Here’s a good list to get you started!
#1 Black Pepper
According to WebMD, the same ingredient in black pepper that makes you sneeze may also help you get slim.
Black pepper contains piperine, which current research shows has been shown to fight the formation of new fat cells. It has been used for centuries in traditional Eastern Medicine to address different gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea and cholera.
#2 Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has many phenomenal health benefits and considering that, is widely underused. It regulates blood flow, improves circulation, removes toxins and targets water weight.
One study done by the food scientist Stephen Whiting showed that the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, causes a sort of adrenaline rush in the body that then sends a message to the brain to burn fat cells.
Add a dash of this to your morning lemon water for a great detoxifying aid.
Apples are low in fat, sodium and calories but are loaded with awesome vitamins and minerals. They also have a decent amount of fiber, which we all know is important for good digestion to keep things moving through the gut and not suck in it.
A 2014 study quoted in Women’s Health magazine showed apples have non-digestible compounds (fiber and polyphenols) that promote good bacteria growth in your gut. A healthy balance of bacteria improves metabolism, decreases inflammation, protects against chronic disease and helps one maintain a healthy weight.
Avocados are a nutritional goldmine! They are packed with healthy fats that provide fuel for the body, help you feel full and keep your various systems functioning properly.
Americans are scared of fat. This is due to a lot of misinformation about fats in general. But here’s the truth: You NEED healthy fats to function and you can eat a good amount of them (the right ones) without gaining weight.
Getting enough GOOD fats in your diet (coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, wild caught fish, omega-3s, raw nuts and seeds) will actually HELP you to maintain a great weight, not sabotage it.
Almonds are a perfect substitute for processed snacks. Keep a baggie in your purse or bag to munch on throughout the day. Almonds are also a good fat and energy source.
Studies have linked regular almond consumption to lowered cholesterol, lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and less inflammation. They help with good weight management and also help with oxidative stress (that leads to disease).
Studies have found that blueberries may help breakdown abdominal fat. This is believed to be due to their high phytochemical (antioxidant) content.
More studies have shown that blueberries may be especially beneficial to those suffering from obesity or diabetes as they reduce insulin resistance.
#7 Tilapia and Cod Fish
These fish are full of healthy fats and protein which takes longer to digest than other foods, keeping you fuller for longer and decreasing your appetite. Protein is also vital to the formation of those sexy abs you are trying to uncover!
In one serving of tilapia (4 ounces) there are 29.5 grams of protein!!! That is more then you’ll get in most protein shakes or store-bought protein bars. Unlike other animal sources, tilapia only has about 145 calories per serving.
A study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that people who added cod fish to their diet for at least eight weeks lost 4 more pounds than people who didn’t add any seafood to their diet.
Salmon is a lean protein and a perfect addition to most diet plans. It is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D (which is hard to find in food), 22 grams of protein per serving and only about 155 calories.
Salmon is also believed to help your metabolism burn fat more efficiently.
Eggs have the perfect balance of protein and essential amino acids, which are important for burning fat, building muscle and staying full for longer periods of time. Some people shy away from eggs because they’ve heard they are not good for you, they have negative effects on cholesterol or make you gain weight. Quite the contrary, eggs are a rich source of over 13 different vitamins and minerals, several important trace nutrients, 6 grams of protein and contain only 77 calories.
They ARE high in cholesterol but EATING cholesterol doesn’t mean your cholesterol goes UP. In fact, when scientists studied this they found that 70% of people who eat eggs experience NO raise in cholesterol and the other 30% only experience MILD increases.
And please – EAT THE YOLK!!!! Much of the nutrients are actually in that beautiful golden center, while post of the protein comes from the whites. We need BOTH components for a truly balanced source of goodness.
Some people go as far to say that eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Makes sense because the contents of an egg are meant to grow a full, living chicken!
A study found people who eat eggs early in the day are less hungry later on.
#10 Leafy Greens
This one is a no brainer. VERY low calorie. Packed with an insane amount of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and even some protein – you can eat leafy greens all day long and not gain a pound. The fiber will also help clean out your gut of toxins and fill you with raw living enzymes for good digestion and energy. Not to mention their positive affect on your skin!
The truth is, I don’t necessarily advocate dairy. Mainly due to the inflammatory effects and the fact that most dairy on the market is loaded with hormones and questionable ingredients. And most people don’t digest dairy well!
However, there are always exceptions, which come in the form of WHOLE, ORGANIC options (raw if you can). And when you get the RIGHT form, there can be some great benefits (assuming you’re not someone who actually cannot tolerate it – in which case, steer clear altogether – there are plenty of other amazing options for you out there).
If you want your gut to look good on the outside, you MUST take care of it on the inside! Foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha are full of good probiotics for gut health. A healthy gut = less bloating, gas, constipation and better digestion.
Just make sure that if you opt for yogurt or kefir, it’s organic and free of added junk like sugar, hormones and fillers. You can even opt to make your own or purchase from a reputable source. Goat’s milk has been shown to be easier to digest so that may be worth a shot for you to try!
