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5 Food Fixes For Flat Abs
By Phyllis Brown   View more articles by this author
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September 01

You can’t consume 3,000 calories a day and expect to lose your belly, but calories aren’t the entire story.  Certain foods seem to pack pounds on the midsection: Last year, experts from the Framingham Nutrition Studies reported that women who ate almost 400 fewer daily calories, but chose the least nutritious foods had more than double higher risk of abdominal obesity than those who ate that much more, but made better choices.  It’s not just about “dieting.”  Just incorporate these strategies into your life and watch ab flab pare down.

  1. Eat fruits and vegetables.  Especially orange ones.  Women trimmed their waists by replacing refined grains like white bread and simple or added sugar with carbs from fruits and vegetables.  Besides packing in the fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer, researchers suspect it’s the rich antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene that ward off ab fat. Carrots, cantaloupe, squash and peaches are great sources of beta-carotene; while oranges, berries and kiwi provide a good dose of vitamin C.  To keep calories down, pick veggies like bell peppers, before fruits, and choose fruits over juice.
  2. Get more selenium.  This cancer-fighting mineral is also linked to lower rates of abdominal obesity. People with low blood levels of selenium and other antioxidants had bigger waistlines than those with higher levels.  Selenium is found in many foods, but it can be hard to know if you’re getting enough (55mcg/day) because amounts vary based on the soil in which food is grown.
  3. Add some protein.  Eating more protein keeps you full and boosts energy, which leads to overall weight loss, and reduced ab fat, in particular. Aim to get 25% of your calories from protein. Just make lean choices such as lo-fat yogurt, fat-free milk, fish and poultry.  Nuts are another great source, but can be high in calories. Have just five 1-ounce servings of nuts per week (an ounce is about 24 almonds, 18 cashews or 35 peanuts).
  4. Drink wine.  Don’t start drinking wine just to fight ab fat, but if you enjoy a glass with dinner, it’s a great benefit.  Some studies suggest that light drinking protects against female midsection weight gain. Based on studies, one 4-ounce glass of red or white wine a few days a week seems to be of benefit.  More, however, is not better. That extra glass of wine or cocktail can actually add inches.
  5. Eat the right fats.  Research from Spain shows it’s easier to stay slim eating monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) and omega-3s (found mostly in fish, but also in flaxseed, walnut oil and tofu), while omega-6 fats (prevalent in cereals, corn oil, baked goods and eggs) caused ab fat to pile on.  Fats that should be eliminated completely: trans fats, which have no nutritional value and are mostly found in calorie-dense baked goods and chips.  Diets high in trans fats added about 30% more fat in the abdominal region.
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Comment by junglegirl
22 Jul 2010 01:38 AM
Great ideas!
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