Women tend to gain more belly fat than men in middle adulthood. Managing belly fat early on is important because it increases your risk for serious health problems later in life, according to Harvard Health Publications, such as heart disease and breast cancer. For best results, aim for a nutritious, balanced diet and regular exercise. Avoiding certain foods linked with abdominal fat can aid weight management. For best results, discuss significant dietary changes with your doctor or dietitian.
Refined grains are stripped of valuable nutrient content during food processing. Because they contain less fiber than whole grains, they provide less appetite control. In a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in September 2009, the grain intake of 434 adults was analyzed. Participants who consumed diets high in fiber-rich whole grains were significantly less likely to carry excessive body fat and abdominal fat than participants who ate namely refined grains. For potentially similar benefits, replace refined-grain products, such as enriched breads, rice, pasta, crackers and baked goods with 100 percent whole-grain foods.
Added sugars contribute sweetness and calories, but few nutrients, to foods. They have a dramatic impact on your blood sugar levels, which can lead to appetite increases and weight gain. To reduce belly fat, Harvard Health Publications recommends limiting sugary drinks, such as soda, and eating more nutritious carbohydrate sources, such as fruits and vegetables. Additional sugary foods worth avoiding include candy, pancake syrup, frosting, cookies, sweetened coffee drinks and frozen desserts.
Fats derived from animals, known as saturated fat, can increase inflammation and your risk for weight gain and obesity-related health problems. To beat the bulge in your abdominal area, the Mayo Clinic recommends that women emphasize lean protein sources, such as fish and low-fat dairy products, and limit saturated fat. Particularly dense sources include fatty steaks, cheese burgers, fried meats, high-fat cheeses, whole milk, cheesecake and heavy cream. Olive and canola oil provide unsaturated fat alternatives to butter.
Trans-fats are formed through a process in which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, to make a solid, long-lasting fat source. Trans-fats can also contribute to belly fat, says Harvard Health Publications. To cut down on trans-fats, avoid fast food, hard margarine, shortening, pastries and processed foods that list hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient. Instead, eat more whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer, podcast host and author of “Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment” (Amberjack Publishing, 2018). Her articles appear in DAME Magazine, Cosmopolitan.com, the Huffington Post and more, and she loves connecting with readers through her blog and social media. augustmclaughlin.com