Health & Fitness

Belly Fat: The Whole Truth

Kristen Sparrow • November 07, 2013

bowel2Probably more than you want to know about belly fat and hormones. 5 foods to counteract the damage.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Hormones: How Metabolic Mayhem Whips Up a Muffin Top (And 5 Foods that Reverse Belly Fat)

Food First: Five Foods that Reverse Your Muffin Top

Bottom line: muffin tops beget muffin tops. So do pastries, cookies, cake and other forms of sugar. A study in the Annals of the New York Academies of Science found a high-sugar/ high-fat diet combined with chronic stress was a surefire way to store fat and pave the way for metabolic syndrome.
When cortisol and insulin hook up, they create serious trouble.
…To create that balance, start with food. My favorites to balance insulin and other hormones include:
Wild salmon. A bonanza of blood sugar-stabilizing high-quality protein, nutrients, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not eating wild-caught fish three or four times a week, human intervention trials show supplementing with omega-3s can also help reduce visceral fat.
Avocado. Who doesn’t love this sensuous creamy fruit that’s rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium and other nutrients, and fiber? One cup of avocado, in fact, contains 10 grams of filling, fat-busting fiber. A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found adolescents who ate more fiber reduced visceral fat and inflammation.
Raw nuts. Loaded with healthy fats, fiber and protein, raw almonds and other nuts and seeds help stabilize blood sugar and make a delicious snack. Nuts and seeds are also rich in magnesium, a mineral most of us are deficient in. A study in the journal Magnesium Research found a high-fructose diet with low magnesium levels makes a surefire way to increase inflammation and store belly fat.
Green tea. Dump the cortisol-raising java for calming green tea. Numerous studies, such as one in Obesity (Silver Springs), show that the catechins in green tea help reduce body fat. You’ll need to drink a good amount to get those benefits, so supplementing might be the way to go.
Blueberries. A University of Michigan study found obese rats had lower visceral fat triglycerides and improved insulin sensitivity after noshing on a blueberry-enriched powder for 90 days. Blueberries add a real fiber and phytonutrient punch to everything from protein shakes to Greek yogurt.