Even if you've never had a flat belly, you can still shrink your gut. Learn how you can fight fat, reduce inflammation and even beat stress!
Dr. Oz teamed up with Flat Belly Diet author Liz Vaccariello, nutritional biochemist Dr. Shaw Talbott and 8 Minute Abs creator Jaime Brenkus to come up with this plan designed to tackle your belly fat without making you feel hungry.
The Dr. Oz Flat Belly Plan was designed to flatten your belly with four key steps:
1. Shrink Fat Cells
A recent study found that those who ate three yogurts a day while dieting lost 81% more belly fat than people who didn't eat yogurt. All study participants were directed to eat 500 calories less per day. As part of the Flat Belly Plan, you should eat about 6 ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt before every meal. Why? It's thought that calcium can help stop fat from entering your cells, improve your body’s ability to break down fat and help your body carry out fat through your bowel movements.
2. Shed Excess Pounds With MUFAs
MUFAs, or monounsaturated fatty acids, are the cornerstone of the Flat Belly Plan. These are plant-based fats, so the easiest way to remember them is to look for healthy fats that aren’t from animal sources, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, oils and olives. A study done through the American Diabetic Association found that a diet rich in MUFAs worked to reduce belly fat.
As part of the Flat Belly Plan, you need to eat three MUFA meals a day.
The foundation of any MUFA meal has:
- 3 ounces lean protein
- 1 complex carb
- Unlimited vegetables
- 1 MUFA
- Each meal should be 350 calories (or fewer)
3. Reduce Inflammation
The next part of the plan aims to reduce inflammation. Belly fat has been linked to inflammation and elevated cortisol (the stress hormone). Belly fat is even thought to be "toxic" to your system as it releases chemicals into your body that wreak havoc on your appetite and the way your body metabolizes food. That's why anti-inflammatory foods are thought to be effective in fighting belly fat and breaking the vicious cycle.
As part of the Flat Belly Plan, have an anti-inflammatory snack in the afternoon. Snacks should be rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that help curb inflammation. They're the natural compounds that give berries and other fruits their vibrant color. Try a sliced yellow bell pepper with hummus or a bowl of mixed berries drizzled with dark chocolate. Click here for more anti-inflammatory food suggestions.
4. Beat Bloat
Drink ginger iced tea with mint and lemon to reduce bloat! Ginger naturally aids digestion, mint helps to reduce gas, and lemon juice is rich in antioxidants. Follow the recipe below and sip on this Flat Belly Tea all day long:
3 bags of ginger tea
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of water
2 cups of ice
In a large pitcher (about 24 ounces), steep the ginger bags and chopped mint for 5-10 minutes. Strain mixture to remove bags and leaves. Add lemon juice. Stir and serve. Store in refrigerator, serve chilled and sip.
For a week's worth of MUFA meals, click to the next page!
Adapted from Flat Belly Diet by Liz Vaccariello with Cynthia Sass. Copyright (c) 2008 by Liz Vaccariello with Cynthia Sass. By permission of Rodale, Inc.
Controlling stress is also an important part of dieting and rebooting your body. Taming your stress results in reduced levels of cortisol, which has been linked to belly fat. Prevent your nerves from fraying with these tips and your body and your belly will thank you for it.
Start the day off right. High cortisol levels in the morning makes breakfast more likely to be stored as belly fat and result in cravings for junk food throughout the day. Studies have shown that relora, a blend of two herbs called magnolo and phellodendron, can help reduce cortisol. It's also calming, not drowsy, making it perfect for mornings.
Afternoons: Aromatherapy Inhaler
Sometimes you need a stress-reducing shortcut. You can trick your body into relaxing with an aromatherapy inhaler, which you can use the second you feel stressed. The brain quickly processes smells, which hit the amygdala, the area of your brain responsible for anxiety. Scents like eucalyptus, lavender and bergamot can help shut down stress.
Evenings: Tart Cherry Juice
A natural source of melatonin, which helps lower cortisol, tart cherry juice can help you achieve a good night's sleep. Getting only 6 hours of sleep versus the recommended 8 hours means that you can have up to 50% more cortisol exposure – and that can lead to more sweet-tooth cravings and belly fat. Elevated cortisol also keeps you restless and alert when you don't need to be, making it hard to fall asleep. Drink an 8-ounce glass in the morning and 2 hours before bed for sweet dreams. To get the full benefit, drink this juice at a scheduled time every day.