One of the most pronounced and unattractive signs of excessive weight gain in belly fat. For most ladies, it makes it difficult to put on body-fitting clothes as the belly fat does not do any good for their shape.
Belly fat affects mostly ladies, but it can also affect men too. If you find yourself gaining weight and watching your stomach protrude, then it’s time for you to get on a diet for a flat stomach. The earlier you get on the diet, the faster and easier it will be for you to lose the weight.
Before we go into the Nigerian foods that help to reduce belly fat, we’ll look at the factors that promote weight gain.
Factors That Promotes Weight Gain
Excess Calorie Intake
A calorie is a unit of energy and it refers to the amount of energy in food. Excess calorie intake is the number one factor that promotes weight gain.
When you take in more than the recommended calories per day, the excess calories in the body get stored as fat. As more excess calories get stored in the body, the overall weight of the body increases leading to weight gain.
Normally, taking excess carbohydrates is the most popular culprit of weight gain, however, other nutrients like proteins can lead to weight gain when taken in excess.
Lack of Physical Activity
Why is it that you find yourself adding weight even when your calorie intake is just at the recommended value? Well, the amount of calorie that a person should take per day depends on the physical activity, age, height, metabolic health, current weight, and several other factors.
If you consume a certain amount of calories to maintain your weight, you must also perform a certain number of physical activities to maintain that weight (burn those calories). If the number of physical activities you engage in every day reduces and your calorie intake remains the same, you will definitely gain weight.
This is because there will be excess calories (due to the decreased requirement of energy), and these calories will be stored as fat.
Cortisol is a very important hormone in the body that has to do with stress. High levels of this hormone lead to an increase in the storage of fat in the belly. High levels of cortisol cause a decrease in testosterone and insulin sensitivity and an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels.
The result is weight gain, especially around stomach area.
A drop in estrogen levels can also cause more fat to be stored in the belly. This usually affects women approaching menopause.
Consuming too much alcohol can lead to an increase in belly fat. Usually, excess alcohol intake leads pot belly which is incredibly difficult to get rid of.
Nigerian Diet for Flat Stomach
As stated above, your calorie intake is one of the main factors that determine how much you weigh. If you consume a lot of calories and do not make use of these calories by performing an equal number of physical activities, you will definitely gain weight.
To watch your calorie intake and ensure that you lose belly fat completely, you should consider the following foods in your weight loss diet. These foods make up the perfect Nigerian diet for a flat stomach.
High-Quality Protein Foods
Proteins are one of the most important nutrients for weight loss. This is because proteins can keep you full for longer periods of time, reduce hunger craving and boost your metabolism. All these help to keep your calorie intake in check.
Below are some high-quality Nigerian protein foods
- Chicken: Especially chicken breast
- Eggs: Most of the proteins can be found egg whites, however, egg yolk contains other beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Beef: Always go for lean beef
- Egusi (melon seeds)
- Beans, Moi Moi, and Akara
It is important to note that you shouldn’t completely scrap off carbohydrates from your diet when you trying to lose belly fat. Instead, you should control your intake and concentrate more on fibre-rich carbohydrate foods.
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes. It affects the digestive health by slowing down digestion and improving the absorption of nutrients. This way, you will stay full for longer periods.
Nigerian foods rich in fibre include
- Grains like Oats
Foods to Avoid
Foods with high carbohydrate content will lead to significant weight gain and won’t help you lose belly fat.
Also, processed and refined carbohydrate foods could lead to an increase in belly fat as most of their fibre content has been stripped off.
Foods such as egusi and eba, egusi and pounded yam, fufu, akpu, eba, etc are high in carbohydrates. Consuming these foods will lead to an increase in belly fat, however, you should not completely scrap them. You can take semovita instead of the swallows listed above but do so in moderation.
Soft drinks contain a high amount of sugar which is one of the causes of belly fat. If you want to lose belly fat completely, it is best that you reduce or completely stop taking soft drinks.
Other Things to Note
While staying on a high-protein, low –carbohydrate diet is effective in losing belly fat, you will make little or no progress if you do not engage in exercises daily.
The best exercises for belly fat are not jogging or walking (low-intensity exercises) but high-intensity exercises like
- Jumping jacks
- Stair sprints
Other exercises that can help you maintain your flat stomach is
Instead of counting calories, you can start reducing the amount of food you take and increase the number of exercises you perform per day. When exercising, you should not only focus on exercises that work the belly but on every part of your body.
This way you’ll be able to lose belly fat faster and maintain your flat stomach.