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OK, I see these Top 10 Foods for Flat Abs/Belly Busting/Weight Loss, etc all over the place on women’s health magazine covers. Many selections I agree with, but somehow soy or some other processed food is listed, and that makes me go, “WHAT?! No way would I recommend that!” So I decided to compile my own list, from a more holistic perspective, of flat ab foods, and another list of belly-bloat foods.

Flat Ab Foods
1) greens– spinach, chard, kale, dandelion greens, beet greens, mixed salad greens, arugula. The dark leafys are my premier pick for the superfood belly fat-banishing nutrition powerhouse. High in minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and low in calories, greens should be the base of almost every meal. Did you know that greens are also high in calcium? And minerals are essential for relaxation of central nervous system–they help your body deal with stress. High stress causes your cortisol to rise, which causes your body to store fat and crave sugar. Eat greens liberally.

2) cultured veggies–cultured veggies are fermented, and the health-promoting side effect of the fermentation process is
production of billions of good bacteria known as probiotics. If you experience bloating, gas, or other digestive issues, probiotics are a must for you, as you probably have too many bad bacteria in your gut. Get more probiotics, the good guys, to outweigh the bad guys, and watch your bloating disappear. Eat 1/4 cup or so of cultured veggies as a condiment with meals.

3) walnuts–you’ll see almonds on every “health food” list, and that’s all well and good, but I prefer walnuts as a flat belly food because of their excellent omega 3 fatty acid profile. These fatty acids assist in fat loss, along with a bevy of other benefits: inflammation & pain reduction, cardio health, improvements in mood, better skin, to name a few. Nuts are a “brain food” and also provide protein & fiber necessary for satiety and make a great, filling snack.

4) salmon–high in the good omega 3 fats, very high in protein and low in calories, salmon is a flat belly superfood. The cold water, high fat fish like cod and salmon are perfect sources of protein during weight loss or maintenance due to their excellent nutritional profile. Salmon is also high in vitamin D, which is hard to get from food, and we are seeing a lot of vita D deficiency these days. It’s necessary for immune & bone health.

5) green tea–ok, ok, I know green tea isn’t a food, but I love it so much as a flat belly drink: green tea has thermogenic properties, meaning it stokes the body’s fat burning furnace and helps boost metabolism. Plus, is provides minerals and antioxidants along with random benefits like cavity prevention. Drink this stuff!

6) apples–high in fiber, which is necessary for weight loss & good colon health. Fiber keeps you full, assists in removing toxins from the body, and keeps things moving! Apples pair well with walnuts for a doubly effective flat belly snack.

Belly Bloat Foods
1) soy– soy is notoriously difficult to digest, and many people have hidden soy allergies. Common side effect of eating soy=bloating. Soy is meant to be eaten as a condiment, in small quantities, and unprocessed (think edamame) and NOT as soy protein isolate or at every meal. It can cause major hormonal disruption!

2) whole wheat–wheat contains a protein called gluten, to which many people have intolerance or allergy. Wheat can cause major digestive disruption. If you suffer from IBS, Chron’s, colitis, reflux, constipation, or any other unsavory digestive issues, avoid gluten (also found in rye and barley), which is very hard on the digestive tract.

3) dairy–the reason I’ve listed dairy is that I see SO many dairy allergies in my practice. People come in with bloating as a major concern, and they are eating yogurt because they’ve heard it will help them lose weight, only to find they are allergic to dairy and when they eliminate it, bloating problems go away. If you have bloating issues, cut out dairy right away for a couple weeks and then reintroduce it to see if the bloating returns.

4) corn–corn is ubiquitous in our food supply. It’s even used to make vitamin C! Did you know that? Corn syrup, modified corn starch, corn oil, corn fillers–corn has been a staple in processed foods and livestock feed (so you’re getting corn indirectly in your chicken). Eating too much of a food can create allergies, and corn is also on the list of the top 8 most common allergenic foods. It can cause bloating and fatigue because it is also difficult to digest and is really a starch/grain, not a vegetable. If you eat corn, choose organic always to make sure you are not getting GM corn. Aside from soy, corn is a widely genetically modified crop.