Women Healthy Body Shaping: 22 Foods To Get You Bikini Ready

Discussion in 'Dietetics' started by Riham, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. Riham

    Riham Bronze Member

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    Your favorite sunny season is right around the corner—woohoo! But between a busy job and managing a hectic household, it can feel like you're years away from being beach-body ready.

    Nothing jolts you to your senses like that first day of warm weather. The sun is shining bright enough for you to grab your sunglasses, and the temperature is so comfortably welcoming that you can finally shed your winter cable knit sweaters. And then it dawns on you. Bikini season will be here soon and you're still in fat-mounting hibernation mode. Don't panic. Not only is there is still plenty of time to prepare yourself, but getting yourself beach-body ready only requires a bit of sweat and the proper nutrition.

    Along with working in a regular sweat—and yes, it can even just be on the weekends—introducing the following nutrient-dense foods into your diet will help tone and shape your body while assisting in rapid weight loss efforts. Some foods dial up your metabolism so you can burn even more calories and torch belly fat, some heal your gut by offering up healthy probiotic bacteria, some decrease the stress and inflammation that's causing weight gain and bloating, some turn off your fat-storage genes, and others vanquish hunger and build muscle by filling you up with healthy fats, lean proteins, and fiber. So, get a pen in one hand and a shopping list in your other—and get to it!

    1-BANANAS
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    Eat This! Because: The potassium will help flatten your belly

    Potassium-rich foods are ideal for looking and feeling slim and trim in that swimsuit, so think ahead and pack one in your bag before heading off to the gym or to work. Potassium is a nutrient that helps the body flush out water and sodium—two things that make you appear bloated. Conversely, foods like potato chips and pickles are packed with sodium and can force your body to retain water, which makes you swell. Besides providing a healthy dose of potassium, bananas also increase bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach. But wait, there's more!

    2- CINNAMON
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    Eat This! Because it: Turns off fat genes

    Your beach trip with the girls is only a few weeks away and you're not looking forward to it as much as you should be thanks to your ever-softening stomach. Don't panic, the solution is a simple one: Add some cinnamon to your diet. According to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, the sweet spice helps reduce levels of the hormone, insulin, so less of the sugar you consume is stored as flubber. Sprinkle it in your coffee, in greek yogurt, on apple slices, or in your morning oatmeal and start seeing results—stat!

    3-KEFIR
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    Eat This! Because it's: A fermented food that's teeming with gut-healthy probiotics

    Tighten up your bod and boost your confidence by grabbing a bottle of kefir. Although this smoothie-like drink resides next to yogurt, it won't cause the same stomach-irritating effects as the lactose-carrying dairy product does. In fact, it can actually counteract them! Ohio State University researchers found that drinking kefir can reduce bloating and gas brought on by lactose consumption by 70 percent! Some of these magical debloating abilities come from the fact that kefir is a fermented food, which has high levels of probiotics that improve digestive health and, over time, prevent bloat.

    4-BEETS
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    Eat This! Because it's: A natural detoxifier

    We're definitely not on board with those food-free, detoxifying juice cleanses to get ready for showing off a little more skin, adding some naturally-detoxifying beets to your plate is a strategy we can get behind. These jewel-toned roots contain a type of antioxidant called betalains that help repair and regenerate cells in the liver, the body's primary detox center. If you've been boozing to stay warm (no judgment, hot toddies are delicious), your liver may be feeling overworked. Beets will give it a bit of support so you're ready for that beach party when summer hits.

    5- SWEET POTATOES
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    Eat This! Because: Its carotenoids will improve your skin complexion

    After your winter-long hibernation leaves you looking a bit pasty, we can certainly understand your lack of enthusiasm to jump into a swimsuit. Rather than getting a fake tan, cook up some sweet potatoes. You'll get a sun-kissed complexion from the carotenoids, an organic pigment that gives the spuds their orange color. This antioxidant also helps to stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat. What's more, sweet potatoes' high vitamin profile (including A, C, and B6) give you more energy to burn at the gym.

    6- COLD POTATOES
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    Eat This! Because: Via its resistant starches, it promotes fat oxidation, reduces abdominal fat and sends a message to your brain that you're full

    After you roast 'em, throw those potatoes in the fridge! Eating your potatoes warm means you're missing out on the spud's super fat-fighting powers. When potatoes are cooked and then cooled, their digestible starches turn into resistant starches. As the name implies, the body has to work harder in trying to process the resistant starch—which it can't—so it passes through the small intestine undigested. This promotes fat oxidation, reduces abdominal fat, and delays hunger pangs, setting you up to be a fitter, slimmer you.

