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Best Meal Plans to Lose Belly Fat in Nigeria
If you’re trying to lose belly fat, not only are you going to need to exercise, but you’re also going to need to diet.
The diet part may sound scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
We’ll go over how many calories you should eat and give you some examples of how the average Nigerian woman can maintain her weight by eating healthy meals, rather than going hungry or filling up on junk food.
We’ll also look at the different kinds of body fat, what they mean and how to get rid of them.
Belly Fat and Visceral Fat
Belly fat and visceral fat are types of fat that are more dangerous than the more commonly known subcutaneous fat.
Subcutaneous fat lies directly below the skin and can be measured using skinfold calipers or by simply pinching an area of your body to see if it feels loose or squishy (not recommended).
Belly fat and visceral fat, on the other hand, are stored in the abdominal cavity surrounding your internal organs and making them much more dangerous than subcutaneous fat alone.
The Difference Between Abdominal Fat and Visceral Fat
Abdominal fat is any excess fat that collects around your waistline, while visceral fat is often referred to as belly fat. This type of obesity causes you to store too much visceral fat around your organs, which can be dangerous.
These types of fat are worse than subcutaneous fat, the kind under your skin that you can pinch with your fingers because it’s embedded deep in your tissue and surrounding vital organs, like your liver, pancreas, heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Research shows that people who have a lot of abdominal fat are at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. Losing weight will help reduce your risk for these conditions. But don’t think that spot-reducing belly fat will do much good:
Experts say exercise alone won’t make you lose weight from one area of your body, but overall physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces your overall body fat percentage. To get rid of unhealthy fat, try an aerobic exercise program like running or swimming.
The Dangers of Excess Abdominal Fat
Excess belly fat is particularly bad because it surrounds our vital organs, such as our hearts, livers, and kidneys. This type of fat tends to grow faster than other types of fat.
It’s also more active metabolically than subcutaneous fat which is located just under your skin. Unlike visceral fat, subcutaneous belly fat may be reduced with a regular exercise program alone.
If you have excess abdominal fat around your midsection, you’re at greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer
That’s why it’s so important to know how to lose belly fat. Read on for more information about visceral fat, as well as tips for losing belly fat and reducing your risk of disease.
6 Ways to Lose Excess Belly Fat
Belly fat is a huge health risk, and unfortunately, it’s one that many people don’t understand. To make matters worse, belly fat isn’t even all that visible! That means you might be gaining dangerous levels of belly fat while not even knowing it. Here are six ways to lose belly fat.
1) Increase your protein intake
2) Limit your carb intake
3) Exercise regularly
4) Eat breakfast every day
5) Drink plenty of water
6) Cut out added sugars
You can follow these tips on their own or in combination with each other but if you want to get rid of unhealthy belly fat, try following them all for at least two weeks.
Reduce your sugar intake
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to reduce belly fat is that they don’t reduce their sugar intake.
Simple sugars, in particular sucrose (table sugar), found in soft drinks, sweets, pastries, etc., are not only highly addictive but can also contribute to weight gain by raising insulin levels. In some cases, eating too much sucrose can be fatal to our health.
Increase your protein intake
Consuming more protein is a tried-and-true way to boost metabolism. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, after increasing their protein intake by 25 percent, men burned 17 percent more calories at rest compared to when they were eating lower-protein diets.
Burning an additional 100 calories per day may not sound like much, but over time it can add up.
Exercise more often, with added intensity
Exercise is a great way to get rid of too much belly fat and help reduce weight gain, but it’s not enough on its own.
When combined with healthy diets, and good eating habits, exercise helps get rid of unhealthy fat and boost metabolism. There are many cardiovascular exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine that will help you burn calories.
Try including an exercise activity like running or swimming every day along with your routine. You can also try adding strength training exercises (like lifting weights) and abdominal exercises to your routine to help strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Drink more water daily
If you’re not drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, it’s time to start. Water fills you up, helps your body flush out waste, keeps your skin glowing, and lubricates your joints.
