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8 Best Vegetables To Shrink Belly Fat

All vegetables add nutrients to your diet, but some are better for belly fat loss goals than others.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

There isn't a bad vegetable that exists. Sure, you may alter their nutritional value if you deep fry them, but at their core, vegetables are nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich foods that deserve a place at every meal. In general, eating plenty of vegetables can help lower your risk of disease, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar, and aid in healthy weight loss. Beyond these benefits, some research even shows that there are nutrients found in specific vegetables that may also help with abdominal fat loss.

We do want to emphasize that there is no such thing as one type of food that can get rid of abdominal fat on its own. This is simply impossible. Your chances of excess abdominal fat can increase due to several things like genetics, age, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet quality, or heavy alcohol consumption. Because of these many factors, losing abdominal fat requires a balanced, holistic approach. For instance, Harvard Health says that exercising, avoiding tobacco, lowering stress, and eating a balanced diet low in added sugars can help you achieve your belly fat loss goals.

So, when we talk about the best vegetables for losing abdominal fat, we are including veggies that contain certain nutrients helpful to this process, but we encourage you to include these foods as part of a full and balanced eating plan.

To learn more about these veggies and the nutrients they contain that can help with your goal of losing abdominal fat, we spoke with Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian and consultant with Balance One Supplements, and Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, registered dietitian and author at Go Wellness.

Read on, and for more tips on eating healthy, check out these 30+ Weeknight Dinner Ideas to Kickstart a Healthy 2024.



Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can find, which is why both of our dietitians swear by this green veggie as a food for helping to manage weight around your abdomen.

"This cruciferous vegetable is rich in antioxidants that help drive down inflammation in the body," says Best. "The primary compound is sulforaphane, which works by lowering cytokines and NF-kB in the body. These substances drive the inflammatory process. By reducing inflammation, the body is better able to release weight and work efficiently in every other area as well."

Research confirms broccoli is a good vegetable for belly fat. One study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that regularly consuming dark green vegetables (which includes broccoli and leafy greens like kale and spinach) helped decrease visceral fat in overweight Latino youth participants. Similar results were found with bright yellow and orange vegetables, such as carrots and bell peppers.

 10 Effective Eating Habits to Lose Belly Fat as You Age



The research from Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics included carrots in their conclusion of helpful vegetables for belly fat, adding that carrots and broccoli were the most common vegetables consumed among participants.

Carrots are rich in a type of plant compound called lutein, which research has shown has antioxidant capabilities, as well as potential links to helping lower abdominal fat tissue. On top of that, Best says that chewing raw carrots may actually help with metabolism.

"This vegetable is unique in its ability to help reduce belly fat in the fact that it raises the body's metabolism," says Best. "The thermogenic effect of food (TEF) is the rate of calories a food causes the body to burn while being digested. Because carrots have a hard texture, they have a high TEF and therefore cause the body to burn more calories simply by eating them."


romaine lettuce

Another vegetable that provides helpful nutrients linked to abdominal fat loss is lettuce. First off, lettuce is high in lutein, the plant compound we already mentioned has a potential impact on decreasing belly fat. This compound is part of a larger group of compounds called carotenoids, which include lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin—all of which have antioxidant properties. Along with being antioxidants, some research supports these compounds as being able to help with fat loss, too.

One study on Japanese men with obesity found that increasing carotenoid-rich vegetables (which includes lutein-rich veggies like lettuce) can reduce visceral fat—a type of abdominal fat located near vital abdominal organs.

Lettuce was also mentioned in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study on Latino youth as a green vegetable linked to abdominal fat loss.

 10 Best Low-Carb Vegetables for Weight Loss

Orange and yellow bell peppers

bell peppers

Other vegetables that are rich in lutein (the compound linked to abdominal fat loss) are orange and yellow bell peppers. These bright, tasty veggies are great additions to an eating plan fit for losing belly fat, and they're easy to enjoy in a variety of different dishes or on their own.

One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when paired with a low-calorie diet, lutein supplementation had several positive effects on participants. Those who supplemented lutein saw a decrease in waist circumference, visceral fat, body weight, and body fat, as well as lower LDL cholesterol levels.



Beets aren't talked about nearly enough, but these earthy root vegetables are packed full of nutrients that can help you manage weight around your stomach area, while maybe even improving digestion.

This vegetable is high in fiber, at around 3.8 grams per cup. Eating enough fiber at each meal or snack is known to help prevent bloating, decrease appetite, and increase your feelings of fullness. Fiber can also help improve the health of your gut microbiome, something that is crucial in maintaining or losing weight healthily.

Along with being able to help with general weight loss, fiber is also crucial in abdominal fat loss as well. For instance, one study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that a diet higher in fiber was associated with less visceral fat.

 10 Best Eating Habits to Help Boost Your Metabolism


fresh basket of kale

Kale is a leafy green vegetable packed full of nutrients. With this yummy leaf, you'll get vitamins A, K, C, and B6, as well as manganese, copper, and potassium. You'll also get fiber and protein as well, for only around 43 calories per 100 grams.

Remember that study we mentioned about dark green vegetables helping to reduce abdominal fat? Kale is included in this list of dark green veggies, so incorporating more of this leafy food into your diet can help you work toward your goals of less fat around your stomach.


fresh baby spinach

Pass the spinach, please! This leafy green is full of nutrients and great as a salad, sautéed, or thrown into your protein smoothie. According to our dietitians, adding more spinach to your diet can help you lose belly fat.

"Leafy green vegetables are not only super nutritious, but they also help you shrink belly fat," says D'Angelo. Spinach contains some fiber, which can help with digestion and gut health, and "It's also high in vitamin K, which can sometimes support the reduction of body weight, including visceral fat," adds D'Angelo.

 18 Most Nutritious Leafy Greens—Ranked!

Red bell peppers

slicing bell pepper

Red bell peppers are a versatile vegetable with a natural sweetness that goes great in a stir fry or on top of your burrito bowl. They're also full of nutrients that can help you with your abdominal fat loss goals.

"Bell peppers are ideal vegetables to add to a weight loss diet," says Best. "They are low in calories and high in nutrients, while also helping to create a sense of fullness after meals. This combination can help to prevent overeating throughout the rest of the day."

Another perk of red bell peppers is that they're high in a type of carotenoid called lycopene, and we've learned that carotenoid-rich vegetables can potentially aid in reducing abdominal fat.

This article has been updated since its original publish date to include additional entries, contextual links, and research to further explain the link between eating vegetables and losing abdominal fat.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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