When it comes to body fat, some fats are more harmful to your health than others. Abdominal fat or belly fat is particularly dangerous. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancer. How do you know if your waistline falls into the danger zone? Health Canada says a waist circumference at or above 88 cm (35 inches) for women or 102 cm (40 inches) for men is a red flag. Minimize your risk by exercising regularly and limiting your intake of unhealthy fats, refined grains and sugar. Don’t smoke. In addition, the following five foods, when eaten regularly, may also reduce your risk:
1. 100% Whole Grains (including whole grain pasta, bread or cereal)
Research from Tufts University in Boston involving almost 3,000 men and women found that those who consumed three or more servings of whole grains each day had 10 percent less belly fat compared to those who consumed no whole grains.
2. High Fibre
A study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fibre eaten per day, abdominal fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. Add moderate activity into the mix, and the result was a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate of belly fat accumulation over the same period. Good food sources of soluble fibre include apples, citrus fruits, peas, beans, lentils, psyllium, oats, chia and flaxseeds.
3. Healthy fats
In research from University College Dublin School of Public Health in Ireland involving more than 1,700 men and women, diets high in unhealthy saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fats, were linked to a significantly higher risk of abdominal fat. Limit unhealthy fats by consuming low fat milk products and lean meat. Read food labels and look for products that contain no more than two grams of saturated fat per serving and no trans fats. Enjoy healthy fats found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and fatty fish.
Flavonoids are potent antioxidants found in colourful fruits and vegetables, including berries, cherries, citrus fruits, plums, grapes, apples, red onions and dark leafy greens. They fight inflammation and preliminary research conducted mostly on animals shows they could reduce belly fat too. The best way to get plenty of flavonoids is to consume at least 7 to 10 servings of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables daily.
5. Pepper-based plant compounds
Like flavonoids, early research shows that plant compounds from peppers may help bust belly fat. Found in any pepper-derived food, including crushed red pepper flakes, hot peppers, jalapeño peppers, chili peppers and black pepper, these compounds should be used liberally in daily cooking and recipes.
To reduce your risk of belly fat, try this soup.
This soup gives new meaning to the word delicious and it’s good for your waistline too! It contains 100% whole grain pasta, soluble fibre (black beans), healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil), flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables (red onion, red peppers, spinach, dried cranberries) and hot peppers (jalapeño peppers, chili powder). Enjoy!
These great tips to help you lose the belly fat are brought to you by WholeGrainPasta.ca!
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