So what’s the magic formula?
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Foods rich in protein help you build muscle, while soluble fiber – found in oats, beans, fruits, and veggies – shrinks belly fat. A study from Wake Forest found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber people ate daily (about two small apples, a serving of oatmeal, a half cup of pinto beans, and a half cup of peas), their belly fat decreased by almost 4% over five years.
Adding ground flaxseed to your diet – mix a teaspoon or two into cereal or yogurt – helps prevent constipation. (It’s hard to have flat abs if your pipes are backed up.) To avoid stomachaches, increase fiber slowly and up your water intake, advises Jessica Crandall, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.