If you’re working towards a flatter stomach, core exercises and ab workouts are key, but they’re not the only factors at play.
What you eat is essential, including drinking enough water and eating enough fresh produce and healthy fats, while staying away from belly-bloating stuff like soda and sugar.
“If you want your abs to feel flatter, choose foods that will help decrease bloating in your stomach, such as water-packed fruits and veggies,” says Keri Gans, RD, a New York City-based nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet.
With plentiful quercetin content, a flavonoid antioxidant that reduces swelling, and high water composition, cucumbers are excellent in bloat prevention. The versatile, crunchy veggie can be incorporated throughout your day – add it to your salads, sprinkle pieces on yogurt, or eat it as is with a side of hummus.
A member of the nutritious pulse family, lentils are loaded with both protein and fiber, which provides satiety. They’re also a strong source of iron, which has proven important in food studies; the mineral is helpful in slowing down metabolism.
“Add lentils to salads or use in place of whole grains like brown rice,” suggests Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor. “They also make a great ‘bed’ for a serving of lean protein, along with a generous portion of veggies.”
The best afternoon snack, bananas have always been lauded for their metabolism, but are also packed with resistant starch, a good-for-you carbohydrate that helps you feel full for longer. The starch also hints to your liver that it should switch to fat-burning mode, boosting your metabolism.
Bananas may help prevent water retention in our bodies by regulating sodium levels,” adds Gans, “decreasing the risk for bloating.”
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