Nutritionist Joanna McMillan-Price explains some simple ways to blast your belly fat and maintain a trim tummy.
"It seems the older we get, the rounder our tummy becomes," says Ms McMillan-Price. "One way to minimize fat simultaneously is to eat the right fat."
"The theory is that a high carbohydrate, low fat diet (high in high GI/processed carbohydrates) increases insulin resistance and lays more fat down around the middle," she explains. "Conversely, if you replace these processed carbohydrates with monounsaturated fats you prevent so much fat being laid down in the middle and perhaps even manage to burn it off more effectively."
"The types of food which are rich in monounsaturated fats and will help maintain a trim stomach are olives & olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, peanuts, peanut oil & peanut butter, avocado and avocado oil," she explains.
"The foods to avoid are those made up of processed carbohydrates," she warns. "These increase insulin levels and stimulate abdominal fat. Some examples of these are low-fibre, processed breakfast cereals, white bread, pikelets, crumpets, bagels and scones, white rice (lower GI varieties better) and sugary soft drinks."
"Obviously food doesn't play the only role in having a slim stomach," she says. "Regular exercise is essential. Walking at least 20 minutes will flatten your belly and reduce your love handles. People who exercise regularly are better fat burners meaning they burn more fat all of the time both during exercise and rest."
"Having bad posture can also give you a pot belly even if you are not that fat," she says. "All the sit-ups in the world won't work if the deep postural muscles are not activated. Look for core strength classes at your local health club such as Yoga, Pilates and Balance classes are good for developing strength."
Five flat belly foods
- Nuts and seeds - macadamia nuts contain the highest level.
- Oils - Olive and canola are good, safflower has the most MUFA.
- Avocado - denser Hass variety packs twice as much as the bright green-skinned FL varieties.
- Chocolate - dark and semisweet are MUFA rich and high in antioxidants.
- Olives - green ones offer more belly-fat-fighting fat than black ones.