Thermogenic foods are the ones your body uses maximum energy (in calories) to properly digest. Some of the most effective thermongenic, or fat burning, foods are lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, fish and lean beef (on occasion). Cayenne pepper, mustard, apple cider vinegar, cabbage, broccoli, celery, chili powder and cinnamon also have thermogenic properties that help rev up your metabolic engine and narrow your waistline.
Low glycemic index foods
The glycemic index is a tool that measures the speed of entry of a carbohydrate into the bloodstream. In a nutshell, the higher the glycemic index rating, the more insulin is secreted in response, which can result in excess fat storage around the mid section. The categories of the glycemic index are: high (over 70), medium (55-70) and low (up to 55). Some high glycemic index foods to avoid include white bread, white rolls, baguettes, bagels, dried dates, instant and baked mashed potatoes, instant rice, soda crackers and a variety of cereals (Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, puffed wheat, shredded wheat). Examples of low to medium glycemic index foods to incorporate in your diet are most vegetables, fruits,whole grains, dairy products, beans and lean meats.
Chronic mild to moderate dehydration can be the root cause of several health conditions such as faulty digestion, fatigue, achy joints, dry skin and inability to lose weight. The human body is comprised of about 70 per cent water. Simply put, next to air, water is the most vital substance our system needs to function properly. A fast and effective way to put pressure on your metabolism, lose weight and flatten your tummy is to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of fresh, clean water per day. If you are not a water lover and drinking feels more like a chore, try to incorporate water dense foods into your diet. Foods such as watermelon (made up of 92 per cent water), melons, celery, bok choy and soup broths are very hydrating and nourishing. In addition trying adding sliced lemons, limes or cucumbers to your water to enhance taste and for their natural astringent effect.
High fibre foods
One of my nutritional mottos is "you are only as healthy as your pipes". In other words, you are only as healthy as what you are absorbing, digesting and eliminating. High fibre foods such as whole grain bread, apples, oat bran, ground flaxseed and vegetables are loaded with soluble and insoluble fibre that are beneficial for weight control and improving digestion. On average, women should aim to eat 25 grams of fibre per day while men should aim to eat approximately 30 grams of fibre per day. Fibre will both fill you up and flatten your mid-section. Alternative grains to experiment with include brown rice, kamut, spelt, quinoa and millet.
Of course, in addition to the food categories outlined above, regular abdominal crunches and/or Pilates will help you to strengthen your abdominal inner core making you feel taller and leaner around the mid section!
Happy working out!