25 Best Foods and Drinks for Weight Loss and Belly Fat

by Marixie Ann Obsioma, MT, undergrad MD on April 18, 2021
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Belly fat is not just an eyesore, it severely impacts one’s self-image, confidence, and worst, and it’s harmful to health.

Several scientific studies have pointed towards belly fat as being an indication of increased risks of heart diseases, diabetes, and other complications (1, 2).

However, it’s never too late to get your body back in shape, especially when your local supermarket has plenty of foods for weight loss that burn belly fat.

To help you banish belly fat for good, we’ve compiled the best foods for weight loss that can shrink your gut. And to best help you stay on track with your flat belly goals, here are some of the best these fat burning foods that actually work!

1. Avocados

Avocados are considered to be a good source of monounsaturated fat, specifically oleic acid.

Several studies have linked monounsaturated fat to health benefits like lower levels of bad cholesterol, good blood sugar control, decreased inflammation, and increased insulin sensitivity (3, 4).

Avocados are also high in fiber, which has a strong effect on feelings of fullness. Along with fat, fiber slows the release of food from your stomach (5, 6).

One study showed that people who ate half an avocado at lunch had less desire to eat for up to 5 hours afterward (7).

These properties make avocados a helpful tool when it comes to regulating appetite and weight loss.

Not only do monounsaturated fats in avocados help thwart belly bloat, but they can also help us absorb more carotenoids, which are cancer-fighting compounds present in many fruits and vegetables (8).

2. Persimmons

You’ve seen the exotic fruit in your local Whole Foods’ produce section, but if you haven’t found a good reason to bag it yet, here it is: like cranberries, persimmons contain ursolic acid. But you’ve got to eat the firm, leathery skin to reap the benefits. If you’re not a fan of the texture, try blending the whole fruit into a quick weight-loss smoothie.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries being sweet, tasty, and nutritious are certainly good for your health.

While their cognitive and cardioprotective benefits have been well documented, a new study suggests that that may also help reduce belly fat.

In a study presented at Experimental Biology in 2009, results showed that rats who were given a diet rich in blueberries lost more abdominal fat as compared to those who were on a high-fat diet. There are lower cholesterol levels, enhanced glucose control, and insulin sensitivity, thus decreasing the risk of both diabetes and heart diseases (9).

Another study revealed that blueberries naturally contain anthocyanins. Aside from enhancing heart health, scientists found that mice fed with anthocyanin-enriched high-fat diet for 8 weeks gained less weight as compared to those who were given a high-fat diet without anthocyanins (10).

4. Tart Cherries

We know that tart cherries are a prime pre-bedtime snack thanks to their ability to increase your body’s melatonin levels for better sleep quality. But did you know that the ruby red orbs can also help you shed belly fat? A study in the Journal of Medicinal Foods found that tart cherry intake was associated with reduced abdominal fat. Researchers also found that the fruit can ward off metabolic syndrome, therefore reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

5. Red Grapes

The magic component in grapes, resveratrol, has been shown to increase the breakdown of fat and reduce the metabolic formation of fat in mature fat cells, according to a study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

6. Lemons

One of the most under-appreciated magic fat-burning elixirs is water. The more water you drink, the fuller you will feel, the easier it is to cut back on unnecessary calories. That’s an essential element of weight and fat loss. Use the juice of a lemon for a zingy salad dressing base or squirt the stuff into a glass of water to burn belly fat.

7. Sweet Potatoes

A slow-digesting carb, this tater will keep you full for hours and way less susceptible to that second helping of potato chips. Sweet potatoes’ carotenoids have been shown to correlate with improved weight and fat loss, according to a Nutrition and Diabetes journal study.

8. Dairy Products

Keeping your refrigerator full of cheese, milk, and yogurt can help make it easier to lose fat without cutting back drastically on calories, according to new studies.

Full-fat dairy products are highly recommended because they are loaded with nutrients that will keep you satiated for longer hours, thus helping in weight loss. Also, fatty acids in full-fat dairy products can help regulate weight (11).

Another study revealed that if you compare a dairy-rich diet with a dairy poor diet, the rate of weight and fat loss is doubled even if they both have the same level of calorie restriction (12).

It was also noted that eating 3-4 servings of dairy products daily is even more effective at enhancing weight loss efforts as compared to taking calcium supplements and calcium-fortified foods alone (12).