To help ensure that you’re getting enough fluid each day, buy a reusable water bottle or a glass tumbler that you can fill with tap water. Make sure that if you add lemon or lime to your drink, it counts as one of your daily glasses.
Avoid alcohol consumption
It may seem contradictory, but research shows that drinking alcohol in moderation can help you lose weight.
One study revealed that consuming alcohol, especially wine, was linked to lower levels of fat (the dangerous kind) along with higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Remember to consume alcohol in moderation so that you don’t undo any progress made!
Reduce Carbs Intake
Eating crabs is proven to increase your belly fat, but not just because they’re high in cholesterol. The reason is that crab meat contains a type of sugar called alanine which turns into glucose (sugar) once it hits your bloodstream.
Too much sugar in your system at once can lead to insulin resistance, which signals your body to store more fat around your waistline as visceral fat. An easy way to cut back on crabs intake is by going for crab substitutes like salmon or scallops instead.
8 ways to get a flat stomach
Many people with excess body weight carry fat around their midsection. This fat is a risk factor for many different health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Fat around the belly can be challenging to lose. Even with diet and exercise, it can often be the last part of the body to slim down.
However, there are many methods that a person can use to both reduce overall fat and tone the abdomen.
Techniques that may help people get a flat stomach include:
1. Add cardio
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercises are an excellent way for a person to burn calories and improve their heart health.
Many cardio exercises are effective in trimming and strengthening a person’s midsection. Some examples include running, walking, and swimming.
ResearchTrusted Source has shown that moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise can reduce fat in overweight people, even without a reduction in calorie intake.
2. Eat more fiber
Fiber can help make a person feel fuller for longer, which can reduce the amount of food that they eat during and between meals.
Fiber also keeps the digestive system functioning. A healthy digestive system can reduce bloating and keep the stomach looking slim.
3. Limit refined carbs
Carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body, but not all carbs are equally healthful. The body transforms certain carbs, such as white bread and white pasta, into glucose. When a person consumes more glucose than is necessary, the body stores the excess as fat.
A person looking to reduce the amount of fat around their midsection should limit their consumption of refined carbs.
As carbs are essential for energy, people should still eat healthful, whole-grain varieties.
4. Increase protein intake
Protein offers the body building blocks to repair and grow muscle, and it also helps a person feel fuller for longer.
A small 2012 studyTrusted Source found that people who consumed high-quality proteins, such as milk, eggs, and beef, had a lower percentage of abdominal fat.
5. Do exercises while standing, not sitting
People should opt to stand when lifting weights or doing resistance training. Standing while performing certain movements, such as bicep curls, can help a person engage their core as they lift.
This engagement can help strengthen the core muscles and trim the stomach area.
6. Add resistance training
Doing resistance training can help ensure that a person who is cutting calories does not lose muscle mass. Developing muscle mass can also help the body burn more calories while at rest.
Common types of resistance training include weightlifting and doing exercises that use body weight, such as squats and lunges.
People can do resistance training by itself or in conjunction with cardio. The results of a studyTrusted Source in obese adolescents suggest that combining both resistance and cardio training is an effective way to reduce body fat.
7. Eat more monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids, which people often refer to as “good fats,” are present in fats that are liquid at room temperature.
Healthful sources of monounsaturated fatty acids include:
- olive oil
- sesame oil
- peanut butter with no added sugar
A 2016 systematic review found that diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids could help reduce body weight.
8. Move more
People looking to lose belly fat can try adding in extra movement and activity throughout the day, especially if they generally spend most of the day sitting at work or school.
Examples of small activities that add up throughout the day include:
- taking the stairs
- using a standing desk
- stretching throughout the day
One studyTrusted Source even suggested that adding this extra movement could help a person burn up to 2,000 additional calories a day, depending on their body weight and activity level.
What Is the Flat Belly Diet?
At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your health care provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.
The Flat Belly Diet is an eating plan that claims you can lose 15 pounds in 32 days by following a food program centered on healthy monounsaturated fats. Those interested in trying the eating plan can buy the original “Flat Belly Diet” book, the pocket guide, or any of the accompanying Flat Belly cookbooks to learn the program.
