DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Losing weight is a popular New Year’s resolution but dropping pounds doesn’t always trim the waistline as much as we want. While cardiovascular exercise is an important component, what you eat is at least as significant.
Belly fat is more than unsightly. It’s especially dangerous to our health. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, getting rid of it might come down to adding a few more foods to your diet.
No matter how many sit ups, crunches or lunges you do, many of us find the struggle is all too real to tone that tummy. Commonwealth Health Family Medicine Physician Marla Dempsey said, “Certainly, sit ups are not bad. I’m not saying they are.”
What Dr. Dempsey says is bad are stubborn belly fat cells that make up what’s called visceral fat. “The biggest danger of visceral fat as compared to fat in other areas of our body is that it leads to higher rates of heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome.”
The key is eating the right kinds of foods which help burn off those fat cells. For starters, protein-rich salmon. Dr. Dempsey said, “Salmon also has some levels of vitamin D which can help to combat belly fat for sure. But that healthy fat in the salmon like the omega 3, the polyunsaturated fatty acids, those are a really important part of an overall healthy diet.”
Next on your shopping list, head to the produce aisle and pick up some foods like broccoli that are bursting with calcium. “Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, things like that are all anti-inflammatory and all really filling with a lot of fiber which also can help to decrease belly fat and keep you full so that you’re not filling up on all the other sugars and other bad stuff for you.”
Other foods like Greek yogurt contain probiotics which are considered key. “Getting a good Greek yogurt which can help to work your gut flora into a more healthy state so that can help decrease belly fat as well,” said Dr. Dempsey who cautioned to look for brands that contain less sugar.
While garlic and onions won’t improve your breath, they are prebiotics which Dr. Dempsey says feed probiotics. “Artichokes, onion, garlic those all have prebiotic qualities that when they’re digested in our GI tracts they can help alter our flora so that our natural flora is working for us instead of against us.”
Probiotics do more than help you lose belly fat. Dr. Dempsey says they help keep your immune system really healthy which means you’re less likely to get infections not just in your gut but also in your respiratory tract.