Stop fantasizing about a tummy tuck. (Believe us, major surgery is not what dreams are made of.) The best flat-belly fix is a combination of simple everyday habits including smart eating, focused fitness, and de-stressing, says Pamela Peeke, MD, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of Body for Life for Women. Too much belly fat can raise the risk of heart disease, so trimming your middle is a great goal for your overall health — not just your tankini. Reach into this grab bag of diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips to lose the pooch, permanently.More
Fiber is essential to a slimmer belly because it fills you up and keeps you regular (less bloating). Most Americans get about half the recommended amount, which may contribute to our flabby-bellied state. "Breakfast is an easy meal to fiber-load, helping you get the 30 to 35 grams women need each day," says Rachel Beller, RDN, CEO of Beller Nutritional Institute in Beverly Hills, CA. Try some Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of chia seeds and a cup of raspberries (13 grams), or have a cup of oatmeal (preferably steel-cut) with a tablespoon of ground flaxseed (10 grams). Add some banana to your bowl for its potassium, which helps prevent water retention.
Omega-3s have been shown to reduce belly fat, along with protecting your heart. According to research in the International Journal of Obesity, people on a reduced-cal diet who ate salmon three times a week lost significantly more fat from their middle — an average of two inches in eight weeks — than those who skipped the fish. Omega-3s help boost your metabolism and fat-burning potential and may also curb your hunger — which lets you eat less without even trying!
The polyphenols in green tea, called catechins, may help boost metabolism and reduce fat stores in the belly, says Beller. Try matcha: "It's a super-concentrated source of green tea because you actually consume the powdered leaves, rather than just the water they're steeped in."