Nine foods to help you beat belly fat

Editor’s Note: David Zinczenko is the best-selling co-author of the popular “Eat This, Not That!” series and the author of the new book “Zero Belly Diet: The Revolutionary New Plan to Turn off Your Fat Genes and Help Keep You Lean for Life!” The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

Story highlights

Belly fat, or "visceral fat," is what gathers in the gut and pushes out our bellies

Belly fat has been linked directly to almost every major illness of our time, including heart disease

Eating some kinds of foods can reduce inflammation throughout the body and help turn off fat genes

CNN  — 

For a lot of people, fighting belly fat is part of their New Year’s resolution. But for me it’s a lifelong mission.

Growing up as a fat kid in the 1980’s, I figured there was nothing I could do about my growing girth.

My dad was obese, and I was well over 200 pounds by the time I was 14.

I’d inherited the “fat genes.”

Then, at the still-young age of 52, my father passed away from a sudden, massive stroke.

I was his son. Would this be my fate too?

I started fighting back. First, by exercising like mad and becoming a marathon runner. Then by trying just about every diet under the sun.

But the more I learned about belly fat – and the more I understood how deadly it could be – the more I knew I had to find an answer that was easy, effective, and worked for everyone.

I called this approach “Zero Belly.” It’s aim is to reduce inflammation, end bloating and turn off your fat-storage genes.

Belly fat – what medical experts call “visceral fat” – is the stuff that gathers in our guts, pushing out our bellies.

It has been linked directly to almost every major illness of our time, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, diabetes, and yes, stroke.

As far as I’m concerned, belly fat killed my dad.

Zero Belly is my revenge.

Zero Belly is based on the breakthrough science of “nutritional genetics.” That’s the study of how certain foods trigger our fat genes to turn on, or off.