Losing Belly Fat: What Works & What Doesn’t
With summer just around the corner, today is the perfect day to answer belly fat questions, share some important information about belly fat, and most importantly, share the top tips for losing it!
Belly fat — its our arch enemy. In fact, our desire to banish belly fat from the planet may be the only thing in the world that we can unite around. On a more serious note: you can’t burn calories and reduce stored fats from specific parts of your body — it’s a general, whole body process — but this article will show you some really great tips to help you speed up the burning of belly fat.
Believe it or not, more people are now overweight or obese than ever before in the history of the world. Nearly 75% of men and 65% of women are now considered overweight or obese — that's 70% of our total population, or 7 out of 10 people. It’s pretty evident that obesity has become an epidemic that is killing us, making us sick, and ruining the quality of our life!
Improve Your Health By Losing Belly Fat
Besides wanting to look better, and feel better in general, losing belly fat has massive health benefits and can really help you live longer.
Belly fat is estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. You can easily take this measurement at home with a simple tape measure. Anything above 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women is generally considered to be a sign of excess abdominal obesity.
So what do we do? How can we start to lose belly fat and improve health? Well, you can start by following these top tips to lose belly fat, including:
Eat More Soluble Fiber!
You hear it all the time — eat more fiber, eat more fiber — it turns out that is really good weight loss advice! Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
Studies show that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. This gel formed by soluble fiber may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food.
Some of the most effective sources of soluble fiber include: chia seeds, flaxseeds, avocados, chickpeas or beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and blackberries.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
There are so many negative effects caused by stress: it can cause problems with sleep, stomach issues, and it affects your skin. It can also cause serious health problems, including increased risk of high blood pressure and even a heart attack.
In addition, stress can cause you to gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Research shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite, resulting in increased abdominal fat storage, aka: belly fat.
What's more, women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle — so it becomes this dangerous cycle that you really need to break in order to get healthy!
So get control of the stress in your life — try steps like exercise, deep breathing, yoga, hiking, reading, spending time with loved ones, or even seeing a professional.
Replace Some of Your Cooking Fats With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in the medium-chain fats, or MCTs, which may give a boost to your metabolism. Coconut oil has also been shown to increase the release of two hormones in the body: peptide YY and leptin. Both of these hormones increase your sensation of fullness, resulting in you eating less and losing weight
To boost belly fat loss, it's best to take about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day, which is the amount used in most of the studies reporting good results of increasing fullness, fat loss, increased energy, ketone production and improved gut health.
Other diet tips to burn belly fat include:
Avoid eating trans fats and processed food
Trans fats are dangerous fats and have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and fat gain in several studies. Read your food labels carefully — trans fats are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats — avoid them and increase your body’s ability to burn fat!
Make fresh and organic vegetables the base of your diet
Increase your intake of vegetables, raw, steamed, or roasted, with each meal. An easy way to get enough is to make sure vegetables are taking up the most room on your plate with every meal — even breakfast!
Give up sugar and sugary drinks!
Refined sugar is dangerous, and really serves no nutritional purpose. It provides empty calories and has no purpose other than to make you gain weight, increase inflammation, and cause serious health issues, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and of course weight gain.
Swap out sugar for natural sweeteners, like raw, local honey — but even then, use it sparingly. It still has a high sugar concentration, so use it in moderation. A little bit is all you need! The same goes for sugary drinks — give up the soda, sports drinks, and sweetened teas. Drink filtered water, teas, seltzer, or kombucha instead.
Reduce Inflammation to Reduce Belly Fat
In order to be healthy, you need to get your inflammation levels under control. Once the inflammatory load on your body is reduced, you'll feel better and find it easier to lose weight and reduce belly fat. It’s really important to reduce inflammation naturally, through healthy food sources, including:
- Eating The Rainbow — eat all different colors of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
- Increasing Omega 3 and Health Fat Intake — in addition to coconut oil; olive oil, avocados, salmon, walnuts, chia and flax seeds are all great sources.
- Drinking Green Tea — It is considered a natural anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant substances it contains activate metabolism and effectively burn fats. On a side note, green tea contains caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, you might want to switch over to a naturally decaffeinated green tea.
Okay so we know nutrition is important; exercise is also important. There really is no magic bullet to get rid of belly fat — in order to lose fat, you need to burn more calories than you eat, creating a caloric deficit that forces your body to burn body fat for energy. Exercise helps speed up that process.
Exercise is very effective at reducing belly fat
Exercise is important for so many reasons; its great for physical and mental health and its a great way to reduce stress, lower your risk of heart disease, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen your muscles and bones, improve flexibility, and reduce chronic inflammation
Exercise is an especially effective way to lose weight and reduce belly fat!
Sometimes, when we think of exercise as a way of burning belly fat, people think that means abdominal exercises, like sit-ups or crunches. So you may find it surprising that these are not really going to help you lose belly fat — you can’t lose fat in just one part of your body by focusing on it, and doing endless amounts of ab exercises is not going to burn excess fat from your belly.
