Visceral fat is located around vital organs mostly in the stomach area and contributes to the unhealthy “spare tire” around the abdomen.
What makes it extremely dangerous is its direct link to many deadly diseases and conditions. These include heart attack, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Visceral fat releases fatty acids that are metabolized by the liver, triggering insulin resistance. The liver also releases excess cholesterol that builds up on the artery walls and blocks blood flow to vital organs. The more visceral fat you carry, the higher the risk.
According to a study by the Queen’s University School of Physical and Health Education, visceral fat is a better predictor of mortality in men than liver fat, waist circumference or abdominal subcutaneous fat which is located near the skin surface.
Even a modest gain in visceral fat impairs functioning of blood vessel lining and the flow of blood through major arteries, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So, enough of the horror story. We’ve got the message that the “spare tire” has to go. But how do we do this?
The good news is there are just a few straightforward steps to follow. They don’t involve any special diets or particular exercises. Studies show that a combination of healthy diet and regular exercise are the best ways to lose visceral fat.
Best Ways To Combat It
With a sedentary lifestyle and overeating being the top causes of visceral fat, the first step to battling it is exercise.
- Research suggests regular fat-burning aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour will help shed visceral fat.
- Even brisk walking for 30 minutes a day will stop it increasing. Choose exercises like swimming, walking briskly, skipping, aerobics and cycling. Adding weight training exercises will accelerate the fat burning effects.
- You may need to increase the intensity of your workouts to shift visceral fat than the other type of fat on the body.
- Poor diet, especially high in total fat and saturated fat, is also shown to be a major contributor to visceral fat. Research suggests that dieting can also stop or reduce visceral fat developing further in the body.
- Eat a diet that is higher in protein, fruits and vegetables, and lower in fat. Eat whole foods and ensure your diet is made up of mostly fruits and vegetables. They’re rich in healthy plant nutrients called phytonutrients.
- Choose a Mediterranean diet that consists of mostly vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and olives. A diet rich in plant foods is also low in calories and high in fiber.
- Reduce excess amounts of sugary foods as they are stored as fat if the body doesn’t burn them off.
- Keep an eye on your calories by investing in a calorie calculator and consider working with your doctor or nutritionist to create a low calorie eating plan that works for your lifestyle.
- Boost monounsaturated fats in your diet to help in abdominal fat reduction by eating avocado or black or green olives each day and cut out foods high in trans fats, like margarine and baked and fried foods. Snack on fruit, nuts and low fat crackers.
Other important steps to reducing visceral fat include making key lifestyle choices like giving up smoking, reducing stress with meditation or yoga and reducing alcohol consumption to a few drinks a week.
Alcohol, smoking and chronic stress have all been found to contribute to visceral fat deposits accumulating in the body.
A few simple diet and exercise changes today can begin to create a healthier you for the future, boost life expectancy, prevent Type 2 Diabetes, reduce toxins, help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
With the added side benefits of weight loss, boosted fitness, stamina and vitality, there is no better reason to start turning these simple steps into action.