Most people are highly conscious of a protruding belly. Fat in the stomach area is often a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, having heavy meals at the wrong time, constipated tummy or fluid retention. Genetics, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and lack of sleep are some other causes of belly fat.

Belly fat does not only affect your looks but may lead to fatal health conditions. 

The dangers associated with having a fatty stomach and the home remedies to effectively reduce it have been discussed in this article. 

  1. Harms associated with belly fat
  2. Home remedies to reduce the belly fat
  3. Takeaway

Research has found that when you have excessive abdominal fat, you get more prone to diabetes, coronary heart diseases, high blood pressure or even cancer. Scientists have also shown that visceral fat may lead to the clogging of arteries and blood vessels and becomes one risk factor for the development of stroke.

Harvard Medical School reported diseases such as osteoarthritis, fatty liver and depression that occurred as a consequence of excess body fat.

You need to take care of a few tips to reduce your abdominal fat, often known as fat burning. But before that, you can always evaluate how much excess fat do you have.

The most common technique to measure the amount of visceral fat (and not the body fat) is using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but the drawbacks are that these are expensive check-ups.

Another method is measuring the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), which has been reported by scientists as a method to measure central obesity and stomach inside-fat. The risks associated with stomach fat such as diabetes 2 and cardiovascular diseases can also be evaluated using WHR.

Irrespective of whether you have evaluated your stomach fat or not, you can go ahead with these simple home remedies to get a flat stomach. The pointers below provide you with some tips to achieve that flat stomach that you desire.

Drink plenty of water to reduce belly fat

Drinking enough water can help you lose body weight and body fat, but that is when you do some fat burning exercises as well. Experts suggest that when you keep yourself hydrated, your cell metabolism increases, which, in turn, aids in weight loss. A study conducted in 2013 stated that water helps to metabolise stored fat into energy. In the case of dehydration, body’s metabolism slows down, resulting in fat accumulation in your belly.

Dosage: Drinking 2-3 litres of water every day is recommended.

(Read more: How to reduce water weight)

Hot water and lemon to lose belly fat

Lemon is often taken in hot water early in the morning to reduce belly fat. Research says that hot water increases the antioxidant activity of this citrus fruit. Another research points that lemon has polyphenols that suppress the body fat induced by diet. So, you can just take this drink regularly to have a better metabolism and good shape, thereafter.

Dosage: You can take one glass of lukewarm lemon water with added honey every morning to lose belly fat.

(Read more: Benefits of drinking water in the morning)

Eat slower, chew better to get rid of belly fat

Eating your food just too quickly and not chewing well can make you swallow air and subsequently feel bloated. So keep some patience to grab on your favourites, you can sense some flavour, taste and eat slow. Fast eating has been associated with distorted metabolism, blood pressure problems, high cholesterol and excess stomach fat.

Next time, you take your meals, try chewing your food 35-45 times before you swallow.

Stay away from carbonated drinks to reduce the belly fat

Most soft drinks contain a high amount of high-fructose corn syrup, an artificial sweetener made from corn starch, which is difficult to get metabolized by the liver. Furthermore, research suggests soft drinks contain some high glycemic index (increase blood sugar levels) carbohydrates that are rapidly absorbed in the body, causing a sudden rise and fall in blood glucose levels and in turn stimulation of appetite. This causes you to eat more, increasing your overall calorie intake.

(Read more: Glycemic index of Indian foods)

Scientists have also found that consuming fructose-sweetened drinks increases lipid accumulation in the liver. So, you can take this tip of staying away from carbonated beverages.

Increase fibre intake to lose belly fat

Diet rich in fibres can help you prevent and reduce stomach fat. in a research study, scientists at the Harvard Medical School discovered that women who were taking high-fibre or whole-grain foods in their diet over a 12-year period were half as likely to become fat as those who consumed a low-fibre diet.

Basically, there are two types of fibre in your diet- insoluble fibre that helps in digestion and soluble fibre that helps lowering fat and cholesterol levels in your body. Soluble fibre also reduces inflammation in the body and helps manage chronic conditions like heart diseases, diabetes or cancer.

Aim to add high-fibre cereal like oats in your breakfast, some fruits and salad in your lunch and brunch, some popcorn as snacks and wheat bran or oats bran chapati in your dinner.

(Read more: Fibre-rich foods)

Reduce sugar intake to get a flat stomach

Adding extra sugar to your food or drinks can be unhealthy. Studies have shown that consuming fructose-sweetened (a form of sugar) products can cause you to have stomach fat and may also make you prone to diabetes. This is due to the fact that it is liver that metabolizes the fructose. When you take added sugar in high quantities, your liver is not able to metabolize this sugar form and it gets accumulated as fat. This gives enough reasons why you should back off from refined sugars.

Dosage: Nutritionists recommend not more than 2 servings of added sugars in food or drinks per day.

Green Tea to reduce belly fat

Green tea is much more than just a hot flavoured drink. A cup of green tea contains nearly 30 grams of caffeine, which is an acclaimed stimulant for burning fat and lipids. Besides, green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins, that boost metabolism. A research study stated that green tea extract is beneficial for improving endurance and stimulating fat burning. Another study conducted for approximately 2 months also showed that increased intake of catechins (in green tea) along with regular exercises helped in more fat burning as compared to only exercises.

