteins such as fish, lean meat, beans and eggs in your diet to reduce belly fat.
Fatty fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids which reduces visceral fat (especially liver and abdominal fat) Aim for 2-3 servings per week, or take an omega 3 supplement if that is not possible.
Reduce your stress levels:
Stress triggers release of cortisol which can add to fat gain and insulin resistance. Try stress relieving activities such as yoga or meditation
Avoid sugary foods:
There is an association with high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. Too much daily sugar also leads to “brain fog” and decreased mental clarity and vitality leading to a decreased inclination to do exercise.
Fruit juices are high in concentrated fruit sugar so rather drink water which can be flavoured with lemon or cucumber.
Do Cardio exercise:
This burns calories and improves health. Exercise that increases your heart rate is the most effective form of exercise to decrease belly fat.
Replace refined carbs for healthy carbs:
Health carbs are whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Refined carbs are all your white foods (sugar, white bread, pasta, potatoes, white rice)
Replace cooking fats / oils with coconut oil:
Coconut oil does not degrade with heat and is a healthy alternative. Up to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil daily may help to reduce belly fat.
Get plenty of restful sleep:
Individuals who don’t get enough good quality sleep tend to gain more belly fat.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar:
This contains acetic acid which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat storage. 1 to 2 tablespoons per day is adequate to help increase fat loss.
Try Intermittant Fasting:
This involves fasting for 16 hours per day and eating your meal in the other 8 hour period. For example you can fast from 7pm until 11am the next day. This has been shown to result in a 4-7% abdominal fat loss within 6 to 24 weeks.
Drink Green Tea:
Green Tea contains Catechin which is suggested to be effective in losing belly fat, especially in conjunction with moderate exercise.
Good luck on your health journey – we’d love to hear how you are doing and if these tips have helped you.