Maybe you’re preparing for your upcoming trip to the shore. Maybe you have an event coming up and want to slim down to feel good in your new dress. Maybe you’re just trying to be more mindful about your health, and are starting to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.
Whatever the incentive, a strong core is essential to maintaining your overall health. By toning your abdominal muscles, you’re helping prevent injury from other exercises: You’re protecting your inner organs and central nervous system, and you’re helping alleviate back pain. While the belly can be the most stubborn area of the body to tone, there are ways (besides crunches and sit-ups) to help you slim down. Here are six effective tips for reducing belly fat.
Does this one surprise you? A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that increased sleep duration could help the reduction of visceral body fat, or the flab in your belly that you can actually target in your workouts. It’s this kind of body fat that fuels inflammation and wraps itself around your major organs, causing you health problems down the line. According to this study, more hours in bed can help reduce this kind of fat. And you don’t even have to do crunches in your sleep.
Eat more fiber
Soluble fiber – found in foods like oat bran, barley, and most fruits and veggies– takes a longer time to digest, keeping you full longer. Certain soluble fibers might even help lower the risk of heart disease. Eat to slim down? Yes, please!
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Studies suggest that excess alcohol, alongside a slew of other health detriments, might also make you gain belly fat. Much research associates heavy alcohol consumption with obesity around the waist or central obesity. For this, and other reasons, it’s best to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum.
Eat more protein
Adding more protein to your diet can help increase feelings of fullness, which in turn decreases your chances of reaching for that snack before your next meal. High protein also helps prevent muscle loss when consumed in tandem with a workout regimen.
Reduce carb intake
We all like our bread. But when considering belly bulge, cutting back on refined carbs can be helpful for reducing visceral fat. Try replacing your refined carbs (i.e. white bread and white rice) with starchy carbs, like whole grain bread and brown rice.
Reduce your stress
Because this one is the least obvious, it’s often the most overlooked. However, your stress levels play a major role in the accumulation of belly fat. When stressed, your body produces more cortisol, which increases visceral body fat. So, taking that time off to relax (even before vacation) might help you slim down and tone your tummy.