As a person's age increases and metabolism decreases, unsightly belly fat tends to build rapidly. Those with a genetic predisposition to gaining weight around the midsection are more prone to pack on the pounds. Not dealing with that extra fat can lead to serious health concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, gallbladder problems, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic. You can reduce belly fat without exercise by following a healthy diet and avoiding fat-building foods.
Foods to Avoid
Sprinkle salt on your food sparingly. Excess sodium makes your body retain water, creating a puffy and bloated appearance in your middle.
Cut down on the carbs. Your body stores foods, such as bagels and breads, as backup fuel to be utilized during long periods of exercise. However, if you don't burn carbs, they quickly build up in your belly.
Eliminate fried foods. These are high in fat and digest slowly, making your body feel bloated and heavy.
Choose your beverages wisely. Drinks with high acidity, such as coffee, alcohol, fruit juices and carbonated beverages, can aggravate your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and cause bloating.
Avoid gaseous goods. Foods such as broccoli, legumes, cauliflower, cabbage and onions cause gas to accumulate in your GI tract.
Foods to Eat
Crack open an egg. Eggs are high in Vitamin B12 and can boost your metabolism.
Stick to lean meats and fish. Turkey, tuna and salmon are lean and low in saturated fats. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can promote a flatter tummy by decreasing stress chemicals.
Go green. Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach, romaine and arugula, are high in fiber and low in calories. To decrease daily caloric intake and curb your appetite, eat a hearty salad before every meal.
Get a little nutty. Nuts such as almonds are a filling, low-cal snack. Stick to the unsalted kinds to prevent stomach bloating.
Pick a berry. Fruits are high in fiber and satisfy a sweet tooth. Be careful to stay away from added-sugar fruit products, such as jellies, juices and sorbets.
Habits to Adapt
Cut down your caloric intake. Websites such as my-calorie-counter.com (see Resources) can help you set a weight-loss goal and track your consumption patterns. Reduce your daily intake by a couple hundred calories to shave off stubborn belly fat.
Eat five to six small meals per day. This will regulate your blood sugar and prevent binge-eating and weight gain. Regular nutrition also increases your metabolism, which aids in belly-fat burn.
Drink plenty of water. Often the brain confuses feelings of thirst with hunger, causing you to eat when your body is dehydrated. Flush out your system with eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day.
Relax. High levels of stress hormones can increase fat storage around your middle. Adopt a relaxation technique, such as yoga or meditation, to prevent stress hormone secretion.