Eat more. Yes, really. But you have to nosh on the good stuff, according to the Framingham Nutrition Study.
This ongoing research has found that women who consume 400 more calories per day and eat healthier foods are 2½ times less likely to develop abdominal obesity than women who take in fewer calories but consume more saturated fat and less fiber.
“What this means is that healthy women whose habitual diets are higher in fat and lower in fiber, protective nutrients and desirable carbohydrates are at a higher long-term risk of developing abdominal obesity,” says Barbara E. Millen, a registered dietitian and director of nutrition research for the Framingham Study.
Get your C
Foods rich in vitamin C help fight ab flab, says Debi Silber, a registered dietitian from Dix Hills, N.Y. “Although it’s true that citrus fruits and juices are highest in vitamin C,” she says, “you can also get a boost from broccoli, tomatoes or red peppers.”
Go ahead and have a little steak
Eating a small snack of protein (of any kind) makes you feel fuller and leads to overall weight loss, especially in the abdominal region, according to a recent study out of Skidmore College. “Our findings suggest that consuming a higher-protein diet in six smaller meals a day significantly reduces total body weight as well as abdominal-fat mass in overweight men and women,” explains Paul J. Arciero, DPE, associate professor of exercise science at Skidmore College.
Stick to olive oil
You already know that a diet rich in this Mediterranean staple is good for your heart. But you may not realize that it helps prevent belly-fat accumulation too, according to researchers at the Reina Sofía University Hospital in Spain. Add more heart-healthy olive oil to your diet by substituting it for butter in recipes and on bread, and by switching from your usual dressing to a mixture of olive oil and vinegar.
Increase your omega-3s
Eating foods like walnuts or seafood, rich in these good fats, will help reduce the production of adrenaline, a stress hormone that contributes to an increase in belly fat.
Take water with a twist
You know you need to drink lots of H2O. It aids in digestion, curbs hunger and ramps up fat-burning. Add a few slices of lemon or lime, and you’ll get a dose of vitamin C, which can help blast off ab fat.
Ask for the wine list
Here’s why you may want to sip a little vino (about four ounces a day): Women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol have less central-abdominal and total-body fat than abstainers, says a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.