When trying to burn fat and especially belly fat, what’s most effective is a balanced combination of cardio exercises — exercises that increase your heart rate like walking, running, swimming, biking — and strength-training exercises, including resistance band exercises, yoga, pilates, and weight-training.
Both cardio (or aerobic), exercises and strength-training, or anaerobic, exercises have been shown to increase metabolism, burn more calories, build muscle, and result in major reductions in body fat — and especially belly fat.
Essential Nutrients For Fighting Inflammation
The right natural foods work wonders when it comes to regulating your blood sugar and decreasing the damaging effects of chronic inflammation. However, the reality is that it's just not practical or even possible to get the full inflammation-reducing support you need from food alone.
Nobody wants to hear that taking more pills is the answer, but fortunately, less is more when it comes to supplements to lower your inflammatory load.
There is one supplement formula in particular that is such an inflammation-fighting powerhouse that it just must be part of everyone’s daily routine.
However, it’s not antioxidant vitamins. If you’re following an anti-inflammatory diet, then you should already be getting plenty of the key inflammation-fighting antioxidant vitamins like B, C, E, K and A.
But you need more than that, and simply adding spices like turmeric and ginger to your food will not provide enough inflammation-reducing horsepower to move the net inflammatory load needle enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Here’s what works…
There are 5 inflammation-fighting supplemental herbs you need to know about.
The First is Curcumin
If you’re new to curcumin, it is the concentrated active ingredient inside turmeric. It’s only about 2-3% of the turmeric root, but when formulated properly it can have an amazing effect in your body. In fact, it’s a whopping 250 times more potent an inflammation-fighter than turmeric itself. A large part of the inflammation-fighting effect of curcumin comes from is its ability to inhibit key enzymes in the body known to promote inflammation.
But it does even more that… curcumin is really amazing stuff.
It’s rare that a dietary ingredient can have such a broad spectrum of beneficial effects on the body. In nutritional science it’s called being pleotropic, meaning it produces multiple health effects on biological systems throughout the body. Curcumin is one of the most highly pleotropic compounds on earth; even pharmaceutical drugs can’t claim anything close to what it can do.
Now when shopping for a curcumin supplement, you want to look for curcumin in its most active form, so it goes to work in your body almost immediately. The active form of curcumin is pre-converted so it is almost immediately bioavailable in your body when you take it. It’s kind of like when you juice something and break the fiber bonds; your body just absorbs it better and faster.
The active form of curcumin is called 95% tetra-hydro curcuminoids.
The majority of curcumin on shelves, however, is not this active form, which means these supplements can take hours to start working. The active form of curcumin is the one you want, so always check the label to make sure it has 400 mg of 95% tetra-hydro curcuminoids per serving.
The other thing you need to know about Curcumin is that it’s fat soluble in the body. This means it needs to come in a healthy carrier oil to get the effect you need. That brings us to the next inflammation-fighting ingredient we recommend…
Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil is extracted from the seeds of Nigella sativa, a plant native to southwest Asia. Also known as black cumin seed oil, it is a powerful antioxidant and inflammation fighter and offers a range of health benefits supported by hundreds of studies.
It’s great for your stomach as well. In fact, Hippocrates himself was said to have used black seed oil to improve digestion issues. The seeds are considered to be naturally carminative, which means they aid digestion and can help to decrease bloating, gas and stomach cramps.
Ginger contains chemicals that help reduce inflammation, and it helps with digestion and reduces nausea too. Researchers believe that, like curcumin, the chemicals in ginger work in different parts of the body including the stomach and intestines, and in the brain and nervous system as well, to help tame the flames of inflammation.
The next ingredient is called an adaptogen. Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants that go to work when you are under stress, especially important for people who live in a state of chronic stress and inflammation. They work to help balance and restore the body.
Astragalus’s roots are in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it’s been used as an adaptogen for thousands of years, activating when you are under stress to help avoid inflammation. It is one of the most powerful immune-building plants on the planet, and it’s an essential herb in the daily wellness regimen of top holistic nutritionists.
And the last of the five natural ingredients to help lower your inflammatory load is…
The unique and beneficial compounds in ginseng are called ginsenosides. They’re so powerful in fact that they are currently under clinical research to investigate their potential for a variety of medical uses. Ginseng’s effects on “inflammatory cykotines” produced by the body from living in a state in chronic inflammation, as most people do, is well known. Plus, like the other four, it’s safe to take every day. It’s a great daily supplement.
In summary, the top five natural inflammation-fighters include:
- Active Curcurmin (95% tetra-hydro curcuminoids)
- Black seed Oil
- Ginger Root
Now remember that magical supplement formula mentioned earlier? Well that supplement is the only one that combines all of the top five natural inflammation-fighters in just the right amount. Plus, it’s a super clean formula that’s also vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and a great value too.