    7- LEMON WATER
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    Eat This! Because it: Keeps you hydrated

    When people are trying to get rid of their problem areas, the belly always seems to be number 1. Contrary to what many might think, water won't make your bloating worse, it's actually necessary to keep your metabolism functioning optimally. Since water retention is the body's way of holding onto fluid so it doesn't dehydrate, the opposite is true. Drinking lots of water (and skipping dehydrating booze) signals the body that it no longer needs to hold onto every last drop to stay hydrated. For even more of a kick, add a lemon to your glass. Limonene, an antioxidant in lemon peel, helps flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick, flushing fat from your system to keep your tummy toned and tight.

    8- APPLES
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    Eat This! Because it: Is a nutrient-dense source of fiber

    Keep that doctor away! Eating an apple each day can help prevent metabolic syndrome, a disorder associated with abdominal fat, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. They'll keep the doctor away and your muffin tops at bay because apples are a low-calorie, nutrient dense source of fiber, which studies have proven to be integral to reducing visceral fat. In fact, according to a study published in Diabetologia, the higher your fiber intake, the lower your BMI and your chance of Type II diabetes. Need we say more?

    9- WILD SALMON
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    Eat This! Because it: Has anti-inflammatory omega-3s and lean protein

    Fatty salmon that is rich in omega-3s helps fight inflammation while the high-quality lean protein content fights excess fat accumulation. Even better, this delicious fish will help your skin bounce back after a hot day under those UV rays. Loading your plate with a serving of salmon twice a week will not only keep your heart healthy and waistline trim, but your skin will be glowing from head to toe from all the healthy fats.

    10- ALMOND MILK
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    Eat This! Because it: Provides you with calcium, a dairy free alternative and loads of muscle-building magnesium

    If you're looking to get your body bikini-ready in a jiffy, you'll have to cut the cow milk. Dairy can be very bothersome to the belly because many adults naturally produce less of the necessary digestive enzyme lactate as we get older. Rather than ban that refreshing iced coffee altogether, add some almond milk. Like milk, almonds are high in calcium, which can help the body burn more and store less fat. They're also a great source of magnesium, a mineral that's involved in muscle and nerve function as well as protein synthesis, which, in turn, increases lean muscle mass. According to researchers, magnesium intake helps boost lipolysis, a process by which your body releases fat from its stores.

    11- GRAPEFRUIT

    Eat This! Because it:
    Burns fat while reducing appetite

    You don't have to completely overhaul your diet to get in bikini body shape, simply eat half a grapefruit before each meal. This tactic can help whittle your middle by up to an inch in just six weeks, according to a study published in the journal Metabolism. The scientists attribute the powerful effects of the grapefruit's fat-zapping phytochemicals. But that's not all! Another study conducted by Japanese researchers found that the scent of grapefruit can "turn on" calorie-burning brown fat cells, enhancing the breakdown of fat while reducing appetite.

    12- MUSTARD

    Eat This! Because it: Boosts your metabolism to help you lose unwanted pounds

    Just because you're trying to tone up doesn't mean you can't indulge in a burger once in awhile. When you do, just be sure to leave the mayo in the fridge and grab some mustard. Thanks to the capsaicin and phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor, eating just one teaspoon of the stuff—for just 5 calories—can boost your calorie-burning furnace by up to 25 percent for several hours after you consume it, according to Oxford Polytechnic Institute researchers. That means avoiding anything that's neon yellow or honey-based. Our go-to is Grey Poupon Classic Dijon.

    13-TOMATOES

    Eat This! Because it: Protects your skin from UV rays

    As the weather gets warmer, the sun's UV rays get stronger. Although it's important to protect your skin year round, it's even more crucial to do so when you're about to be laying out by the pool. Consuming foods high in antioxidants, like lycopene-rich tomatoes, will help ward off skin damage from the inside out. If you're just looking for a quick snack, pop some cherry tomatoes in your mouth—they contain the highest amount of lycopene compared to other tomatoes—but for even more skin-protecting power, be sure to cook the red fruits. Cooking tomatoes actually increase their concentration of lycopene, so add some tomato paste to sauces or omelets or whip up a batch of marinara sauce for cauliflower pizza!

    14- APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
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    Eat This! Because it: Quiets your hunger hormones and torches belly fat

    Studies show acidic foods help increase the rate at which the body burns off carbs by up to 40 percent! And the faster you burn off carbs, the sooner your body starts incinerating fat, so you can fit into that suit you bought. Apple cider vinegar, in particular, is composed mostly of acetic acid, which has been shown to delay gastric emptying and slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Research published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistryfound that a small pool of study participants given ACV over a 12-week period lost more weight, body fat and inches from their middle than participants that were given a placebo. How does it work? Besides maintaining stable blood sugar levels, ACV produces proteins inside the body that burn fat.

