These eats can help you slim down and get rid of dangerous visceral fat. Here are the 5 best foods to reduce belly fat after 50.
While getting rid of those extra pounds standing between you and your jeans fitting comfortably may be your goal when you embark on a new diet, it’s the body fat you don’t see that could be putting your health at risk. Experts say that visceral fat—fat that develops well below the skin’s surface—is far more dangerous for your health.
“Visceral fat is a danger to health for a few reasons,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, from Balance One Supplements. “First, it is carried at the front of the body where it creates significant stress on the heart and other vital organs. This puts the individual at risk for heart disease and stroke, among other chronic conditions. Second, if allowed to persist it will form around organs and tissues which makes it difficult to lose, also increasing the risk of chronic disease.”
Best notes that visceral fat can often go undetected, lulling those with healthy BMIs into a false sense of security about their health when, in fact, their wellbeing may be in jeopardy. But how do you lose pounds you can’t even see? Read on to discover which foods registered dietitians recommend incorporating into your regular routine to lose dangerous visceral fat after 50.
Looking for a great way to reduce your visceral fat mass while adding rich flavor to your favorite dishes? Consider adding some cumin to your recipes.
“Consistent, long-term use of cumin may aid in decreasing fat deposits throughout the body by regulating insulin because when the cells absorb too much glucose, the body converts it to fat. Adequate insulin can mitigate this occurrence,” says Best.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a popular spice that is native to areas in the Middle East and India. The flowering plant is a member of the parsley (Apiaceae) family and it produces seeds that are either ground into powder or used whole. Cumin has been used for centuries as both a flavoring agent and as a preservative.
There are almost no calories in ground cumin. If you add the spice to recipes in typical amounts, the spice will not add calories, carbohydrates, protein, or fat to your diet.
If you use cumin seed, a single serving will add a few calories to your daily total. One tablespoon (about 6 grams) of cumin seed provides about 22 calories. According to USDA data, most of the calories come from carbohydrate (3 grams), primarily in the form of fiber. There is also a small amount of protein (1 gram) and fat (1.3 grams) in cumin seed.
A tablespoon of cumin seeds will also provide some vitamins. You’ll benefit from a boost in vitamin A (2% of your recommended daily intake), vitamin C (1%), riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 (1% each). You’ll also get 1.5 grams of choline.
Minerals in cumin include calcium (56 mg), iron (4 mg), magnesium (22 mg), phosphorus (30 mg), potassium (107 mg), sodium (10 mg), and small amounts of zinc, copper, and manganese.
2. Green banana flour
If you’re looking for a great way to reduce your visceral fat while enjoying your favorite foods, try incorporating some green banana flour into your recipes in place of white flour.
“Green banana flour is one of the world’s richest sources of gut-healthy prebiotic resistant starch, which is a special nutrient that is proven to help make your cells more responsive to insulin, ultimately helping prevent fat storage around the waist,” explains Kara Landau, RD, founder at Uplift Food. “Green banana flour can be added to a nourishing smoothie or oatmeal bowl, or even blended in with your coffee.”
3. Lupini beans
Whether you’re adding them to a salad or putting them in a soup for some added protein, lupini beans are an easy and delicious way to reduce dangerous visceral fat on your body.
“Lupini beans are a low net carbohydrate, high prebiotic fiber, and high protein legume that do not spike blood sugar levels, which in turn assists with reducing fat storage and preventing weight gain around the waist,” says Landau, who notes that lupini beans can also be ground down to make a protein- and fiber-rich flour.
Lupini beans nutrition facts
One 1 cup (166g) of lupini beans, cooked and boiled without salt, contains approximately 198 calories, 26 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of fiber.
Lupini beans contain generous amounts of manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. They also offer folate and vitamin A.
Note that while lupini beans naturally contain only a small amount of sodium, the prepared canned variety can be quite heavy on the salt. One popular brand contains 960mg of sodium per ½ cup serving (that’s 41.7% of the 2300mg upper limit intake recommended by the CDC).
4. Fatty fish
Adding some omega-3-rich fish to your diet may benefit more than just your heart health—it could help you shed that dangerous visceral fat, too.
“Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, are rich in both vitamin D and omega-3s,” says Isa Kujawski, MPH, RDN, founder and owner of Mea Nutrition. “Low levels of both of these have been linked to higher visceral fat.”
