It’s never too late to get your body back in shape—especially when your local supermarket has plenty of foods for weight loss that burn belly fat. As you age, fat starts accumulating around your midsection, which is especially dangerous because it can be an indicator of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. To help you banish belly fat for good, we’ve compiled 10 best foods for weight loss that can shrink your gut.
1. Matcha Tea
Green tea’s waist-whittling effects are hard to reckon with—until you’ve met matcha. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the potent belly-fat-melting catechin in the bright brew, is 137 times greater in concentration than the amount of EGCG available from green tea, a study in the Journal of Chromatography found. Is matcha not your match? Sneak the superfood powder into one of our best-ever weight loss smoothies.
2. Sprouted Bread
When you’re trying to burn belly fat, bread can be your best friend or worst enemy—depending on which loaf you choose. Instead of reaching for nutrient-void white bread, opt for toast baked with sprouted grains. “Sprouted whole grains tend to have a different flavor profile, but there are a lot of health benefits associated with them because—depending on the grain—they can contain vitamin C, vitamin B, fiber, folate, and some additional amino acids,” says Jessica Crandall, a Denver-based RD, certified diabetes educator and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 19 Best & Worst Store Bought Breads.
Swap your mayo and mustard for a dose of guac. Avocados are a potent fruit when it comes to fighting belly fat. They’re loaded with monounsaturated fats that keep you slim and satiated. A study in Nutrition Journal also found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch had less desire to snack or eat afterward. As one of our best foods that burn belly fat, we love sneaking avo into smoothies and baked goods.
Eggs are a healthy and quick breakfast and dinner option because they’re high in muscle-building protein and fat-burning choline. But you don’t want to throw away the yolks. About half of the egg’s protein is found in the sunny goodness. Plus, the yolk just happens to be the top dietary source of fat-burning choline. One study found that choline supplementation reduced BMI as well as levels of the hunger hormone leptin, adding that the nutrient breaks fat down for use as an energy source.
5. Dark Chocolate
Cocoa butter, the natural oil found in chocolate, is made up of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (specifically, fat-burning oleic acid) as well as oft-avoided saturated fats. However, one-third of the fats in cocoa is stearic acid, a saturated fat that doesn’t elevate blood fat levels to the same degree that other saturated fatty acids do. What’s more, dark chocolate containing 70 to 85 percent cacao packs in more fiber than the milky variety, an important factor for weight loss and maintenance.
6. Peanuts & Peanut Butter
Besides for making a delicious spread or dip, peanuts also pack in a belly-fat-blasting effect. Genistein, a compound that acts on obesity genes and reduces your body’s ability to store fat, is present in this versatile nut. What’s more, peanuts are brimming with polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to “turn on” genes in visceral fat that are linked to reduced fat storage and improved sugar metabolism in the body, according to a Uppsala University study.
A study in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more visceral abdominal fat—the fat stored around your organs that can potentially result in metabolic ailments—than those who avoided the allium.
8. Wild Salmon
If your goal is to show off your abs, you may want to add omega-3-rich wild salmon to your shopping list. A study in the journal PLoS One reveals that participants who added omega-3 fats to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who didn’t. Unlike their farmed cousins, wild salmon contains more anti-inflammatory omega-3s and less omega-6s, which can cause inflammation in excess.
This Icelandic-style cheese dates back to over a thousand years old, yet it’s completely underrated in the western world. One cup of the yogurt-like blend requires nearly four cups of milk to produce, which is how it achieves that divinely creamy texture. Skyr’s high protein content (it’s got about 17 grams per plain, 5.3-ounce cup) and gut-loving probiotics make this pick a double whammy against belly fat.
10. Pu-erh Tea
Consider pu-erh tea green tea’s less-appreciated twin sibling. The Chinese fermented tea is made of leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant—the same species that births green, black, and oolong teas. A study in Phytotherapy Research found that pu-erh reduced visceral fat accumulation (bye-bye, belly fat) and reduced high blood fat content in obese rats. Other research also suspects that the brew can reduce cholesterol, especially heart-harming LDL levels.