This year Men’s Health Week (12-18 June) is focusing on belly fat. Belly fat is often a ‘hidden fat’ because it is tucked away inside your body, giving a false sense of security about how healthy you really are. A man may not look seriously overweight, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem lurking beneath the surface around your vital organs.
Amongst other problems, a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Heart Research UK supports the Men’s Health Forum’s message to men and is encouraging men of all sizes to take a look at their belly and take steps to cut down those love handles for a happier and healthier heart.
The best course of action is, of course, sensible eating, frequent calorie-burning workouts and better sleep. It’s time to restock your kitchen with some of our belly fat reducing favourites.
This “super” grain is gluten free, high in fibre and an excellent source of protein. Quinoa can be substituted for, or added to, nearly any other grain and is particularly good in pilafs. Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. An excellent replacement for white rice.
We all know that increasing the proportion of vegetables in our daily diet will help to burn off fat, but broccoli perhaps is the number one when it comes to replacing something fatty with something fantastic. This cruciferous champion is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and A, as well as folate, which are needed for numerous functions in the body . Try with cauliflower and curried chickpeas in a hearty soup.
The distinctive asparagus is loaded with vitamins and fibre that helps to keep the digestive system healthy. You cannot beat asparagus for versatility; it can be grilled, steamed, boiled or microwaved and once eaten, the fibre will keep you feeling full. Unlike some vegetables, it is a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that contributes to keeping the skin and eyes, and immune system healthy. Leave the oven chips in the freezer and enjoy this tasty, nutritious alternative.
Rich in vitamin C and fibre, these berries can be eaten raw, in juices or as a means of boosting the nutrient content of muffins, cakes and crumbles. Blueberries are an excellent source of the antioxidants called anthocyanins and pterostilbene. Treat yourself to a blueberry muffin and leave out the chocolate.
Perfect as a quick snack on its own, paired with fresh fruit, or made into a smoothie, Greek yogurt contains friendly bacteria, beneficial to your digestive system. This gut-friendly alternative to ice cream is low in sugar and high in protein and a good source of vitamin D and calcium. Your belly will be left feeling good and digesting regularly in no time. Why not try instead of ice cream