Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How to get a flatter stomach

The benefits in having a flatter stomach go way beyond the fact that it's more physically attractive. A flatter stomach typically means you have less belly fat which means you have less weight to carry around. A flatter stomach just speaks about your general health overall, so if you want a flatter stomach, you're typically eating much healthier than the average person.   Most importantly, high abdominal fat is linked to heart disease and diabetes, so best to get rid of it on all accounts!

Interestingly, there are foods out there that seem to narrow down on your stomach problem area (think of them as the exact opposite of beer and fried foods, the things that target your stomach and make it look bigger!).

Are there foods that can help with abdominal fat specifically? Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a recent discovery in the nutrition world. Found in grass-fed cow products (both beef and milk), CLA has been shown to reduce abdominal fat in studies. Certain cheese can also contain good amounts of CLA (would you believe reduced-fat swiss cheese is near the top of that list?).  Keep an eye out for alpine products such as alpine cow milk and cheese, as they have higher contents of CLA than other altitude animal by-products.  Why are alpine animal by-products healthier?  Scientists believe it's due to the healthier vegetation at higher altitudes.  This is similar to how eating fish (like sardines) that eat healthy food themselves (namely healthy algae, for sardines) gives you some of the best health benefits.

It's highly recommend you increase intake of foods with CLA rather than take a supplement, so give that grass-fed beef and alpine milk a closer look if you see it at your local grocery.  Just don't expect to find it at your typical supermarket.  You may have to go to a specialty health supermarket for these products. 

Of course, consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.  Let us know in the comments if you've put CLA into your diet and where you're getting your CLA from!

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