You see them on TV all the time; beautiful bikini-clad models with perfectly flat, rock-hard bellies. How do they do it? Do they work out all day long and just refuse to eat? Probably not. The secret to a flat belly is actually a lot easier than you think and it doesn’t involve spending hours in the gym. To get rid of lower belly fat, you have to start with your diet and work outward from there.
What is Belly Fat?
Belly fat, also known as abdominal obesity or central obesity, is an accumulation of fat cells across the waist line.
Causes of Belly Fat
Excessive belly fat is usually caused by a combination of poor diet and lack of exercise. If you drink lot of soda, you’ve found your number one cause of excessive belly fat. Soda contains high fructose corn syrup, a synthetic sweetener that has been clinically proven to cause abdominal obesity. A diet filled with processed foods can also contribute to belly fat. If a large majority of your food comes from a greasy bag or a frozen box, you need look no further for the cause of your bloated belly.
There are also certain health conditions that can contribute to excessive belly bloat. These conditions include gluten intolerance, diabetes, and intestinal parasites.
Gluten intolerance is an inability to digest the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. In someone with gluten intolerance, the digestive system is unable to process the gluten and the immune system attacks the intestines as though it were a foreign invader. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include distended stomach, chronic flatulence, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, sudden weight loss or inability to lose weight, muscles aches, skin rash, sinusitis, brain fog, and irritability.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder whereby the body is unable to effectively regulate blood sugar. Diabetic women often have trouble with their weight and tend to gain more around the middle. Other symptoms of diabetes include constant thirst, ravenous hunger, frequent urge to urinate, slow would-healing, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, frequent infections, and blurred vision.
Intestinal parasites are another common cause of bloated belly in women. It may never have occurred to you that a person not living in a Third World country or visiting overseas could have parasites but it’s estimated that over 50% of the United States population has some type of parasite infection! The symptoms of intestinal parasites include abdominal bloating, gurgling intestines, sinusitis, skin rashes, dry skin, constipation, itchy feet, yeast infections, diarrhea, joint and muscle aches, chronic inflammation, allergies, nervousness, and insomnia. If these symptoms sound familiar to you, you may benefit from a natural intestinal parasite cleanse.
Health Risks of Belly Fat
When you carry more weight around the middle, you run the risk of certain health problems. These health problems include increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stroke. Excessive belly fat may even contribute to the development of certain cancers as well as age-related dementia.
8 Ways to Flatten Stomach
- Eat Right – First and foremost, this is the number one step to losing that unwanted gut. To get rid of lower belly fat, cut the junk out of your diet and opt for whole-food nutrition such as wild-caught fish, lean meats, poultry, non-gluten grains such as brown rice, amaranth, and quinoa, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, and organic dairy products such as yogurt and butter.
- Check for Food Allergies – Both gluten and lactose intolerance can cause belly fat. If, in addition to bloated belly, you also suffer from chronic gastrointestinal upset, you may have a food allergy. Try a gluten and lactose elimination diet for one month, then reintroduce suspected foods one at a time after the 30-day period is over to check for a reaction. If your symptoms go away while you’re on the diet and return once you eat lactose or gluten foods, you’ve found your cause.
- Do a Colon Cleanse – Every woman should do a colon cleanse at least once every six months. A colon cleanse helps remove toxic waste buildup in the intestines and helps the digestive system better absorb nutrients from food. Check with your local health food store for your colon cleanse options.
- Add a Digestive Aid – Many women do not eat the right kind of diet and as a result, their digestive health can become compromised, leading to constipation and chronic belly bloat. Adding a digestive enzyme to your diet can help your digestive system better break down food and encourage elimination.
- Take a Probiotic – Probiotics are the friendly bacteria found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. Adding a strong probiotic supplement to your diet can help ease constipation and flatten your stomach naturally.
- Do That Cardio – While you may think crunches will give you the flat belly you’ve always wanted, they won’t work unless you do regular cardio. This is because no matter how many crunches or sit-ups you do, you’ll only flatten the stomach muscles under the flab. Cardiovascular workouts burn fat faster and give you an all-over lean and healthy feeling.
- Add Some Fiber – If you don’t get enough leafy green vegetables and fiber-rich beans in your diet, opt for a fiber supplement. Bulk psyllium fiber can help treat constipation by flushing built-up waste products in your gut. They can also be taken in pill form for easier swallowing.
- Drink More Water and Green Tea – If you’re looking for one of the best ways to flatten stomach, drink more water. This means 4-8 eight-ounce glasses each day. Green tea is another ideal belly-fat eliminator because of its high level of antioxidants and metabolism-boosting properties. Instead of belly-expanding sugar or sugar substitutes, use honey or stevia to sweeten your tea. And don’t be fooled by Splenda. Splenda is just as bad if not worse than high fructose corn syrup and aspartame!
It’s easy to get frustrated when all the crunches you do have little to no effect on your belly fat. The best ways to flatten stomach come from the food you eat, the food allergies you eliminate, the supplements you take, and the type of exercise you do. Remember, your body isn’t a series of individual parts that need work here or there. Your body is a whole. Once you begin to see it as such, you’ll know how to take better care of it and your health (and confidence) will improve!
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