I feel it would be appropriate to begin this article with the age old cliché that says, “some people eat to live and some live to eat”. I think the first half of this adage was coined looking at the slim and active people and the second half was coined after looking at the fat and lethargic people. A slim body is always considered a healthy and active body, by everybody.
The above, simply put, in today’s perspective would be that, people who eat to live, burn more calories than they consume and people who live to eat, consume more calories than they burn. Excess calories are converted into fat and stored in our fat cells. Once these are full, the excess fat gets stored into the muscle linings, which are mostly present in the mid region of our body i.e. thighs,
waist, hip and around abdominal and chest area. As more and more fat gets packed into this area it starts bulging outwards and that’s it – health experts call this “apple shape” in men and “pear shape” in women, because, these are the shapes obese men and women take, respectively, around their mid region.
However, there are other strong reasons, too, for obesity. They are:
GENETIC: It may run in your genes, if it does, can’t help it, obesity is inevitable;
HORMONAL CHANGES: women, most of them, grow obese, due to the hormonal changes after menopause and some women grow fat even after child birth, once again, due to hormonal changes in their body. This is because, some of these hormonal changes weakens the metabolism resulting in the accumulation of fat around the mid region of their body.
STRESS AND BOREDOM: almost all men and women tend to eat more under stress and during boredom. It is a natural tendency to tackle stress and boredom. This also results in obesity.
INADEQUATE SLEEP: also leads to obesity, due to indigestion, excessive gas formation & acidity;
EXCESS SLEEP: even excess sleep , especially after eating, results in accumulation of fat, as the food you have consumed is not metabolized completely and the calories not burnt.
Fat is essential for our body, good fat, in the right quantity and in the right places of our body. Hence, intense exercise is not the only way to burn calories and fat and manage weight. Your usual daily activities, plus, a daily moderate exercise combined with , a conscious, dieting on some fat burning foods that Mother Nature has provided us with, is the best, and the natural way to burn the excess fat and maintain your weight and shape, at a optimum level.
Here are 12 such fat burning foods that will help you in maintaining a slimmer and a healthier body .
1. WHOLE GRAINS: whole grain foods like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice etc.,contain complex carbohydrates, fiber and some protein and minerals. This fills you up and keeps you full for a longer time, as our body takes a long time to breakdown and digest these foods and the best part is, more than 30% of the calories is burnt in just breaking down and digesting these foods. Further, these foods keeps you off eating for a longer time, thus, preventing you from overeating and accumulating fat.
2. LEAN MEATS & EGGS: These are rich in protein and less fat. One thing, our body burns more calories to digest protein than other foods. Then, protein helps maintain muscle mass as you lose weight and muscle burns more calories than fat. Finally, proteins dampen hunger better and prevents you from overeating. Eggs contain an amino acid called leucine and vitamin D, which a study says, acts as a catalyst in burning excess fat and keeping weight off.
3. GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES: like cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale etc., are full of water, vitamins, minerals and almost no fat. These nutrients and minerals helps in proper muscle function, bone health and fat burning. These vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients. Including more of these in your diet helps avoid other fatty foods.
4. FISH: like salmon, mackerel, tuna, again, are rich in protein, omega 3 acid and mono saturated acid, which are good fatty acids that promotes metabolism and burns lots of fat .
5. FRUITS: Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, fresh limes, kiwi etc., promotes metabolism to a large extent. Their acidic nature burns a lot of fat and they are very low in calories, but very rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and many other essential nutrients. Even fruits like apple, watermelon, grapefruit, and most of the berries are good fat burners.
6. NUTS: like almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts etc., are full of fiber, protein and good fat that promotes metabolism, curbs your intake of food. Nuts, if, eaten in moderation, activates thyroid hormones, binds toxins, thus, preventing their storage in fat cells, increases sensitivity to insulin, and the omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and the good fat in them aid in burning fat.
7. GREEN TEA: Catechins – a powerful antioxidant present in green tea boosts metabolism and rate at which your liver burns fat. This special feature of the green tea, especially, helps burn belly fat to a large extent.
8. LOW FAT MILK & YOGURT AND SWISS CHEESE: These foods are rich in calcium and many studies have revealed a strong link between high calcium intake and improved body composition. By consuming these foods ou can keep rest of your diet under control.
9. TURMERIC: Studies have shown that turmeric contains the compound – curcumin – which was found to reduce insulin and leptin resistance, that are, responsible for fat deposits. Turmeric also helps in fat burning , along with, its other health benefits like controlling blood pressure, fighting cancer, eliminating bad cholesterol, and, it is known to have a mild antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
10. HONEY: It is known that a tablespoon (about 10 grams) of honey taken regularly with warm water, early in the morning helps burn fat.
11. WHEY PROTEIN: adding this to breakfast and/or smoothies decreases body fat, increases muscle tone, spikes up energy levels and stabilizes blood sugar.
12. CINNAMON & GARLIC : These burn fat, as well as control fat accumulation by monitoring glucose supply to the cells, stabilizing blood sugar and lowering insulin. Garlic has also been found to be a effective antibiotic for food poisoning. This bulb is packed with medicinal properties. They help in controlling gastric problem , helps in digestion, burning calories & fat and prevents fat accumulation.
Burning Belly Fat, except that caused by genetic and hormonal changes, is not very difficult or impossible. Certain precautions in our food habits and a conscious effort is good enough to do it.