Diet tips to help burn your belly fat

Foods to burn belly fatPic: Jupiter Images

From beer belly to spare tyre to 'apple' shape, we have a host of terms of our wobbly tummies, but no matter what you call it, your belly fat is bad for your health.

Research has shown a link between belly fat, or visceral fat, and serious long-term conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Change your spare tyre into a flat tummy with these belly-busting diet tips.

Olive oil
Strange as it may seem, given that olive oil contains fat, it could help you to lose that tummy by curbing your hunger. Compounds within this healthier of oils stimulates a hormone that sends a signal to your brain that you are full, thereby reducing the chances of unhealthy snacking.

Dark chocolate
It is only fairly recently that dark chocolate has been getting the praise it deserves. The truth is this bittersweet treat is chock full of zinc, which increases the body's levels of leptin. This hormone is instrumental in regulating energy expenditure, fat storage and appetite, so it could help to melt away that paunch. Just remember to go for the 'everything in moderation' approach.

Formerly considered too fatty for slimmers, avocado is in fact something of a fat-burning superfood. Not only is it rich in fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer, it contains a number of essential nutrients, and most importantly monounsaturated fatty acids, which are known to help burn belly fat.

Low in calories but high in flavour, watermelons works its magic by altering blood lipids, affecting the deposit of plaque on the artery, and thereby lowering the risk of developing belly fat. In animal trials conducted at the University of Kentucky, those that were given watermelon juice in their diet for eight weeks were found to have reduced their body weight, and a significant amount of the weight loss came from abdominal fat.

Little and often
It's not all about what you eat - how you eat can make a big difference. Too many dieters fall into the trap of staying away from food of any kind for long periods, fearing that they'll fall off the healthy food wagon. But this particular technique is likely to send your body into starvation mode, and that means whatever you have eaten will be stored as fat, just in case your body gets hungry. And your tummy is the first place those extra pounds will gather. Don't do without - tuck into a small meal or snack every three hours to keep your body happy and burning those calories.

Have you managed to lose your spare tyre? Was it down to diet or exercise, and how did you do it? Leave your comments below...