When you’re trying to slim down your stomach, core exercises and ab workouts go a long way—but what you eat also plays a huge role. In addition to drinking enough water, eating fresh produce and healthy fats, and avoiding notorious belly-busters (think alcohol, soda, and sugar), certain foods are particularly good for shrinking your gut.
These 10 foods will help keep your waistline slim by reducing bloat, boosting metabolism, and giving your body important nutrients that encourage weight loss.
Thanks to the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin (which reduces swelling) and a high water content of 96%, cucumbers can definitely help prevent bloating. This crunchy veggie is also extremely versatile: eat it in a chopped salad, sprinkle on top of yogurt, or munch on cucumber slices with homemade hummus.
As a member of the super-nutritious pulse family, lentils—along with other seeds that grow within pods like chickpeas, white beans, and dried peas—are packed with protein and fiber, which increase satiety. They’re also a good source of iron; this is important because studies have shown that being deficient in the mineral could slow down your metabolism.
Craving an afternoon snack? A banana may be your best bet. In addition to potassium, bananas are packed with resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that your body digests slowly, which keeps you full for longer. Resistant starch also encourages your liver to switch to fat-burning mode, giving your metabolism a boost.
There are lots of reasons to love this brightly colored tropical fruit, which is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and folate. Papayas also contain an enzyme called papain, which helps your GI system break down difficult-to-digest foods, in turn preventing inflammation and belly bloat.
You already know that asparagus is full of antioxidants and may even act as an aphrodisiac. But did you also know it can promote a slim stomach? This super-healthy spring veggie is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which your body digests slowly—keeping you full for longer in between meals. And as a natural diuretic, asparagus facilitates the removal of water and waste to decrease discomfort and bloat.
If you’ve ever sipped on a glass of ginger ale while sick, you know the drink can do wonders to calm an upset stomach. The root is also good for keeping your belly slim. Thanks to compounds that help move food through your GI tract, it has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to treat bloating.
Go ahead, put avocado on your toast, pasta, brownies, pudding, or even banana bread—your belly will thank you. The super-fruit (yes, it technically is a fruit) contains 2 grams of filling fiber and 4 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which may help keep the pounds off. In one study, researchers found that people who regularly ate avocados had smaller waistlines than those who didn’t.
8. Dark Chocolate
If you have a sweet tooth, take heart: Not all chocolate is off limits. Good quality dark chocolate (anything above 65% cacao) is actually very good for you. Like avocados, dark chocolate contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help speed up metabolism. Just watch your portions! 🙂
For a guilt-free snack, reach for a handful of almonds. As with dark chocolate and avocados, the nut contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help your body burn fat and fight hunger. When you have a serving of almonds as part of a low-calorie diet, you lose more weight than if you eat a similar diet but have a carb-heavy snack instead of almonds.
This perennial herb offers some serious benefits for your belly. For centuries, fennel has been used to improve digestion. You can eat fennel raw or cooked (try sprinkling it on pizza or making Tomato-Fennel Soup). And fennel seeds have slimming properties too, it can de-puff your stomach before a big event.