Excess abdominal fat is one of the leading precursors to heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and several types of cancer. It is also uncomfortable and can be challenging to your self-esteem. A little softness around the middle is normal and healthy, but if you are carrying around more than you want it might be time to shift your eating habits.

Ending abdominal obesity requires frequent exercise, adequate rest, and eating the right types of belly fat burning foods. Yes, despite what you might think, you need to eat food to burn fat. Starving ourselves only slows down the metabolism and increases the production of stress hormones, which means any food we do eat is digested more slowly and turned into fat more easily.

The key is to eat the right kinds of foods, in appropriate amounts, at the right time of day. Overeating at any time is not going to help you burn belly fat, but neither is eating a low-fat diet full of processed carbohydrates. These five, belly fat burning foods, when enjoyed in moderation, can help you lose the bulge and feel healthier in your body.

1. High Protein Foods

Eating foods that are high in protein boosts the metabolism. And these foods are digested and absorbed slowly, helping to maintain even blood sugar levels. Protein contributes to the development of lean muscle and is not converted to fat as quickly as carbohydrates.Why Don’t You Try These 5 Belly Fat Burning Foods?

Protein is especially important for breakfast, as it helps set the stage for keeping balanced blood sugar levels all day. If you are trying to burn belly fat never skip breakfast or just have a high-carb cereal with no protein or fat, rather eat a filling meal that includes protein, fiber, and healthy fat.

Raw vegans can get complete protein from hemp seeds, chia seeds, and sprouted quinoa, or a raw vegan protein powder that has combined plant foods to provide all 20 amino acids. Soaked almonds are also a good source of protein.

2. Our Friend, Fiber

Fiber is crucial for any type of weight loss program, especially when trying to burn belly fat. Fiber helps keep the colon functioning optimally, so we can fully absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. It also helps us feel full for longer, staving off cravings and snacking.

High fiber foods include avocados, flax and chia seeds, nearly all fruits and vegetables, and sprouted gluten-free whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth.

3. Red Fruits

Red fruits provide a lot of nutrition with very few calories. The phytonutrients they contain that are specific to red foods alter the constitution and circulation of blood lipids (fat in the bloodstream). This interferes with the lipids’ ability to deposit in the belly.

Red foods are also usually high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Enjoy watermelon, tomatoes, dark red cherries, and berries to satisfy your sweet tooth while helping your body burn belly fat.

4. Green Veggies

Is there anything greens can’t do? Truly, we call leafy green veggies “superfoods” for good reason. Green vegetables like kale, spinach, arugula, cilantro, chard, and broccoli are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and special compounds that boost the metabolism and support digestion.

Some greens, like celery and parsley, are actually negative calorie foods. This means more calories are burned digesting these foods than they provide, though you still get the vitamins and fiber. Enjoy green veggies in abundance with every meal.

5. Fabulous Fats

Contrary to what you might think, we need to eat fat to burn fat. Not just any fat, of course. Animal fats and trans fats are to be avoided, but monounsaturated plant-based fats are crucial for letting go of belly fat. This includes soaked almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and avocados.

As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to love avocados, they especially shine as a belly fat burning food. Avos are also anti-bacterial anti-fungal, which means eating them makes it easier to flush out the toxins that usually get stored in adipose tissue. They contain the amino acid lecithin, which supports healthy liver functioning – a key component for burning belly fat.

As fat is very calorie dense, it is important to watch portion sizes when eating it – even healthy fat. A serving of almonds is just 1/4 cup, and one medium-sized avocado (split into two or three servings) is plenty of fat for your whole day.

Burning belly fat may require a radical shift in lifestyle habits. Frequent exercise, adequate sleep and especially appropriate amounts of the right kinds of foods are necessary. You cannot starve yourself and lose fat sustainably, but making careful eating choices is very important. Focus on including high fiber, high protein foods, plenty of greens and some plant-based fat, and you will be well on your way to a healthy middle.

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