Getting rid of belly fat isn’t just a cosmetic desire. It’s necessary for better health. Belly fat is one of the most dangerous areas to store fat. In fact, belly fat increases the risks of premature death even for those at a healthy weight.
For this reason, losing the extra padding around your waist can significantly improve your health.
Losing Belly Fat (Visceral Fat)
Two types of fats can exist in our bodies – Subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat stored just beneath our skin. Visceral fat is the fat stored deep in our bodies.
Visceral fat is also often called “belly fat” because it is found in our abdomen and around our organs.
Subcutaneous fat has an important function on our bodies. This type of fat provides a cushion when we sit, lie down, or fall. Without this fat, falls would cause many more broken bones. Some of our energy is stored as fat.
We need energy to live, play, and exercise.
Too much fat can lead to visceral fat. Visceral fat is much more dangerous when it comes to our health. Visceral fat or “deep belly fat” drastically increases the risk of developing a multitude of conditions like
- Heart disease
- Chronic Inflammation
- Mood Disorders
- Some Cancers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Fortunately, we have collected a list of foods that can help burn belly fat…
Below is a list of the top 32 foods that burn belly fat fast. These foods also promote overall weight loss and fat loss.
32 Foods that Burn Belly Fat (Visceral Fat)
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
According to several studies, apple cider vinegar promotes weight loss (6, 7, 8). There are lots of ways to include more apple cider vinegar into your diet. Apple cider vinegar tastes fantastic as an ingredient in your favorite slaw and salad dressing recipes.
Keep in mind that drinking large amounts of apple cider vinegar can cause tooth erosion. This is why I prefer adding apple cider vinegar to my recipes instead of drinking pure apple cider vinegar.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are one of my favorite ingredients to blend into my smoothies, tomato sauces, cheese sauces, and pesto sauces. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, and plant-based omega-3s.
Chia seeds are powerhouses when it comes to nutrition.
Thanks to the fiber and plant-based protein, chia seeds are extremely filling. Soluble fiber foods are crucial when it comes to losing belly fat. In fact, research shows that fiber intake is a stronger predictor of overall weight loss success than macronutrient intakes. (9).
3. Green Tea
Women who drink green tea lose more weight than women who don’t. Or at least, that is the case in one fascinating study (10).
This isn’t the only study that shows green tea helps with weight loss. Based on a review of several studies, green tea should definitely make the top of the fat-burning foods list (11).
4. Coconut Oil
The superstar ingredient in coconut oil is MCT oil. MCT oil is less likely to be stored as fat. (12, 13).
So, when losing belly fat is one of your goals, coconut oil may be a beneficial cooking option.
Does this mean you should always cook with coconut oil? Different oils provide different benefits. The best approach is to use a variety of different healthy fat oils.
Healthy options include:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
Each of these provides different proportions of healthy fats.
5. Peanut Butter
One of the best ways to lose belly fat is to eat protein at every meal. Like fiber, protein promotes feelings of satiety and aids in weight loss. Protein also takes more energy to digest than other macronutrients.
So, protein not only helps with portion control but also burns more calories than other macronutrients. In other words, protein foods, like peanut butter and other nut butters, are foods that help burn belly fat.
6. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains probiotics. Probiotics promote a healthy gut.
The western diet, however, hurts our gut. The western diet is high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, fat, and preservatives. This western diet is also low in fiber. All of these characteristics contribute to poor gut health and weight gain.
Eating a variety of probiotics, along with a healthier diet, may help undo the damage (14, 15).
Bonus, the protein in Greek yogurt can help with portion control by helping you feel full.
7. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are also a good source of probiotics. As mentioned above, probiotics promote a healthy gut and may aid in weight loss (16).
Fermented vegetables like pickles, sour kraut, and kimchi are also low in calories, making them a perfect addition to a weight loss diet.
8. Brown Rice
Brown rice is the ultimate whole grain. It is high in many nutrients including:
- B vitamins
Brown rice is also another one of the fat-burning foods on the list. In a recent study, people lost weight after switching from white rice to brown rice (17).
Turmeric is more than just a flavorful herb. Studies have found that turmeric may promote weight loss.
