Forget lipo – lose belly fat the safe way

The festive season was good to you. Maybe too good, and that paunch you’re now sporting proves it. Belly fat is more than just unattractive; it can be a serious health risk. But it’s not all bad news – it can be minimised. Here’s how.

1. Go negative

Lowering the amount of calories you consume a day can help if want to lose weight around your midsection. There is a theory that there are negative-calorie foods, that use more calories to digest, than the amount of calories they provide. If, for example, you eat an apple with 50 calories, your body uses 80 calories to metabolise it. This has not been proven conclusively, but the foods classified as ‘negative calorie’ foods are generally healthy anyway: with high containing fiber, vitamins and a host of other health benefits. So stock up on apples, grapefruit, celery, spinach, carrots and cabbage.

2. Tea?

Getting rid of that stubborn paunch is all about getting your metabolic rate up, and green tea is great for doing just that. Green tea is rich in powerful antioxidants called catechins, known to speed up metabolism for hours after drinking the tea. It also contains caffeine, which can increase your energy levels and enhance fat breakdown. Drink two to four cups of green tea daily to help burn up to an extra 70 calories.

3. Fill up on fibre

Fibre can help shrink belly fat fast. Foods high in fibre, specifically soluble fibre, can make you feel fuller for longer and lower levels of the fat-storing hormone, insulin. Fibre also takes longer to digest, making you feel more satisfied without those extra calories. Fill up with fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

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4. Eat more fat

Contrary to popular belief, fat is not the enemy. In fact, healthy unsaturated fats are essential if you want to lose that spare tire for good. These fats can rev up your metabolism, which can send your fat burner into overdrive. Good fats also contain oleic acid, a fatty acid known to suppress appetite and reduce abdominal fat. Get your fatty fix and flat abs with a helping of avocado, eggs, salmon, cheese and olive oil.

5. Bring on the heat

Spices can turn any meal from bland to delicious, but they can also kick-start a sluggish metabolism and melt excess stomach fat. Chilli powder is one of the top fat-fighters. Capsaicin, the active component that gives this spice its fiery flavour, can stimulate fat loss through thermogenesis – a metabolic process in which your body burns calories to produce heat. More heat equals more burn. Other capsaicin-containing spices are cayenne pepper, black pepper and paprika.