Sharecare Top 5: Belly-Fat Busting Foods

When you combine daily stress with delicious holiday food and no time for exercise, you’ve got the perfect recipe for belly fat. That extra weight around the middle does more than make your pants too tight; it can also cause some serious health problems. Belly fat has been linked to chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. It is also thought to release harmful chemicals that can wreak havoc on your appetite and disrupt the way your body metabolizes food. Ready to starting fighting back against that belly bulge? These five foods can help.

Whether you go for Greek or the regular variety, yogurt is great go-to for busting belly fat. Look for varieties with “live and active cultures” – good bacteria that can improve the health of your colon and boost your immune system. Yogurt is also packed with protein, which helps to keep you full, and vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium, another weight-loss booster. Studies have also shown that dieters who ate three yogurts a day lost 81% more belly fat that those who didn’t. Check out more reasons to starting fighting belly fat from integrative medicine specialist Mark Liponis, MD.

Sunflower seeds
Packed with fat-busting properties, sunflower seeds can help to whittle your middle. These nutritional powerhouses contain vitamin E, iron and selenium, a known anti-inflammatory that can help combat belly fat storage. Sunflower seeds are also an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats and protein to help keep you feeling full. Try these tasty ways to enjoy them.

Black beans
These little legumes, high in fiber and protein, work to beat your belly fat thanks to their appetite suppressing power. They’re digested slowly, keeping you fuller longer. They also supply you with flavonoids that can potentially thwart the storage of excess fat around your middle. Try this recipe for veggie black bean quesadillas for dinner tonight.

This sweet relative of the apple should be an addition to any belly-busting diet. According to the experts at Sharecare, pears are so low in calories and high in fiber that you could eat one before every meal and still lose weight. They’re also full of antioxidants that have been shown to hinder belly fat storage. Check out this healthy recipe for poached pears with raspberry sauce for a quick pear fix.

Whole grains
If you’re fighting to fit into those skinny jeans, try adding more whole grains to your diet. This means tossing out refined carbs and sticking with brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats and 100% whole-wheat bread and pasta. These healthy carbohydrates contain fiber to keep you full and keep your blood sugar stable, which can prevent you from reaching into that snack bowl throughout the day. Studies have also shown that people who eat more whole grains tend to have less body fat and gain less weight over time than those who don’t.