9. Bananas

People who want to be healthier are often advised to eat more fruits and vegetables. However, some worry that high-sugar fruits like bananas can be fattening. Actually, it’s not!

Bananas are rich in fiber, which is very important in maintaining regular bowel habits and plays a major role in digestive health.

A medium-sized banana can provide 12% of your recommended daily intake, with only 105 calories (13).

Aside from reducing risks of heart diseases, diverticular disease, diabetes, and cancer, adequate fiber intake can help reduce body weight (14, 15).

One study measured the food intake of more than 250 women for 20 months. Results showed that for every extra gram of fiber, their body weight was 0.25 kg lower (16). This is thought to occur because fiber can make one feel full for extended hours, thus reducing calorie intake.

Filling up on high-fiber, low-calorie snacks like bananas can help with weight loss and maintenance.

10. Almonds

Adding almonds to your meals can help you get a flat stomach and keep your body fat percentage low. Though they are not a low-calorie food, they can offer you several health benefits.

One study found that people who ate 60 grams of almonds daily had lower body fat as compared to those who consumed less or no almonds (17).

Another study also mentioned that almonds may help in weight loss and reduce abdominal fat (18).

One review mentioned that nuts can help energy expenditure and enhance weight loss when taken in moderation. Also, the calories in nuts are not well absorbed by the body (19).

They also contain monounsaturated fats, which curb cravings because they are rich in vegetable fiber and protein (20).

11. Macadamia Nuts

Most of the fat in macadamia nuts is monounsaturated; research from Reina Sofia University Hospital reveals that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts. What’s more, folks also improved their insulin sensitivity. It might be tempting to grab that white chocolate macadamia nut cookie now, but snacking on the filling nuts on their own will help you reach your flat-belly goals way faster.

12. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds and sunbutter are two great belly-busters. The type of fat in the seeds have been shown to reduce abdominal fat in women with no other change in diet. Sunflower seeds make an ideal portable snack, but if you’re opting for sunbutter, make sure to pair it with Ezekiel sprouted bread for extra slimming effects.

13. Cinnamon and Honey

When it comes to weight loss, many long for a quick fix. One of the most popular weight-loss trends today is cinnamon and honey.

People often mix this combo in their tea, eat them straight, or use as toppings for cereals and other food products.

Cinnamon is very aromatic and flavorful and several medicinal properties are associated with it. It is also rich in anti-oxidants. Honey, on the other hand, have many healthful properties too! It’s an anti-microbial agent effective in treating infections, including burns. It can also be used as a cough suppressant.

Studies about the pound-shedding properties of cinnamon and honey are promising.

One recent study found that cinnamaldehyde can activate thermogenesis. This will help your body create heat and burn calories (21).

Other studies revealed that replacing sucrose with honey can help prevent weight gain. Honey also activates hormones that can help suppress appetite (22, 23).

14. Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon is very healthy and satisfying. It can keep you full for many hours with relatively low calories. It is loaded with protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients.

Fish and seafood, in general, may also give a significant amount of iodine, which is very important not only for proper thyroid function but also to keep your metabolism running smoothly (24).

Salmon is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation. This plays an important role in metabolic diseases and obesity (25, 26).

15. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is popular in the natural health community. For sure, you have used this at least once for your dressings or vinaigrettes.

Many human-based studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can also be helpful for weight loss. Taking it together with a high-carb meal can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat approximately 240 fewer calories for the rest of the day (27, 28).

Another study involving obese patients showed that 15 or 30 ml of vinegar per day can cause a reduction of approximately 1.2-1.7 kilograms within a span of 12 weeks (29). Vinegar also helps reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, which can be healthy in the long run (30, 31).

16. Grapefruit

Another fruit that deserves to be highlighted when it comes to weight loss is grapefruit. Its effects on weight reduction and control have been studied directly.

One study involving 91 obese patients who were given half of a fresh grapefruit before meals lost 3.5 pounds within a time-frame of 12 weeks (32).

Patients also had reduced insulin resistance, which is a metabolic abnormality seen in several chronic diseases.

Eating half a grapefruit at least 30 minutes before your meal can help you feel more satiated and eat fewer calories.

17. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods available these days. It contains 12 grams of carbohydrates per ounce, which is relatively high, but 11 of these are fiber. This makes it a low-carb-friendly food and one of the best sources of fiber (33).