    15- GINGER TEA
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    Eat This! Because it: Banishes bloat and eases digestion

    Your love of processed, chemical-additive-laden foods which cause inflammation, a puffy tummy, and a sluggish digestive system—certainly isn't doing any wonders for your bikini body. There is a simple solution, however. You can wake up your innards by starting the morning with a cup of ginger tea. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. This drink will help improve the digestion and elimination of your food and cut unhealthy cravings for salt or sugar. Boil 1/2 tsp grated ginger with 1 cup of water and pour into a cup with your favorite tea bag.

    16- PROTEIN POWDER
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    Eat This! Because: Protein helps you burn calories, incinerate fat, build muscle, and keep you fuller longer: a quadruple-threat

    In order to get in the best bikini body shape, it's not just about what you eat, it's also about pumping the weights. Cardio and light weights torch fat and build lean muscle tissue that hungrily melt your problem areas. But you'll need to feed your muscles in order to reap the benefits. Start your day off with a burst of protein. A high-protein start will prevent surprise mid-morning or early afternoon energy crashes that leave us reaching for sugar, caffeine or a carbohydrate load for a quick boost. Supplementing your smoothie with protein powder is excellent for satiety, not to mention supporting the lean muscle that enables you to burn more fat.

    17- CHERRIES
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    Eat This! Because it: Helps you rest and recover

    Sleep is a huge part of making any diet and exercise plan work, as it allows your body to process and recover from all the sweat and breakdown of muscle. And cherries are the perfect fruit for the job. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank just one ounce of tart cherry juice a day reported that they slept longer and more soundly than those who didn't. What's going on? Cherries act as a natural sleep aid thanks to their melatonin content, a hormone that helps control your sleep cycle. So enjoy a cup of cherries for dessert, they'll help you maintain your toned physique by replacing less virtuous desserts and moving along your snooze process.

    18- TURMERIC
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    Eat This! Because it: Decreases both inflammation and reliance on bloat-inducing salt

    Cutting out extra sodium is a must to obtain your best bikini body. The mineral causes water to move from your bloodstream into your skin, which is why a dose of cheese puffs with give you a puffy look. Instead of seasoning with salt, try seasoning meals with other herbs and spices. Turmeric, in particular, is one of the magical nutrients that's been shown to work directly on our fat genes, turning off the specific genetic mechanism that's responsible for inflammation and obesity.

    19- WALNUTS
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    Eat This! Because: It's full of healthy fats that keep you satiated and shut off fat genes

    A healthy snack can help keep you satisfied long enough to get you to your next meal. The perfect things to reach for when you need a quick, nutrient-packed meal on the go, at your start your day, or if you find yourself swamped in the middle of a hectic one, are walnuts! Healthy fats like the polyunsaturated fats found in walnuts activate genes that reduce fat storage and improve insulin metabolism. At about 13 grams per one-ounce serving, walnuts are one of the best dietary sources.

    20- RED PEPPERS
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    Eat This! Because: The vitamin C helps to minimize stress and boost immunity

    You exercise and eat right, but you can't seem to get rid of that stubborn bit of flab above your belt—and it's your biggest birthday suit insecurity. Since you're doing everything else right, the trouble may lie in your day-to-day stresses. If your job is really demanding and you're constantly super-stressed, your cortisol levels are likely sky-high, which encourages the body to store fat around your midsection. While you likely can't up and quit your job, you can add some vitamin C-rich foods to your diet. Studies show that in addition to immune-boosting benefits related to the common cold, vitamin C helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress on people. And red peppers serve up nearly two days' worth of the nutrient in every cup.

    21- DARK CHOCOLATE
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    Eat This! Because it's: Good for a healthy gut and reduces inflammation

    If your bikini body diet has you missing out on the indulgences in life, look no further than dark chocolate. A study at Louisiana State University found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate and boost our body's production of gut-healthy polyphenolic compounds, including butyrate, a fatty acid that encourages the body to burn fat as fuel and turns off genes linked to inflammation. (Add fruit to the chocolate to boost fermentation and the release of the compounds.) Make sure you go with chocolate that has a cacao content of 70 percent or above—these have the highest concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols.

    22- DANDELION GREENS
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    Eat This! Because it's: A natural diuretic that keeps your tummy flat

    Dandelion greens, one of our favorite Spring Foods To Help Shed Your Winter Weight are great for when you're feeling "flat belly-focused weeks." They're gentle diuretics that blast excess weight by helping your body get rid of extra fluids. These bitter-sweet spring greens are bursting with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A recent study found that steaming the greens increased their total antioxidant properties by 67 percent. And studies have found that this plant is protective against obesity as well as depression, fatigue, immune system problems, and even cancer.

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