May is almost upon us and you know what that means - summer will be here before you know it. Is your belly ready for swimsuit season? Never fear, there is still time and we can start from the inside out with which foods to eat and which ones to avoid. For example, did you know there are good and bad fats for your belly? As seen on the Dr. Oz Show, learn which ones you should avoid and other food tips to beat belly fat!
- Eat Chocolate!
Dark chocolate, that is. Any chocolate that has 70% or more is chock full of flavonoids and monounsaturated fats that burn fat faster and will flatten your stomach. This does not mean you can eat bars upon bars of dark chocolate and expect your belly to shrink - a serving size is 1.6 oz. Not only is dark chocolate good for busting belly fat, according to a study from University of California, San Francisco, it is also good for your heart.
- Stay Away From Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are typically bad for your body and your belly, increasing cholesterol and upping your chances of heart disease. These naturally occur in cheese, lard, fatty meats and dairy. Replace with leaner cuts of meat or if you must have cheese, severely cutting down your intake and frequency. Or switch to shredded and more flavorful, such as Parmesan or Romano cheeses, so you need less.
- Trans Fats Are The Enemy
We all know trans fats are bad - it seems like every product in the grocery store now touts "No Trans Fats." They were traditionally used as a preservative to give food, for example, margarine, a longer shelf life but they are extremely bad for your body: raising bad cholesterol and increasing inflammation, as well as sabotaging your flatter belly plans.
- Bring On The Dip
Spring and summer are great times to eat dips but some are better for you than others. Monounsaturated fats in guacamole make it an ideal choice over other dips such as queso, which is loaded with saturated (bad) fats. Avoid salsa, which is heavy in salt and may cause bloating and stick with the pico de gallo instead.
- Wine Does Not Help Flatten Your Belly
Sad but true, wine does not help with weight loss but there are great anti-aging benefits that make this a better alcoholic beverage of choice. But wine does contain sugar, which does not help you burn off calories and it lowers testosterone, which could affect how your develop muscle.
- Hands Off My MUFAs!
Just kidding, we'll share our monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) - these pack a mean punch to belly fat and reduce inflammation. Typically found in pine nuts, olive oil and peanuts, MUFAs also lower cholesterol and risk of heart attack.
- Stay Cool With Frozen Grapes
Although Popsicles seem like they should be better for your belly fat than ice cream, they are typically made with high-fructose corn syrup and tons of sugar. Try making your own Popsicles with molds and any fruit of your choice or freezing grapes for a refreshing treat!
- Be Nutty
Nuts, in general, are high in MUFAs and are great snack options throughout the day. Walnuts, almonds, cashews - all in moderation, these are great nuts to help shrink your belly.
- Vitamin C Is Your Friend
We all know vitamin C is integral when you have a cold but it is also excellent at helping stimulate the amino acid that helps the body process and burn fat quicker. Paired with exercise, vitamin C kicks belly fat's butt - so fill up your diet with vitamin C rich foods such as red peppers, broccoli or sweet potatoes. Or let's not forget the obvious - drink that glass of orange juice and get 100% of your suggested daily dose!
Ok, so this last one is not a food tip but it is important to pair your good food choices with regular exercise. Once you get rid of the belly fat, the muscle underneath will be better defined.
Everything in moderation is key - these tips are meant to help you trim down your waistline but portion size is just as important to keep in mind. You'll be swimsuit ready in no time!