Dosage: While the exact dose would vary from person to person, you can take 2-3 cups of green tea on an average for your adamant tummy fat.

Increase protein intake to lose the belly fat

A diet rich in proteins is said to improve metabolism, reduce hunger and support the fat burning process. Nutritionists recommend a high-protein diet to those aiming to lose weight. Research says that proteins play a major role in the thermogenesis of fat and hence body weight regulation and decreased abdominal fat. Experts suggest that the average daily protein intake should be 56 grams for man and 46 grams for a woman.

To add more proteins to your diet you can take boiled eggs, a bowl of lentils or daal, or a bowl of yoghurt to your daily diet. But remember, moderation is key. Don’t overdo anything.

(Read more: Protein powder for weight loss)

Fenugreek seeds to get a flat tummy

Fenugreek seeds or methi dana in Hindi is a potent fat burning ingredient, composed of 49% soluble fibre, 49 per cent insoluble fibre and 2% protein with a multitude of benefits like maintaining blood sugar levels and supporting digestion. Studies suggest that taking methi dana decreases fat accumulation in the body.

One study demonstrated that fenugreek seeds are rich in proteins and fibre that help exert a lipid-lowering effect. Furthermore, fenugreek’s fibre content (galactomannan) form a viscous gel in the intestine and prevent glucose and lipid absorption.

Dosage: You can soak a spoon or two of fenugreek seeds overnight and drink the strained water in the morning on empty stomach. Pregnant women, however, should never take this as it may lead to miscarriage. Also, diabetic patients may experience fluctuations in their blood sugar levels on taking fenugreek, so they should consult a nutritionist beforehand.

Eat Papaya to get rid of belly fat

We all know that papaya improves bowel movement and helps in digestion. But how? Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins, increases metabolic rates and helps burn fats. Besides, papaya is rich in fibre that draws water inside the intestine and prevents constipation. Also, papaya is a rich source of antioxidants that help to eliminate toxins from the body and prevents lipid accumulation.

Dosage: You can take a bowl full of this papaya for breakfast, lunch or as a snack. For breakfast, you can take this along with some proteins and a small number of fats.

Aloe Vera juice to reduce belly fat

Aloe vera comes as juice, gel, powder or capsules. The plant contains 75 active vitamins, enzymes, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, salicylic acids, and saponins. A recent study suggested that regular use of aloe vera gel powder for 90 days may help reduce body fat by stimulating energy use. Another study also indicated that aloe-vera derived phytosterols could reduce visceral fat from your tummy.

Dosage: You can add a tablespoon of honey to a glass of aloe vera juice. Regularly taking this drink would help stimulate your metabolism, promote digestion, and burn extra fat. Check with your doctor before using aloe vera in any form.

Stomach exercises to get a flat tummy

Including exercise or yoga in your routine along with a good diet is the best deal to go for if you are looking to flatten your stomach. Not only it would help you in losing belly fat but also help to tone your body. Research has established that exercise in enough amounts can significantly decrease body weight, total body fat, and stomach fat.

(Read more: Anulom vilom benefits)

You can choose from various types of exercises including strength training, cardio, stretching, crunches, running, yoga, cycling or swimming. Also, try taking the stairs whenever possible. Crunches are the best-known exercises for fat-burning. On an average, 40- 60 minutes of exercise is a must in a day.

(Read more: Household chores as a means of exercise)

Take enough sleep to get a flat tummy

The amount of sleep you take is as important as a good diet and work out for losing belly fat. Experts say that sleep plays a major role in energy metabolism. One who takes insufficient sleep is more likely to get fat as little sleep hinders your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.

Another study showed that when you don't get enough sleep, it leads to an increase in the levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and reduction in the levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin in the body, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.

Make sure that you take at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day.

(Read more: Sleep chart by age and gender)

The best way to lose belly fat is to drink plenty of water and follow a balanced diet, supplemented with exercise, physical activity and enough sleep. It will only take regular efforts and time to reach your goal, but at last, it would be all worth it.

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References

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  3. Essam F Elsayed et al. Waist Hip Ratio and Body Mass Index as Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Events in Chronic Kidney Disease . Am J Kidney Dis. 2008 Jul; 52(1): 49–57. PMID: 18514990
  4. Vinu A. Vij, Anjali S. Joshi. Effect of ‘Water Induced Thermogenesis’ on Body Weight, Body Mass Index and Body Composition of Overweight Subjects . J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Sep; 7(9): 1894–1896. PMID: 24179891
  5. Jeong SM et al. Effect of heat treatment on the antioxidant activity of extracts from citrus peels. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 2;52(11):3389-93. PMID: 15161203
  6. Yoshiko Fukuchi et al. Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue . J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2008 Nov; 43(3): 201–209. PMID: 19015756
  7. Bing Zhu et al. Association Between Eating Speed and Metabolic Syndrome in a Three-Year Population-Based Cohort Study. J Epidemiol. 2015; 25(4): 332–336. PMID: 25787239
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