If you think ab crunches alone will get you that sleek and sexy midriff, think again! The trick lies in tweaking your diet. That includes more fiber to cut the bloat, antioxidants to make your exercising more results-oriented, and protein to keep your metabolism going strong.
So next time you go grocery shopping, load up on these nutrient-packed foods to quickly get those abs that you have been dreaming about. For instant abs, follow these simple tips and apply them to your daily diet to get the best results.
10. Eat More Red Meat
The secret to building muscle and especially abs lies in eating more protein-rich foods. Red meat has been demonized by health watchdogs for a number of reasons. However, they fail to point out that grass-fed beef and dairy contain high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), stearic acid and omega-3 fatty acids that not only help cut belly fat but also improve the overall function of the heart.
Saturated fats obtained from red meat can actually reduce cholesterol and lower harmful palmitic acid. Beef, along with eggs and duck, also enrich our bodies with arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated muscle-building component that can give you instant abs.
9. Don’t Throw Out Polyunsaturated Fats Just Yet
The USDA has set dietary guidelines that suggest removing saturated fats from your diet. However, they do not fully explain what polyunsaturated fats are and how they are not as healthy as authorities want us to believe. In fact, the most commonly consumed polyunsaturated fats are actually bad for your stomach.
Americans usually consume linoleic acid (LA), a form of polyunsaturated fat, as a regular part of their diet. This nutrient is obtained from soybeans, which have been associated with inflammation and weight gain. Your abs can tell you exactly what to eat and what not to. So don’t fall for diet traps. Listen to your body and eat what it can digest with minimal effort.
8. Choose Turkey Over Chicken
Turkey is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a trans fat that actually strengthens your heart and helps reduce ab fat. Chicken, on the other hand, contains high amounts of linoleic acid that is your abs’ worst enemy. Linoleic acid can make you feel bloated and also lead to weight gain. A dietician that recommends rice and chicken is not doing your abs any favors!
7. Don’t Shy Away from Whipped Cream
Everything you have ever learned about dietary fat, especially the saturated fat found in dairy, needs to be unlearned. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition aimed to find the link between saturated fats and diabetes. What they found was shocking. They reviewed the dietary history of 26,930 people aged between 45 and 75 and discovered that the people who consumed high-fat dairy had a lower risk of diabetes.
In fact, study subjects who consumed high-fermented milk, full-fat cheese, and cream had lower instances of diabetes. Those who ate plenty of low-fat dairy products were more exposed to the risk of diabetes. The study findings speculated that the essential nutrients found in dairy, such as calcium, protein, vitamin D, etc., are good for our health. However, it is also crucial to get a good range of fat to supplement their health benefits.
6. Overeating Is Not Your Fault
If only portion control was as simple as self-imposed discipline! Overeating is not because of you, it is because of polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils that can hinder your sense of fullness after a meal. Linoleic acid present in polys interferes with ghrelin and leptin, and the way they are processed by the body. As a result, our body has a high number of appetite hormones and lower satiation hormones.
With excess consumption of vegetable oil, our body produces high levels of brain-controlling lipids called endocannabinoids that can stimulate your brain to feel hunger. These endocannabinoids trigger the pleasure sensors in our brains, just like THC in cannabis. Needless to say, we go searching for food to gratify those sensors, resulting in overeating.
5. Choose Your Fish Wisely
Fish not only gives you protein, but also omega-3 fatty acids that are found readily in mackerel, halibut, and tuna. However, to get the most from the nutrients in fish, it is essential that the fish are wild caught and don’t come from fish farms. Most of the fish we eat these days, such as catfish, tilapia, and salmon, are all rich in fat-stimulating linoleic acid that can make you fat around the abs, rather than sculpting them.
The key to getting those killer abs lies in choosing your fish with care and only consuming those that have been caught from rivers, lakes, and oceans.
4. Eat the Right Kind of Fats
Dieticians and weight watchers have always demonized fats. However, knowing the right kind of fats can actually promote ab muscles and good health. Nuts, such as macadamia nuts, have a bad reputation due to their high-fat content. But few people know that they are just the kind of energy source that our body needs to function optimally. They contain proteins that are necessary to pump up your ab muscles.
They also contain healthy fats that can reduce inflammation and help trigger weight loss. Nuts are also a rich source of fiber that decreases bad cholesterol and cuts belly fat. Feeding your body with the healthy fats found in nuts can help limit the intake of foods that contain linoleic acid. Consuming a diet rich in LA fills up the fat cells in your body with fatty acids, as opposed to a high-calorie diet with a healthier oil balance.
3. Reconsider Starch
How many times have you been told to cut out bananas and potatoes from your diet? But did you know that these two sources of starch, including others such as peas, beans, lentils, corn, oatmeal, etc., are known as resistant starch?
These foods pass through the small intestine without being processed and are digested in the large intestine, where the bacteria that make up our gut microbes break them down. Through this process, our body releases fatty acid called butyrate that can override insulin resistance and inflammation-causing genes. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, eating resistant starch strengthens your gut biome.
2. Consume More Grains
Just like starches, grains have earned themselves a bad name in the world of dieting. They are often discarded from diet charts because of their high carb content. However, foods like grains and legumes are packed with essential nutrients such as chromium and magnesium that are helpful in fighting the stress hormone cortisol.
Whole grains are also a source of betaine, an amino acid that reduces fat storage and the body’s insulin resistance. Grains are also the leading source of fiber, the most important component in our diets. During the process of digesting grains, our body releases acetate, a molecule that suppresses hunger and tells us when to stop eating.
1. There Is No Such Thing as Diet Food
Eating boxed or canned food is not as healthy or low-fat as you would like to believe. In fact, they are stripped of all the nutrients and the food is already processed. This means your body only burns half as many calories while digesting this food. So while you may be consuming fewer calories, you are still likely to gain more weight compared to someone who eats whole, unprocessed foods. But it is still better than eating potato chips and drinking soda.
Remember that if you want solid abs and not just a marginal improvement in body definition, you have to stay conscious of what you are putting inside your body and follow a well thought out nutritional strategy.Related: 13 Foods That Are Mistakenly Believed to Be Poor Dietary Choices