Let’s look at one of the most interesting studies. In this study, 44 individuals dieted for 30 days. After 30 days they saw little difference in their weight.
For the next 30 days, they dieted and took curcumin. Curcumin is found in turmeric. These individuals lost significant weight when they took curcumin for 30 days (18).
Beans are super high in protein and fiber. Fiber and protein are two of the most filling foods, which makes beans the ultimate filling food.
Beans are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Since they are a plant-based protein, they make are a perfect addition to any plant-based meal.
Tofu is a complete protein even though it is completely plant-based. Thanks to the protein content, tofu is another satiety-promoting option when you are trying to lose belly fat.
Tofu also contains many other beneficial nutrients including:
- Filling fiber
- Vitamin A
12. Red Bell peppers
One of the best ways to lose belly fat is to activate your metabolism.
Red bell peppers contain capsaicin. Studies show that capsaicin can increase metabolism (19).
Bell peppers are also low in calories. So, red bell peppers promote a flat stomach because they provide little calories AND increase calorie burn.
Chilies are another food that contains metabolism-boosting capsaicin (20).
They are also packed with essential nutrients.
Chilies also contain:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- A variety of antioxidants
- Vitamin B6
The take-home message is to add more chilies to your food. When you add chilies to your recipes, you are adding flavor, nutrients, and fat-burning capsaicin.
Salmon is special because it contains DHA and EPA Omega-3s. DHA and EPA Omega-3s appear to increase metabolism. In one study, omega-3 supplementation increased metabolism by 5.3% (21).
Omega-3s may also help you burn up to 10% more calories and 27% more fat when you exercise (22).
You should aim for around 2 servings of cold-water fish, like salmon, per week.
The superstar nutrients in edamame are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Edamame is unique because of the amount of protein and fiber in one serving. One serving of edamame has a whopping 9 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.
In other words, you are going to feel FULL after eating edamame. Adding edamame to your food can help prevent overeating and, thus, promote weight loss.
Eggs – Another protein superstar. They aren’t just for breakfast anymore. You can add eggs (aka more protein) to anything from stir-fry to quiches.
Remember, adding protein to every meal is a major key to weight loss.
Eggs also contain:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Choose free-range eggs, when you shop for eggs. Free-range eggs tend to be more nutritious.
There is something special about avocadoes. A meal somehow becomes more spectacular as soon as you top it with avocado. Avocados bring more than just pizzaz to a meal though.
- Healthy fats
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
Notice that fiber made the list. Since avocados are high in fiber and healthy fats, they will help you feel full for longer.
Studies have observed that people who regularly eat avocados are less likely to be overweight or obese (23, 24).
Blueberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins may promote fat loss, including stomach fat loss. In an animal study, rats were fed a high-fat diet and blueberries. Stomach fat decreased in these rats even though they were on a high-fat diet.
Another group was fed blueberries and a low-fat diet. The rats in this group lost stomach fat, total fat, and body fat (25).
In humans, a high intake of blueberries is associated with less weight gain during aging (26).
19. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries also contain anthocyanin. Rats that consumed tart cherry juice saw a decrease in stomach fat (27).
Thinking about adding tart cherries to your routine to lose weight? You may want to start drinking tart cherry juice before bed. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin and has been shown to help with sleep.
20. Dark Chocolate
Woohoo! Dark chocolate made the list! Nothing like eating something that boosts our moods AND promotes weight loss!
Studies show that dark chocolate helps you feel full longer. In fact, people who ate dark chocolate for a snack ate 17% fewer calories later than people who ate white chocolate for a snack (28).
Another fiber-filling whole grain made this list! Studies show that oats can help reduce weight and even abdominal fat (29, 30).
If you want to eat the ultimate visceral fat-burning breakfast, try this. Top your cooked oatmeal with dark chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts or seeds, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Now you have five foods from this list in one meal!
Nuts are excellent sources of fiber and protein. When you combine fiber and protein, you get the ultimate super-filling food.
Nuts are also good sources of healthy fats and antioxidants. So not only are they filling but also overflowing with nutrients.
Almonds are a nut that deserves to be singled out. They are packed with nutrients. When you eat almonds, you are getting:
- Vitamin E
- Monounsaturated healthy fats
The nutrients in almonds have many benefits.
