Eating for Abs
Joe Fleming provides an overview of the best foods to eat, and which ones to avoid, for a flat stomach.
So, you want a flat stomach? Who does not? Flat stomachs and visible abs are probably two of the most coveted physical traits in the fitness world. But what do you have to do to attain them?
The truth is that you can do all the crunches and planks you want, but if your diet is not on point, you are going to have a hard time seeing the fruits of your labours.
If you are serious about seeing your abs, you may need to do an overhaul of your current diet.
Listed below are some of the best foods to eat (and some you should avoid) if you are working toward getting a flat, toned stomach.
Remember: Calories Matter
Before getting into the specific foods you ought to eat and avoid, it is essential first to note that the number of calories you are consuming matters just as much as the food you eat.
Even if you eat the cleanest diet possible, if you are eating too many calories, you are going to store fat and have a hard time seeing the definition in your stomach.
To have visible abs, you may need to lose some body fat. To lose body fat, you will need to eat in a caloric deficit -- meaning you eat fewer calories than you burn.
Foods to Eat
Now that the calories caveat is out of the way, it is time to get into the best flat-belly foods to add to your diet. Listed below are five foods that will help you reach your goals.
Almonds are loaded with vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. They are also rich in fibre, healthy fats, and magnesium, which is crucial for proper energy metabolism and blood sugar regulation.
Consuming almonds can help you keep your blood sugar stable. Many people find that, by stabilizing their blood sugar, they can minimize food cravings and resist the urge to overeat. This, in turn, helps them lose body fat and see more definition in their stomachs.
Almonds are a great food to eat if you are working toward a flat stomach, be sure to weigh or measure them first. They are quite calorie-dense and are easy to over-consume.
Apples contain a fair amount of fibre, but they also have a lot of water. This combination allows you to feel fuller longer and reduces your chances of overeating.
One study found that women who ate three apples per day saw more weight loss than other women in the study who ate oat cookies three times per day (overall calorie consumption between the two groups was the same). The women who ate apples also had lower blood glucose levels.
If you are currently reaching for a carb-rich snack like cookies or crackers during the day, try trading it for an apple instead.
Berries -- strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, etc. -- are another great, fibre-loaded fruit to add to your diet if you want to lose fat and gain visible abs.
They are filling because of their high fibre content, but berries are also low in calories, so they are a great snack for people who want something sweet and want to feel satisfied but not stuffed.
Berries also contain antioxidants that may help you feel more energized and perform better during your workouts.
Spinach is a low-calorie vegetable that is full of essential nutrients and antioxidants. It contains lots of fibre, as well as calcium, which is necessary for proper muscle contractions. By loading up on spinach, you can ensure your body performs well during your workouts.
Adding spinach to your meals can also help increase the total volume without adding lots of calories. This means you will feel fuller but will not have to worry about overeating and sabotaging your progress.
Salmon is an excellent protein source. It can help you build muscle and stay full, both of which are important for people who are looking to tone their midsection (and the rest of their body, for that matter).
Salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and can help your metabolism work more efficiently.
Research also shows that people who eat fish daily have more stable blood sugar, which, as you know, can help you resist cravings and avoid overeating.
Foods to Avoid
Adding these five foods to your diet can have a significant effect on your efforts to lose weight and see more definition in your stomach. At the same time, though, it is also important to eliminate foods that could be hindering your progress. Some common culprits include:
Bonus Tips to Help You Get a Flat Stomach
Finally, remember that, while what you eat matters a great deal when it comes to losing weight and working toward a flat stomach, what you do matters, too.
Doing the right ab exercises such as planks and balancing exercises that strengthen core muscles will help you reach your goals faster. Adding in some cardiovascular exercise walking, running, cycling, etc. can help you burn extra calories and shed body fat.
Pay attention to the way you eat, too. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. This will help you feel fuller and reduce your chances of overeating, and you will also avoid swallowing air, which can upset your digestion and cause your stomach to look bloated.
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About the Author
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Passionate about healthy lifestyles and living a full life, he enjoys sharing and expressing these interests through his writing. To inspire others and fight ageism, Joe writes to help people of all backgrounds and ages overcome life's challenges. His work ranges from articles on wellness, holistic health, and ageing to social narratives, motivational pieces, and news stories. For Joe, helping others is vital.