Food & Nutrition

15 Foods Proven to Flatten Your Belly

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate On PaperAleksandrova Karina/Shutterstock

Be sure to check the label before you buy chocolate bars; they could be healthier than you think. Dark chocolate that contains more than 60 percent cacao has high antioxidant properties. “It can decrease inflammation and curb your sweet cravings,” Crandall says, “so you’re not just reaching for that milk chocolate bar.” A UC San Diego study also found that people who ate chocolate on a regular basis had a lower body mass index than people who indulged less frequently. Keep a few ounces of dark chocolate in your bag for a sweet treat, along with these on-the-go snacks nutritionists always eat.

Lentils

orange / red lentils. Legumes, pulses. Orange lentils full background, top view. Heap of red lentil (masoor dal) texture as background. Top view. some red lentils forming a background patternvladibulgakov/Shutterstock

Seeds that grow in pods (like lentils, chickpeas, white beans, and dried peas) are packed with filling protein and fiber, which will stop you from reaching for a fattening midday snack. And as good sources of iron, they will also keep your metabolism running smoothly, experts say. Try pairing lentils with a salad or lean protein, such as these proven foods that make you feel full.

Chili peppers

hot chili peppersViChizh/Shutterstock

Spice up your dinner plate with chili peppers tonight; trust us, your belly will thank you. Not only do chili peppers boost your metabolism, but capsaicin—the active component that make them taste hot—may help prevent cravings and overeating. Health‘s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, recommends adding chili peppers to an omelet, salad, or stir-fry to maximize your flat-belly gains.

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