5. Dark leafy greens
Spinach and kale are great for adding fiber and essential nutrients to your diet, as well as helping you shed that visceral fat you’ve been carrying.
“Dark leafy greens such as collard greens, spinach, and kale are good sources of calcium, a mineral which has been shown to downregulate fat storage hormones and has been associated with reduced visceral adiposity in overweight and obese individuals,” explains Kujawski.
Spinach Nutrition Facts
Spinach is a high-fiber food that can add volume, color, and texture to your favorite recipes. Whether eaten cooked or raw, this leafy green vegetable offers a nutritious punch without adding any fat or natural sugars to your diet—helpful if you’re monitoring either of these.
Three cups of spinach (85g) provide 20.4 calories, 2g of protein, 3g of carbohydrates, and zero fat. Spinach is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Sodium: 64.6 mg
Vitamin K: 410mcg
Vitamin C: 24mg
Carbs: Most of the carbohydrates in spinach are from fiber, making it a very filling vegetable. Along with other leafy greens, it may be considered a “free” food on a low-carbohydrate diet because it provides fiber while being low in calories. Spinach also ranks close to zero on the glycemic index. This means that it will have minimal impact on your blood sugar levels.
Fats: There is no fat and no cholesterol in spinach. But adding a little fat to your spinach-containing meal may help your body absorb more of its beta-carotene—especially if the spinach is raw or in the form of a steamed puree.
Protein: There are 2 grams of protein in three cups of fresh spinach. That means spinach has almost as much protein as it does carbohydrates.
Vitamins and Minerals: Three cups of fresh spinach provide more than three times your daily vitamin K needs (340%). You also get roughly 25% of your recommended vitamin C intake and 10% of your suggested potassium intake from a three-cup serving of spinach. Cooking spinach increases its concentration of vitamin A. You will get 64% of your daily value in a half-cup serving of boiled spinach.
Calories: There are approximately 20 calories in three cups of spinach, or just under 7 calories per cup. That makes its calorie count similar to that of kale, which provides 7.2 calories per cup (raw).
Spinach is high in fiber while also being low in calories and fat. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium, making it a great addition to a nutritious meal plan.
Kale Nutrition Facts
Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is often labeled a superfood because it is so high in nutrients per calorie. Kale is also low in fat and high in fiber, making it a great addition to almost any diet for the substantial nutritional and health benefits it provides.
Different varieties of kale provide different eating experiences. Some are more pungent, for instance, while others have a fairly mellow flavor. This enables you to choose the variety that you enjoy most.
One cup of raw kale (20.6g) provides 7.2 calories, 0.6g of protein, 0.9g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Kale is a great source of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as potassium and calcium. The following nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Vitamin A: 49.6mcg
Vitamin K: 80.3mcg
Vitamin C: 19.2mg
Carbs: One cup of raw kale contains less than a gram of carbohydrate. Most of this carbohydrate is in the form of fiber (0.8 of the 0.9 total grams). The remainder consists of a small amount of naturally occurring sugars. The glycemic load of kale is estimated to be 3, making it a low-glycemic food. Glycemic load indicates a food’s impact on blood sugar and, unlike the glycemic index, takes portion size into account when estimating this effect.
Fats: There is almost no fat in kale. However, the way that you prepare this green superfood may change the nutrition it provides. If you cook kale in butter or oil, for instance, or rub olive oil on the leaves before roasting them or adding them to a salad, there will be additional fat.
Protein: Kale provides less than 1 gram of protein per one-cup serving. The protein it does contain is easily digestible.
Vitamin and Minerals: Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. As a plant-based source of calcium, it is a favorable addition to vegetarian and vegan meal plans.5 Kale also provides a good amount of potassium, along with trace amounts of manganese, copper, and some B vitamins.
Calories: One cup of raw kale contains only 7.2 calories. When compared to other leafy greens, kale has slightly fewer calories than a cup of shredded iceberg lettuce (10 calories) and slightly more calories than a cup of spinach (6.7 calories).
Kale is a low-calorie vegetable that is extremely high in fiber. One cup of raw kale provides a variety of nutrients, especially vitamins A, K, and C, but also potassium and calcium.