It’s no secret that regular exercise plays a crucial role in sculpting your midsection. However, the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” exists for a reason. Whether your goal is to reveal those hidden muscles or maintain your hard-earned six-pack, the foods you eat play a pivotal role in ab definition.
“Diet plays a crucial role in achieving more defined abs because it directly affects your body fat percentage and overall body composition,” says Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian with Balance One Supplements. “To reveal well-defined abdominal muscles, you must reduce body fat while also building and maintaining muscle mass.”
The best foods to reveal your abs by burning body fat and supporting muscle growth range from lean proteins to fiber-rich fruits and healthy fats—and we’re here to share exactly what these foods are. While the following foods aren’t magic pills for six-pack abs, they are packed with nutrients that support muscle growth, fat loss, and overall health. When combined with a proper fitness routine, they can make a significant difference.
When building defined abs, lean protein is your best friend. And with 23 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, chicken breast is packed with this mighty macronutrient, which helps repair and build your muscles. Plus, it’s low in fat, making it an excellent choice for those looking to shed belly fat.
“Lean protein sources like skinless chicken breast are low in calories and high in protein, helping with muscle repair and growth,” says Best.
Salmon is a superstar for its omega-3 fatty acids and high-quality protein content. Research shows that the healthy fats found in fatty fish like salmon help reduce inflammation and promote a lean physique. Additionally, eating salmon regularly can boost your metabolism and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Best says, “Fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and support overall health while providing protein.”
Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse with 10 grams of protein per 100 grams. It’s also rich in probiotics that support digestion and help maintain a healthy gut. It’s a versatile food that can be enjoyed with fruits, nuts, or honey, making it a tasty addition to your ab-friendly diet.
“High in protein and probiotics, Greek yogurt can aid digestion and promote a feeling of fullness,” states Best.
Eggs are a breakfast staple for a reason. They’re loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals, which studies show can help you feel full throughout the day, reducing the temptation to snack on less healthy options. This increased satiety is crucial for maintaining a defined midsection.
“Eggs are a complete protein source and contain essential amino acids important for muscle development,” explains Best.
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are low in calories but high in nutrients, including fiber and vitamins. The phytochemicals in leafy greens have been shown to help control your appetite, support digestion, and provide essential nutrients for muscle recovery.
Best says, “Vegetables like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are low in calories and packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health and digestion.”