It’s officially summer. Is your body "beach-ready"?

As many of you may already know, the hardest parts of the anatomy to reduce and transform are the abdomen and those dreaded love handles. According to Healthline.com, here are the first seven of 20 researched steps, that can easily and naturally reduce your belly fat.

Eat plenty of fiber.

Fiber helps you eliminate waste, reduces intestinal bacteria that causes inflammation and bloating, and reduces your appetite. A few foods that are high in fiber include avocados, flaxseed, Brussels sprouts, legumes, and blackberries.

 Woman measuring her waistline.

Avoid foods that contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated fats.

These fats raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower the good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Some of the trans fats or partially hydrogenated foods to avoid are margarine, microwavable popcorn, donuts, cakes, pies, biscuits, crackers, packaged foods, fried fast food, etc.

Don’t drink too much alcohol.

It’s no wonder why people often refer to men who drink a lot of alcohol and have large abdomens as having a beer belly. According to CalorieSecrets.net, there are seven calories in each gram of alcohol. In addition, there is no nutritional value in alcohol, so the more you drink, the more calories you consume and maintain. Without exercise, those calories all seem to end up around your waistline.

Woman drinking alcohol

Alcoholic beverages contain loads of calories and zero vitamins and minerals. Photo courtesy of livestrong.com

Eat a high-protein/low-carb diet.

The high protein will curb your appetite and give you the energy you need to exercise and lose weight. Some of those high-protein/low-carb foods include turkey, lean chicken breast, salmon, eggs, black beans, pumpkin seeds, Greek yogurt, spinach, tofu, almonds, canned tuna, etc.

Reduce your stress levels.

When we are stressed, the stress hormone cortisol rises and causes us to eat more because our insulin levels rise, and our blood sugar levels drop.

Don’t consume a lot of sugary foods or sugar-sweetened beverages.

Sugary foods and sugar-sweetened beverages have low or no nutritional value and are mainly high in calories. They often do not satisfy your hunger and cause you to crave more.

To learn the next set of seven ways to reduce belly fat, follow the next Your Health Matters column in two weeks!