Belly fat. It gets more clicks than the Kardashian crew — sorry, Kris Jenner!
That’s because the older the we get, the more weight we tend to accumulate around our middle. (A slowing metabolism and changing hormone levels are typically to blame.)
Unfortunately, this type of fat isn’t just uncomfortable and unattractive — it settles deep within the skin and around the organs. Known as visceral fat, it wreaks havoc in the body because it affects hormone production and increases inflammation, which, in turn, heightens the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
That’s the bad news. Now, here’s the good news: You can trim belly fat not only by eating less and moving more, but by adding certain foods to your menu, like these slimming selections.
Salmon is loaded with protein (about 37 grams per 5 ounces cooked), which is more satiating than either carbs or fat, so increasing your intake will enable you to feel more satisfied and could help keep a lid on your appetite.
Salmon can specifically help burn belly fat because it’s one of the richest sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is directly involved with producing hormones that regulate appetite. Also, several studies have shown that vitamin D is involved with signaling belly fat cells to burn off.
Try this wild salmon and chickpea salad.
There’s a relationship between people who consume ample amounts of deep-colored veggies (specifically green, yellow and orange) and lower levels of visceral fat, the dangerous fat around your organs, according to a study published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Plus, these veggies were shown to help reduce inflammation.
I specifically chose to focus on broccoli because it’s one of the few veggies that contain calcium, which has been shown to increase fat loss, especially around the abdominal area. Another broccoli bonus: The cruciferous star is one of the highest-volume, lowest-calorie foods around (1 cup is only 25 calories), so you can eat a great big amount and still drop pounds, making it an ideal food for weight loss.
Try this roasted broccoli recipe.
3. Low-fat Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt contains satiating protein (about 20 grams per cup, or 17 grams per single container), which is twice as much as traditional yogurt. It can keep you feeling fuller longer, and help control appetite, which can translate to less belly fat.
Yogurt is also rich in calcium (about 200 mg per cup); two studies have linked calcium to lower levels of abdominal fat. Of course, all the nutrients in food work synergistically, but calcium has been singled out for a few reasons: Experts believe it may help to increase fat burn, reduce fat absorption and slightly rev metabolism. Lastly, yogurt contains probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that help with digestion. And according to a study in Nutrition and Metabolism, probiotics may also help control weight.
Try this cucumber-yogurt dip, and here’s a food remedy with three belly-fat-blasting foods — broccoli, yogurt and onions — in one delicious bowl. (Onions have prebiotics, which can also target abdominal fat.)
For more amazingly tasty food remedies to boost energy, fight bloating, help combat headaches and more, check out Joy's new book, "Joy's Simple Food Remedies: Tasty Cures For Whatever's Ailing You."