Have you been trying too hard to lose weight? Well, according to a study published in the Health and Fitness Journal, following a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fibre and low in saturated fats could be the key to weight loss and reducing belly fat. While dieting may help fight abdominal obesity, the ones that are popular on the internet, including intermittent fasting, high protein diets, the Paleo diet, and green tea, all lack high quality evidence. None of them have shown to be effective over other types of energy restricted diets.
As per the researchers, there is still no miracle diet, food nutrient or bioactive compound that will target abdominal fat. However, a heart-healthy diet that is high fibre and low in saturated fats is a great way to prevent and reduce abdominal obesity. Diets that particularly have lower intake of trans and saturated fats and higher intake of fibre appear helpful in reducing or preventing abdominal obesity. These recommendations are consistent with heart-healthy diet like Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet.
According to the researchers, independent of body weight, a larger waist circumference increases risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. These risks are mainly related to visceral adipose tissue- fat stored below the abdominal muscles, surrounding the major internal organs. Visceral adipose tissue appears to be more metabolically active that subcutaneous fat, stored under the skin but above the abdominal muscles.
We suggest some heart healthy foods that you can include in your daily diet, and which may help you lose weight:
Oats are known to contain lots of fibre that helps bind bile acids and expel them from the body. These bile acids are made from the cholesterol. A diet that includes oats is effective in lowering the cholesterol levels in the body. Moreover, oats helps keep you fuller for longer; thanks to the presence of protein and fibre in them.
Berries are loaded with heart-healthy phytonutrients and lots of soluble fibre. Make a quick smoothie or sprinkle them over your breakfast cereal.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and phytoestrogens, all of which are helpful in keeping your heart healthy. It is best to soak or grind flaxseeds before consuming them to derive maximum health benefits.
A handful of nuts daily can do wonder on your heart. Nuts have high amount of unsaturated fats that are good for your heart that help reduce inflammation of the arteries.