Secrets to Keeping a Flat Stomach

Having excess belly fat is worse than having excess fat on most other places on our body. Belly fat, or visceral fat, is a huge meter of many chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes and can even mean an increased risk for stroke. Unfortunately for many people, the waist is often the first place excess fat goes. Even worse, it is also one of the hardest areas on our bodies to lose weight.  Here are our not so secret secrets to keeping a flat stomach:

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1.     Avoid processed foods:

Whether you're a lover of white rice, bake with white flour, or love refined sugars, get rid of it. White foods products indicate they're heavily processed. There are many other tasty and healthy alternatives such as brown rice, quinoa, sprouted grains and other whole grains. Similarly, refined or processed sugars are just plain bad and a feeding ground for belly fat. Sweetened drinks, desserts and foods rich in oil are products that highly contribute to belly fat.

2.     Try adding spice to your cooking:

Increase the amount of spices you use in your cooking. Adding spices is a great way to add flavor without caloric additives like oil. Many spices help burn belly fat. Give ginger, black pepper and cinnamon a try. They're also packed with different health benefits beyond burning fat, but across the board they lower blood sugar levels and promote insulin resistance.

3.     Remember to snack

Eating a snack that contains protein between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. like almonds, protein bar or an apple will boost your metabolism and balance blood sugar at a time when you'll probably feel tired and be tempted to eat something unhealthy. Eating every three to four hours will keep your blood sugar even, but many people tend to go five or six hours between lunch and dinner without eating.

4.     Eat healthy fats

Bring on the avocado. Eating healthy fat helps you slim down. The Institute of Medicine recommends that fatty foods make up to 20-35% of total calories. It's important to include the right fats in your diet, primarily monounsaturated fats like nuts, avocados and healthy oils. 

5.     Drink Green Tea

Every tea is rich in antioxidants but this is especially true for green tea. Having at least 3 cups of tea per day will fight off the free radicals which contribute to belly fat accumulation.

6.     Do the right exercises

Planks might be the secret to getting a flatter stomach. Many people don't perform them to the best of their ability, but making simple tweaks to a basic plank will create more tension throughout your entire core. Any kind of exercise is encouraged but to mobilize belly fat, you made need to take it up a notch.  High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a method of short, intense bursts of exercise mixed together with less intense exercise.  It alternates between intense versus less intense exercise anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.