A new study revealed yet another reason to lose that extra belly fat. It may cause your brain to shrink, increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, conducted at Loughborough University in England, revealed that abdominal fatty tissues negatively affect brain function according to Health Thoroughfare.
“Existing research has linked brain shrinkage to memory decline and a higher risk of dementia, but research on whether extra body fat is protective to brain size has been inconclusive,” said Mark Hamer, the study’s lead author. “Our research looked at a large group of people and found that obesity, specifically around the middle, may be linked to brain shrinkage.”
The new findings published in the journal Neurology suggest that the combination of obesity as measured by body mass index (BMI) and a high waist-to-hip ratio may be a risk factor for brain shrinkage which can lead to dementia.
Belly fat is also called visceral fat and is stored deep in the abdominal cavity. It’s much more dangerous to your health than the fat stored just under the skin. Previous studies have linked visceral fat with a higher risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. It’s also linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and premature death according to the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, agreed with the findings. “Brain gray matter shrinkage seems to be associated with obesity and increased visceral fat,” she told Live Science. “All this goes to show that good general health is also very important for brain health.”
According to Healthline, here are 10 scientifically proven ways to reduce belly fat:
1. Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less, It also slows down food as it passes through the digestive system. Good sources include flaxseed, Brussel’s sprouts, avocados and legumes.
2. Avoid foods that contain trans fats. These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain.
3. Drink alcohol in moderation. Studies have linked heavy alcohol use to increased risk of central obesity or excess storage of fat around the waist.
4. Eat a high protein diet. Many observational studies have shown that people who eat more lean protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those on low-protein diets.
5. Reduce your stress levels. Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Research shows that high cortisol levels increase your appetite and drive abdominal fat storage.
6. Avoid sugary foods. Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess. These include type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and also increased abdominal fat.
7. Engage in cardio exercise. Aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, biking or running has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce belly fat.
8. Cut back on carbs, especially refined carbs. Diets with under 50 grams of carbohydrates daily cause belly fat loss in overweight people according to research. Studies show that you don’t have to drop all carbs, just replace the refined carb in your diet with unprocessed starchy foods like whole grains and vegetables to improve metabolichealth and reduce belly fat.
9. Get plenty of restful sleep. Studies show that people who don t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat.
10. Eat fatty fish every week. Fatty fish is incredibly healthy because it contains quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. There is some evidence that omega-3 fats may help reduce belly fat. Good choices include salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
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