Menopause belly is challenging. A few years ago, peri-menopause introduced me to that softening around the mid-section, then the accumulation of an added half inch to an inch of lovely adipose tissue (fat). And sometimes, we get this padding from a little too much wine with dinner, or an extra dessert here and there. And sometimes, it just is. No matter how many crunches we do, our tight little six-pack remains hidden away under a couple of rolls.
Here are 3 secrets to using food to whittle away those waist-ful deposits:
Whole grains. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, eating 3 servings of whole grains a day (instead of refined grains) melted fat – about 2.4% less body fat and 3.6% less belly fat than those who ate just one-fourth of a serving. It’s speculated that it’s the fiber in whole grains that keeps you fuller longer, hence, less calories in. Quinoa, a grain with a high protein content, is yummy as a cool summer salad tossed with lemon juice and fennel.
Nuts. At Harvard, the eating habits of more than 50,000 women over 8 years was studied. Those eating nuts at least twice a week gained less weight. Even though nuts are high in fat, they also have fiber and protein that work to keep you full. Add 14 walnut halves, 20-24 almonds, or 2 T. peanut butter (all about 1 ounce serving) a couple of times into your week. My favorite is adding slivered almonds to morning oatmeal or tossed atop vegetable soups and salads.
Vinegar. Vinegar is known as acetic acid. When obese adults in Japan added 2 T. a day to their regular diets, they gained 4 fewer pounds over 3 months. This equated to 5% less belly fat and 3.5% less total body fat than those not adding vinegar. Suspicion is acetic acid works as a fat oxidizer so less fat is stored. Sounds like a tasty salad with fresh field greens and straight-from-the-vine tomatoes is in order – with an ample splash of vanilla fig balsamic vinegar and luscious olive oil!