A flat stomach is probably is probably the most common thing found on a list of fitness goals. But most people will agree that this is one of the hardest battles. Considering that excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for several diseases and can also lead to feelings of bloating and discouragement, it makes sense that this should be a top priority. Experts suggest that eating certain foods can help achieve this goal. Here is a list of foods that will help to remove fat from the body. Cucumbers Quercetin, an antioxidant which reducing swelling, and a high water content (about 96%) helps to prevent bloating. These crunchy little veggies are great for snacking with some hummus or try them in a chopped salad or sprinkled on yoghurt. Lentils Lentils are a member of the super-nutritious pulse family, which also includes chickpeas, white beans, and dried peas. They are packed with protein and fibre, increasing satiety to feel full longer. They’re also a good source of iron heling to maintain a healthy metabolism. Try adding lentils to a salad or using them instead of whole grains like brown rice. Bananas Not only are bananas a great source of potassium, but they are also packed with resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that is digested slowly, maintain a sense of ‘fullness’ for longer. Resistant starch also encourages the liver to switch to fat-burning mode, boosting metabolism. Potassium helps to regulate sodium levels and may help prevent water retention which will decrease bloating. Fennel This perennial herb offers some serious benefits, helping to improve digestion, relieve GI spasms, and reduce bloat. It can be eaten raw, cooked in soups or on top of pizza or sipped as tea. Papaya This brightly coloured tropical fruit is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and folate and also contain the enzyme papain which helps the GI system break down difficult-to-digest foods, in turn preventing inflammation and belly bloat. Its great eaten fresh in the summertime and is also wonderful and refreshing in a smoothie. Whole Grains Whole grain carbohydrates actually help in staying trim. They are a great source of filling fibre, which aids digestion and are better at regulating blood sugar and insulin levels compared to their more refined counterparts. Boosting daily fibre intake can be as simple as choosing oatmeal for breakfast, snacking on plain popcorn, and choosing quinoa or brown rice over white. Yoghurt Full of beneficial probiotics that help to balance microflora and prevent bloating, yogurt is great for the gut. It is also high in protein, with 17 grams per serve (almost three times that of an egg) which helps to increase feelings of fullness. Add it to your morning smoothie or in dips or just eat is straight out of the container! Dark Chocolate A good quality dark chocolate (65% and above) can actually be very good for you. Full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, dark chocolate may help to speed up metabolism. This is great for those who have a sweet tooth but it’s important to watch portion size. A small matchbox size piece is perfect to sate cravings while keeping calories in check. Almonds Like dark chocolate, these power packed little nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help to burn fat and combat hunger. Eaten raw they are also an excellent source of protein, fibre, magnesium, vitamin E. The abundance of magnesium aids in energy production as well as building and maintaining muscle tissue. For a power packed guilt-free snack, reach for a handful of almonds. In addition to eating the right types of food, the following strategies have been shown to help achieve and maintain a flat stomach. Eat smaller portions and eat them slowly: Eating a big meal can bring on bloating, causing the digestive system to work overtime. Opting for smaller, more frequent meals as well as eating slowly to avoid gulping air while eating is key to avoid bloating. Cutting calories: The math is simple: cutting calories = losing weight. That being said, restricting calorie intake too much can be counterproductive and result in decreased metabolic rate, reducing the number of calories burned per day. Eat more soluble fibre: Soluble fibre aids in the absorption of large quantities of water and slows down the passage of food through the digestive tract, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. It may decrease the number of calories the body is able to absorb making it less likely for fat to accumulate around the internal organs and reducing waist circumference and risk factors for several diseases. Take Probiotics: Regularly taking probiotics may reduce the risk of weight gain and accumulation of fat in the abdominal cavity by shifting the balance of gut bacteria toward beneficial flora. Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and Lactobacillus gasseri are the best strains to aid in weight loss. Increasing intake of some types of yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi and pickles can help to boost probiotic intake.