Oct. 19, 2006 -- We all have spoken about how great it would be to have a flatter stomach. As a personal nutrition, exercise and lifestyle coach, my clients often tell me during their evaluation that getting a flat stomach is their motivation and main goal.
How can you get a flatter stomach with nutrition?
Three main ingredients go into getting a flat stomach.
First, there is digestion. Digestion starts with your brain, by deciding what to eat, followed by the chewing that takes place in your mouth. From there digestion travels to the stomach, the small and large intestines, and finally to the colon.
The goal of each single step is to break down your food.
When your food is properly chewed it mixes with digestive juices such as the enzyme amylase that breaks down carbohydrates, the enzyme protease for protein and the enzyme lipase for fat.
If you do not chew your food properly, your body can't break down its nutrition, which is needed for your hormones to improve your metabolization of fat, carbohydrates and protein. In addition, your stomach might inflate and expand through bloating, because large food particles get into your gastrointestinal tract.
Second, bacteria in your stomach helps you digest your food. Your gut has good and bad bacteria. When the good bacteria, called probiotics or lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum, streptococcus yhermophilus, just to name a few, get overgrown by yeast, your digestion does not work 100 percent as well.
Friendly bacteria do the following:
Assist in normalizing bowel transition time
Help in aiding nutrition
Prevent microbes from taking over, creating an alkaline environment
Manufactures important B vitamins that help metabolize protein, fat and carbohydrates.
If your body has a lack of friendly bacteria, your digestive system doesn't function optimally and it doesn't support your nutritional intake to help your metabolization. Additionally, candida microbes start to overgrow in your gut, releasing toxins that can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, bloating, indigestion and constant fatigue.
Third, by eating foods that come as close as possible to their natural form -- unprocessed foods -- you provide your body with fiber to prevent constipation. What's constipation? If it takes you longer then 24 hours to pass a stool, you are dealing with constipation and you need to make lifestyle changes. If this has happened to you before, you know that when you are constipated your stomach expands and you feel bloated.
Eating for a Flatter Stomach
Increase your fresh foods, fruits and vegetables to increase your soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber adds moisture to your stool to soften it and insoluble fiber aids in the transition time as it scrapes out the digestive wall.
Another benefit from insoluble fiber is that those are empty calories and can't be absorbed. Remember, your stool is leftover waste material. Who wants to have it in your body more than 24 hours?
Your enzymes, such as amylase, protease and lipase, along with probiotics and fiber help to contribute to a flat stomach.
Notice that I said contribute? Exercise is another important factor that can not be neglected. What kind of exercise? Any kind of exercise helps you burn calories, improve digestion and avoid constipation. It's cheaper than any liposuction.
Here's a list of foods that will help you get that flat stomach.
Apples, to increase your fiber content
Nonfat, plain yogurt to increase your friendly bacteria
Grapefruits, because they are high in B vitamins, which aid in any weight-loss program
Sauerkraut, which aids in your bowel transition time
Broccoli, which provides many nutrients for your hormones to produce enzymes
Again, take time to chew your food. It's not just about what you eat. It's more important to focus on what your body can absorb.
In addition, exercise is another factor that can't be neglected and should be addressed as well. Get ready for your flat stomach!
Stefan Aschan is a diet and exercise consultant in New York City.Click here to read more.