Due to its high fiber content, it is capable of absorbing up to 12 times their weight in water, turning into a gel-like substance in your stomach (34).

It can help reduce appetite, hence can be a useful part of your weight loss journey (35).

18. Whole Grains

Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice are loaded with fiber and has a decent amount of protein.

Oats with soluble fibers known as beta-glucans have been shown to increase satiety and enhance metabolic health (36, 37).

Both white and brown rice also contain significant amounts of resistant starch (38). The body burns them slowly for long-lasting energy.

Other researchers say that whole grains can keep your insulin levels low and that they can help shrink fat cells (20).

19. Black Beans

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every additional 10 grams of soluble fiber eaten per day, participants’ belly fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. Black beans are one of the richest sources of soluble fiber, containing 4.8 grams per cup. Luckily, they’re super easy to add to your diet in the form of chilis, omelet mix-ins, and soups!

20. Kimchi

This spicy pickled cabbage can jazz up your mundane salads as well as it can combat fat. Researchers at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, found that the probiotics found in kimchi, namely Lactobacillus brevis, suppressed weight gain caused by a high-fat diet by a whopping 28 percent! Similarly, sauerkraut, pickles, and brined olives pack in these waist-whittling effects.

21. Bell Peppers

If you constantly find yourself a victim of stress, don’t expect to fry the flab off your waistline. Why? Stress produces the hormone cortisol, which encourages the belly to store fat. But there’s an easy way to combat it! Vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers have the fat-fighting ability to reduce your stress levels and keep your bod in tip-top shape.

22. Beets

Beets get their glorious hue from anthocyanins, powerful water-soluble plant pigments that can also trim your muffin top. Rather than caving to your sweet tooth with a Snickers bar, try slicing beets and drizzling with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt before popping them into the oven. High heat helps to caramelize the beets’ natural sugars, resulting in a root veggie that’s more like Mother Nature’s dessert!

24. Broccoli Sprouts

You’ve learned to love the mini trees and even added them to your weekly menu. But have you heard of their sprouted counterparts? Broccoli sprouts have been linked to cholesterol-lowering effect and have been shown to potentially reduce fat storage, a Kanazawa University study found.

24. Green Tea

Green tea leaves contain several beneficial compounds. One of them is caffeine. As a stimulant, it has been found to be helpful in burning fat (39).

Green tea is loaded with potent anti-oxidants known as catechins (40). The most important of which is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can inhibit an enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, a fat-burning hormone (41).

Three cups of green tea daily can rev up your metabolism and burn 30 calories (20).

25. Red Wine

Who knew that your dinner buddy was so good at frying fat cells? But not just any ol’ wine will do the trick. You have to pop open the right vino. Malbec, Petite Sirah, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir all have the highest content of slimming resveratrol.

Key Takeaway

There are several healthy foods to include in your diet to help burn your belly fats fast.

These are mainly whole foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Other processed foods like yogurt and other dairy products are excellent choices too.

Along with moderation and proper exercise, eating these nutritious foods should pave your way to success, a sexier body, and healthier life.

References:

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751711

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17667865

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25045347

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17545695

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16537685

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24901089

(7) https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-12-155

(8) https://fic.osu.edu/news/news-archive/fresh-avocado-enhances-absorption-of-essential-nutrients-for-healthy-living.html

(9) https://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20090419/blueberries-may-banish-belly-fat

(10) https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-scoop-on-anthocyanins-89522

(11) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/full-fat-dairy-may-reduce-obesity-risk/

(12) https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20040416/dairy-foods-fat-weight-loss#1

(13) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bananas-and-weight#section2

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23885994

(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26021487

(16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19158230

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20580779

(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20199999

(20) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/eight-delicious-foods-that-help-fight-belly-fat/

(21) https://www.metabolismjournal.com/article/S0026-0495(17)30212-3/fulltext

(22) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027153171000254X?via%3Dihub

(23) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2010.10719885

(24) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074887/

(25) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21633179

(26) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20500789

(27) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16321601

(28) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16015276

(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687

(30) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14694010

(31) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7796781

(32) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16579728

(33) http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

(34) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643808001345

(35) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20087375

(36) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19753601

(37) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2663451/

(38) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22413036

(39) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14684395

(40) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2006.10719518#.U2tMX_l_t8E

(41) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12695345

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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