#12 Probiotic Supplements
For a lot of us, it is hard to get our daily need for probiotics. This is due in part to the amount of COOKED foods we eat and also that the American diet doesn’t contain a lot of fermented foods. I take probiotics on a daily basis as do many of our coaching clients as well as our Fitlife team! If you get the right kind (good quality, at least 10 strains) and take them daily, you will notice a difference fairly quickly.
Probiotics help to balance your belly, aid in digestion (you are what you absorb, not what you eat!), boost your immune system, enhance energy, decrease gas, constipation and bloating and along with good eating habits, have the potential to help slim your waist!
Check out FitLife’s very own phenomenal probiotic supplement! We love it and I know you will too!
#13 Bone Broth
Bone broth (especially homemade) is an incredible tonic and nutrient-rich addition to your diet. It is full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and many vitamins and minerals, which release into the water from bones. It also contains gelatin, which is a good supplementary protein, benefiting your joints as well as connective tissues (important for strong organs and muscles).
One study showed that people consuming broth-based soup twice daily had more successful weight loss than those eating the same calories in snack foods.
Keep in mind that many store-bought broths are loaded with sodium and other ingredients. To get the most out of your broth, opt to make your own. It’s super simple and tastes amazing!
Quinoa is a nutrient-dense seed that makes a great substitute for traditional grains. It is gluten and cholesterol-free and thus easy on the digestive system. Because of its protein and fiber content, quinoa helps you feel full faster and for longer amounts of time. Quinoa is actually a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids.
Quinoa will provide those seeking to lose weight with incredible nutritional punch, a feeling of satiety as well as desired energy and stamina.
Some even call quinoa a superfood and due to its growing popularity, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 the ‘International Year Of Quinoa’.
For the best flavor I recommend making quinoa in organic bone broth instead of water. Delicious!
Remember earlier when I talked about toxins being wrapped in water and stored near your lymph nodes, leaving you with water weight? I was in a lecture by a brilliant slovenian nutritionist a few months back and I remember him telling us that ALGAE, specifically green algaes like spirulina, were one of the most powerful detoxifiers on the planet. He was right!
Spirulina is particularly good at cleansing the body of heavy metal toxins. You see, even if you start eating all the right foods, your belly might still hang around for a while. That’s because it needs to be CLEANSED and DETOXIFIED so that it can actually ABSORB the nutrients you are putting into it once it has the clean space available!
I would highly recommend spirulina to anyone who is focusing on shrinking their gut. You can get it in powder form and add to smoothies. We also put it in our own Organifi green juice superfood powder, which I love to drink just mixed in water or added to my fresh green juices and smoothies. So good!
#16 Bok Choy
An extremely popular vegetable in countries like China and Japan, the wonders of bok choy are still not well understood (or used) in America. Bok choy is very low calorie and low carb but high in nutritional content. It has a lighter taste than regular cabbage and a great texture for cooking (think healthy stir-fries and soups).
Bok choy is full of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It has a glycemic load of 1 (the lowest you can get) and ranks five stars for weight loss.
Another popular food in asian cooking, buckwheat is not actually a type of wheat or even a grain. It is the fruit of a plant similar to rhubarb and is gluten-free. It also happens to be full of disease fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals and has become an effective tool in weight loss plans.
Buckwheat is a good source of protein, which takes longer to digest than other nutrients and helps to keep your appetite in check. It’s also good for digestion!
Studies have shown that those who eat buckwheat have a decreased likelihood of developing high blood pressure.
If you’ve been hanging around FitLife for long you’ll have realized that we talk about lemons ALL THE TIME. They should be called a superfood and their numerous benefits are just beginning to gain recognition around the United States.
Lemons, although technically an acidic fruit, have an alkalizing effect within the body. An alkaline environment aids in the prevention of illnesses by decreasing inflammation and supporting a clean microbiome.
Lemons are also an amazing cleanser and detoxifier, which is an important step in uncovering your abs. Start drinking a glass of water with fresh squeezed lemon juice right when you wake up. This one small habit can produce HUGE results!
#19 Green Juice
Ahhhh, a fresh glass of green, micro-nutrient rich juice. I don’t know if any habit will change your life more than picking up juicing! My own life changed when I was handed my first glass of green juice and now look where I am! I was once fat, had zero energy and relied on caffeine and junk to keep me going.
Green juice is a powerful source of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and much more! These give you a quick source of energy (said to hit your bloodstream within minutes) and also help to rid your body of unhealthy cravings and appetite.
Green juice flushes toxins from the body and replenishes the cells with vital nutrients for survival. Many Americans are literally starving for healthy food and they don’t even know it. Hand these peeps a green juice, my friend!
Although you won’t develop killer abs and a flat belly overnight, you can get there faster than you think. Pick 3-5 things from this list – or even just 1 to start with – and get it into your daily and/or weekly diet. I promise your body will love you for it.
When you love your body, it loves you back.
One step at a time, you WILL get the abs you’ve always wanted.