The Flat Belly Diet was developed by Liz Vaccariello, the former editor-in-chief of Prevention magazine, and Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, a nutrition consultant and wellness expert. The original diet book was published in 2008 when both authors were affiliated with the magazine.
A later edition of the book includes a foreword by David Katz, MD, who at the time was an associate adjunct professor of public health at Yale University School of Medicine. Katz and his colleagues conducted a research study based on the Flat Belly Diet plan. The results of the study are outlined in the foreword.1
Keep in mind that many diet programs include the words “flat belly,” but these weight loss plans are not the same as the Flat Belly Diet. While the Flat Belly Diet is based on sound nutritional advice such as eating plenty of healthy fats, it may overpromise in terms of results. It may also send the wrong message about body image.
What Can You Eat?
The Flat Belly Diet is often compared to the Mediterranean diet and follows many of the same eating guidelines. On the Flat Belly Diet, however, there is a particular focus on monounsaturated fats, also known as MUFAs.
You’ll eat MUFAs at every meal while you’re on the program, so you’ll need to learn about the foods that contain these fatty acids. Foods high in MUFAs include avocados, nuts and seeds, soybeans, some fruits and vegetables, and dark chocolate.
What You Need to Know
The Flat Belly diet lasts 32 days. It includes a four-day jumpstart during which you consume a low-calorie diet of 1,200 calories per day. The jumpstart is designed to reduce bloating, according to the diet’s creators. You will also eat four meals each day, which is a departure for those who are accustomed to eating three meals a day. You should also never go more than four hours without eating.
After the four days, you follow an eating plan that requires you to adhere to three rules:
- Consume 1,600 calories per day by eating four 400-calorie meals
- Include monounsaturated fats at every meal
- Eat every four hours
There are no required foods or products that you need to buy in order to follow the Flat Belly Diet. In order to reduce bloating, especially during the initial phase, people who follow the program are encouraged to consume cooked rather than raw vegetables and to reduce their intake of sodium-rich foods.
The advice to eat regularly throughout the day is consistent with nutritional guidance. Many nutrition experts recommended a “grazing” approach to weight loss or weight maintenance because of the idea that if you avoid severe hunger you would avoid overeating at mealtime. But of course, this rule does not apply to everyone.
How to Eat to Lose Weight
What to Eat
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Some fruits and vegetables
- Dark chocolate
What Not to Eat
- Processed foods
- Refined carbohydrates
- Gassy foods including legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, and peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Salty foods
Avocados, Olives, Plant-Based Oils
Foods like avocados and olives are high in monounsaturated fats. One avocado, for example, provides over 13 grams of monounsaturated fat. A small serving of olives provides about three grams of MUFAs. These savory foods are satiating, which may help you avoid less healthy salty or fatty foods.
Plant-based oils are another good source of healthy fat. One tablespoon of olive oil provides ten grams of monounsaturated fat. Other oils high in monounsaturated fats include canola oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are good sources of MUFAs that are quick and easy to consume. They contain antioxidants to help repair cell damage in the body, may help prevent diabetes, and may even have anti-inflammatory properties.
Soybeans like edamame can be a healthy addition to a meal or a snack on their own. The legume provides both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
Fruits and Vegetables
While the program encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables, there are some caveats that are unique to the diet. For example, since the goal of the diet (especially the first four days) is to reduce belly bloat, people are encouraged to consume less gassy vegetables and to cook them before eating them. Additionally, citrus fruits are to be avoided because they cause gas.
People who are on the diet and need a sweet treat are encouraged to consume dark chocolate. One ounce of the treat provides about 3.6 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Refined Grains and Other Processed Foods
Foods like white bread, cookies, and commercially produced muffins often contain saturated fat and very little or no monounsaturated fat. Refined grains provide less nutrition than whole grains and are likely to be higher in sugar and salt.
Your sodium intake will have a big impact on bloating and water retention throughout the body. For that reason, (and because high sodium intake is not healthy) consumption of salty foods is not advised on the Flat Belly Diet.