Intra-abdominal adipose tissue, also known as belly fat, is not only viewed as unpleasing aesthetically but also has a direct affect on the organs of the guttural region, slowing their function and wreaking havoc on your metabolism.
All the crunches in the world won’t get you those washboard abs you’ve been seeing in magazines and on your favorite celebrities if you don’t monitor your nutrition. Here are 5 things you should try to avoid so you can stop hiding behind loose clothing.
1. Avoid XENOESTROGENS
Xenoestrogens are a type of naturally occurring or artificially produced compounds that have hormone-like properties and imitate estrogen. They are created artificially in the form of herbicides and pesticides to protect our produce from pesky bugs and insects. Unfortunately they have an estrogenic affect on your body and can cause you to store belly fat. This is why it is always important to thoroughly wash your produce before preparing it. Or, better yet, select certified organic products that don’t use these pesticides. Try to choose local, community based farms that refrain from using these contaminants.
2. Just say no to SUGAR
Sugars, such as refined, simple carbohydrates and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are troublesome carbs and are lurking in most package and processed foods like breads, pastas, cereals, snack bars, cakes, and almost anything that is white in color. These carbs will spike your insulin levels, decreasing your natural hormonal response to breakdown and utilize abdominal fat as energy.
Try to consume more complex carbohydrates like sprouted, complete whole grains and legumes like cous cous, quinoa, barley and buckwheat. But remember, carbs aren’t just grain-based, they come from vegetables also. Cruciferous veggies in particular are packed with phytonutrients that fight against estrogenic chemicals (remember xenoestrogens) further whittling away at that stubborn midsection.
3. Bye bye BAD FATS
Bad fats contain genetically modified, hydrogenated, trans-fatty acids. Run from these types of fats! They are hard to process and expel from the body. They’ll linger around like an old spare tire around your belly.
Another type of fat that shouldn’t be consumed in high amounts is saturated fat – measuring in with high calories, slowing digestion and our metabolism.
Lastly, Omega 6 fatty acids are linoleic acids found in all types of oils, examples are safflower, soybean, corn and sunflower oils, which tend to cause pro-inflammatory responses in our bodies. Try cooking with coconut oils or extra virgin olive oils, but be careful not to burn them – this converts their structure into trans-fats. With our Westernized diets being high in Omega 6’s we need to increase our intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, these are found in oily fish (choose wild, not farm raised), shellfish, avocados, flax seeds and walnuts. These anti-inflammatory agents help to return our bodies to homeostasis where it can perform optimally and produce a conducive atmosphere for getting toned.
4. Adios HIGH-PROTEIN, LOW-CARB DIETS
Try to avoid high-protein, low carb diets. Replacing carbs with protein from meats, poultry, fish and diary can have negative, long lasting consequences. Symptoms of stomach distention and dehydration can be felt within days as our bodies spiral away from their natural state of homeostasis and begin storing excess levels of proteins as fats. Look at the big picture and think about balancing your diet You need all three types of macronutrients for repair, energy, cellular reproduction and repair, as well as hormone response and signaling.
5. PACKAGED OR PROCESSED? Big no-no’s!
Simply avoid packaged and processed foods. Your strategy in the supermarket should be to circulate around the outside of the store and avoid the aisles. Fresh produce, meats without contaminants, raw unpasteurized dairy, sprouted whole grains, foods with short label listings of two or three ingredients are all great ways to go. Foreign substances, chemicals and processing procedures alter not only our food but the way our bodies respond to them.
In conclusion, keep it fresh. Shop often and cook regularly, rotating your produce, proteins and fats to get all your essential nutrients. That’s what my nutrition professor in college taught me. If you want six pack abs you have to consider eating right and having your food work for you. When inflammation occurs in the guttural region it inhibits our organs from performing their intended processes of digestion. Avoiding the bad choices I’ve provided and implementing the good ones will help you feel more energized, improve your workouts and keep your body balanced lowering your stress levels. Remember folks, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet!