You have probably heard that obesity raises your risk for heart disease and diabetes, as well as other diseases. And recent studies have found that fat around the waist or belly is particularly harmful.

This “visceral” fat produces inflammatory compounds such as TNF-alpha and Interleukin-6 (IL-6), which can damage insulin receptors and lead to insulin resistance. And insulin resistance is at the root of most chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to get rid of that “spare tire” around your middle.

A low-carb diet high in vegetables, healthy fats, and quality proteins has been proven to decrease belly fat and the resulting inflammation. Eating this way drastically limits your intake of foods that elevate insulin (sugary foods and breads, for example).

Recent research indicates that the antioxidants in vegetables, fruits, and other foods are another important component of this diet.

University of New Mexico scientists found that two potent antioxidants – curcumin and resveratrol, respectively found in the spice turmeric  and in red wine,   – inhibited the cell compound (NF Kappa B) that promotes the production of TNF-alpha and IL-6. They concluded that curcumin and resveratrol can reduce inflammatory signaling that comes from being overweight. Additionally, these antioxidants may help repair damage to cells, keep insulin receptors working, and help you avoid insulin-resistance-induced disease.

Eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruit in moderation, and cooking with various herbs and spices as part of a low-carb diet is a sure way to enhance your health with anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Oh, and go ahead and enjoy a glass of red wine while you’re preparing that healthy dinner!