They can help by:
- Providing immune support
- Improving brain function
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases
Notice that almonds contain those two super-filling nutrients: Fiber and protein. They aid in weight loss by helping you feel full.
Researchers compared two groups of people. Both groups were on a diet containing the same number of calories. One group ate almonds every day and one didn’t. The group that ate almonds every day lost more weight (31).
Like nuts, seeds are an excellent source of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
Seeds work well on top of salads, as part of a trail mix, or blended into sauces. Seeds make a great plant-based protein on those meatless meals.
Flaxseeds are singled out here because they are a super seed.
- ALA Omega-3s
- Vitamin E
Along with promoting feelings of fullness, they also may help in the following ways:
- Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
- Support the immune system
- Enhance brain function
Berries, like raspberries, are known for their positive impact on our brains. No wonder the MIND diet recommends that you eat berries regularly.
Berries provide many more benefits besides brain health though. One of those benefits is they may help decrease our waistlines. Raspberries are low in calories and high in fiber. Just one cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber! Raspberries taste great as part of a trail mix or as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, or salad.
Whenever I eat a whole apple, I always feel absolutely stuffed. Apples help us feel full because they are high in fiber and take a long time to chew.
They are also about 86% water so they are low in calories AND high in fiber. No wonder apples make the perfect snack when you are trying to lose weight.
Ginger is an herb that contains polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants, like the ones found in ginger, are anti-inflammatory.
Obesity is strongly linked to chronic inflammation. If we can decrease inflammation perhaps, we can decrease the amount of excess fat we have on our bodies. In fact, evidence suggests that these anti-inflammatory antioxidants may aid in weight loss (32, 33).
In studies, ginger intake reduced body weight and the size of the participant’s waistline (34).
Cardamom is another spice that may aid in weight loss. In one study, participants who consumed cardamon saw a decrease in their waistline (36). Although currently the amount of research is lacking.
For now, we will have to wait for more research, to determine to what degree cardamon helps with weight loss. Either way, cardamon is a nutrient-rich spice.
It contains antioxidants, which have been linked to many health benefits such as:
- Reducing the risk of chronic disease
- Reducing the risk of some cancers
- Aiding in weight loss
Popcorn is arguably one of the best whole grain snack options. Nothing says movie night like a bowl of popcorn, but could that bowl actually aid in weight loss?
If eaten without all the extra butter, then yes!
When compared to that other popular snack, potato chips, popcorn is the better choice. Popcorn is higher in fiber and helps you feel fuller. A serving of popcorn contains 15 grams of fiber!
Potato chips are low in fiber and high in calories. They leave you feeling unsatisfied even if you have eaten a large number of calories.
31. Protein Powder
Protein powder is a fantastic addition to any of your plant-based dishes and smoothies. Eating more plants is good for us, but we want to make sure we are still getting plenty of that filling protein. This is where protein powder becomes beneficial.
Protein powder plus fruits and vegetables equal a low-calorie meal with tons of nutrients, fiber, and protein.
Bananas get a bad reputation for containing sugar, but they are actually a healthy option when your goal is weight loss. Pastries and sugary processed foods contain high amounts of refined sugar and very little nutrition. Bananas, on the other hand, contain natural sugar and are packed with nutrition.
Bananas also contain high amounts of resistant starch. The greener the banana the more resistant starch it contains. The riper the banana the more sugar it contains. Resistant starch is resistant to digestion. Resistant starch may also increase the rate your body burns fat (37, 38).
So, to reap the fat-burning benefits of bananas, choose the less ripe green bananas.
The Bottom Line
To reduce belly fat, combine these 32 foods that burn belly fat with a healthy lifestyle. Here are also some key takeaways from this post.
Visceral fat, or belly fat, is linked to an increased risk of many chronic diseases. These 32 fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins contain several weight-loss promoting nutrients like:
- Healthy Fats
Most people can reduce their abdominal fat by:
- Adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean protein to their diet
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing their intake of refined sugar, ultra-processed foods, and fried foods.
For more tips on losing belly fat, read 3 evidence-based ways to lose stubborn abdominal fat.