Even if you work out regularly and can hold a plank for minutes on end, you have to dial in your nutrition to see the definition you want.
The right flat belly foods power tough workouts, build muscle, and can help you burn any belly fat that might be hiding your crazy-strong abs from sight, says board-certified sports dietitian Marie Spano, R.D., C.S.C.S. Meanwhile, the wrong ones can undo how well your workout shows up on your midsection. Here, Women's Health breaks it down for you.
1. Greek yogurt: Besides being packed with 23 grams of muscle-building protein per cup, Greek yogurt is an awesome source of calcium and probiotics, both of which can help reveal your six-pack, says Spano. In one European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, people who drank a fermented milk beverage with probiotics every day lost a significant amount of abdominal fat that hangs out between your muscles and organs. However, those who didn't drink up lost zero belly fat.
To make Greek yogurt work for your ab goals, make sure yours says that it contains “live and active cultures” right on the label. And stay away from the flavored varieties. Their sugar can both spur belly fat and fluid retention around your midsection, says registered dietitian Cassandra Forsythe, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.C.S., Girls Gone Strong advisory board member.
2. Whole grains: Complex carbs, especially from whole grains, are vital to powering your workouts and reaching your fitness goals, says Forsythe. Plus, fiber from whole grains reduces stomach fat and increases your body’s levels of satiety hormones that help keep you from overeating, says Spano.
In one Pennsylvania State University study, when dieters got all of their grains from whole grains over the course of 12 weeks, they lost about the same amount of weight as those who avoided grains altogether. But those who ate whole grains lost more fat from their midsections. Why, hello there, abs!
Forsythe’s favorite grains for defined abs are brown rice and wheat berries, which are über filling without all the bloating that some grains can cause in some fiber-sensitive women.
>> Recipe: Jalapeño Brown Rice
3. Asparagus: The green stalks are rich in prebiotic fiber, a type of fiber that fuels the good bacteria in your digestive tract and helps fight bloating, says Spano. Plus, it acts as a mild diuretic — and the less excess fluid you have in your body, the more your muscles pop, she says. Plus, asparagus’ high antioxidant value may also help keep your core muscles strong while preventing inflammation-related weight gain.
Still, when it comes to uncovering your abs, you can’t go wrong with really any veggie, she says, noting that people who eat more vegetables tend to carry around less abdominal fat — period.
>> Read more: 50 Recipes For Sneaking Vegetables Into Food
To see the rest of the foods to get you a 6-pack, click here for the original Women's Health article.