We all have some fat in our bodies, but too much of it around the abdominal area can be lethal. It can cause serious health issues, including an increased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and other lung diseases. Abdominal fat also increase the risk of developing colon cancer and dementia, according to Eat This, Not That!
Dr. Gabe Mirkin, author of The Healthy Heart Miracle, tells Newsmax that a 2019 study found that women with the highest percentage of belly fat had double the risk for heart disease compared to those with the lowest belly fat.
In the battle of the bulge, nutritionists say we should pay extra attention to getting rid of belly fat. It’s a signal that your organs are storing too much fat, which can lead to dangerous health conditions.
“Visceral fat, or what we commonly call belly fat, is more than the fat you see on your body and can pinch between your fingers,” notes Tara Gidus Collingwood, a registered dietitian in the Orlando, Fl. vicinity.
“It’s the layer of fat deep inside the body that forms between your organs. And even though you cannot see it, if you have an increased amount of subcutaneous fat ― the fat you CAN see and pinch ― it’s likely that you also have a large amount of visceral fat.”
Collingwood, co-author of the Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies, tells Newsmax the more belly fat you have, the more dangerous it is to your health. The #1 cause of belly fat is diet.
Start by making small changes in your diet and exercise routine, says Rebeca Stevenson, a registered dietitian and chef at ADAPT wellness center in North Miami. Begin by making nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables a priority, monitoring portion sizes, decreasing alcohol consumption, and making physical activity part of your daily routine, she says.
Experts also advise limiting refined carbohydrates and increasing lean protein such as fish and chicken, as these foods tend to blast belly fat. Collingwood recommends salmon and eggs as good belly-busting protein foods.
Salmon is a super anti-inflammatory food and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce belly fat storage. For under 80 calories, an egg provides six grams of muscle-building protein. Muscles burn energy on a regular basis and steal that energy from fat cells, especially belly fat cells.
Living with too much stress can lead to increased fat around the belly, according to Eat This, Not That! When you are under stress, your body releases more of the hormone cortisol, which has a direct effect on your metabolism. Too much cortisol can trigger belly fat.
Mirkin adds that it’s also important to avoid or severely restrict all sugared drinks, and foods with added sugar.
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