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7 foods that can help you get flatter stomach

April 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
While there are still no magic pills or powders for fast weight loss, there is a host of foods that can actually whittle your middle. Here are seven for you to put in your diet for a flatter stomach.

As a busy mom with a full-time job, Liz Dolan never gave much thought to what she ate.

"I would just make whatever was easiest to make and then all of a sudden I was 40-something pounds overweight," said Dolan.

"It was Hippocrates, I believe, who said, 'let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.' And I don't think people realize how powerful the choices that they make are," said holistic health coach Kate Henninger, who's helping Dolan eat smarter.

New research shows specific foods can blast abdominal fat. A cup of blueberries a day can help you store less belly fat by turning on fat-burning genes.

"You still need to eat, you still need to have calories but you want to make sure it's good quality whole food," said Henninger.

Another tip, dieters who ate at least four servings of whole grains a day lost twice as much stomach fat as those who ate refined carbohydrates -- of course keeping portions perfect. A serving of pasta is a cup and one slice of bread, not two, is a serving. When it comes to brown rice, a half a cup will do.

"The whole foods that you eat, most of them are really quite simple to prepare," said Henninger.

Drinking up to five cups of green tea a day can help shed abdominal fat. Catechins, which are chemicals found in the tea, may alter fat storage. So far, Dolan has lost 34 pounds.

"I feel more energetic. I really look forward to walking with my dog. I feel great," said Dolan.

Daily walks are additional steps in the right direction, burning calories and keeping muscles strong, which are both components of weight loss.

Research shows dried cherries, avocados, vinegar, raspberries and coconut oil are also good foods to include in your diet. And anything high in fiber - like most fruits and vegetables - will also help slim waistlines.

Finally, make sure you have a decent portion of protein on your plate -- like lean meat, fish, beans and legumes. Not only do they take more calories to break down, more so than fat and carbohydrates, but they also keep you fuller longer.