Everyone has some belly fat, but large quantities of this subcutaneous fat can signal a weight problem. We all at some point have tried to get rid of that belly fat acquired over time. Some have tried pills, surgeries, miracle cures, and herbal remedies. Still they yielded no positive result.
It is, however, possible to get rid of belly fat naturally with a healthy combination of diet and exercise.
Fast facts on belly fat:
- Belly fat tends to increase with age, particularly for women.
- Having a high Body Mass Index (BMI) often correlates with more belly fat.
- Visceral belly fat is highly responsive to diet.
- Exercise is a key factor in eliminating belly fat.
Visceral fat is sometimes called “active” fat because of its active role in producing various hormones, which can be harmful to the body.
It is less visible than subcutaneous fat because it lies within the abdominal wall. It surrounds organs, and releases hormones that can lead to diabetes, chronic inflammation, and other serious health problems.
Visceral fat is not visible, but a slowly expanding waistline is a good indication of visceral fat. As visceral fat grows, so does the belly.
Some people find that visceral fat makes the stomach feel hard, while subcutaneous fat tends to feel soft and squishy.
The Dangers of Belly Fat
For people who have active lifestyles and healthy body weights, subcutaneous fat, even if the belly protrudes a little is not dangerous.
Research has shown that surgery to remove subcutaneous fat will not improve health, and may even be a risk factor for more visceral fat, particularly if surgery is not accompanied by healthful lifestyle changes.
Visceral fat which can otherwise be known as Belly fat is very dangerous. It releases hormones that can cause diabetes and inflammation. Inflammation is a risk factor for a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In women, visceral fat may increase the likelihood of needing gallbladder surgery. Visceral fat is also linked to breast cancer.
Anyone can develop belly fat at any age, but people who are overweight or obese and those who drink lots of sugary drinks are at a greater risk of developing visceral fat. Those groups include:
Dietary Tips on how to Reduce Belly Fat
Eating fewer calories than the body burns, can help burn both visceral fat and excess subcutaneous fat. Some other strategies to reduce visceral fat include:
Eliminating Sugary Drinks
Some studies have linked sugary beverages, such as soda and sweetened tea and coffee, to the development of visceral fat. Try to reduce the sugar in your coffee and cut out soda altogether.
Reducing Carbohydrate Intake
Simple carbohydrates such as Bread, Rice, Alcohol, Garri etc. are low in nutritional value, but high in calories. They are also linked to the development of abdominal fat. Replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain pasta and fruits and vegetables.
Eating more Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a healthy alternative to simple carbohydrates. They also add fiber to the diet, which can help regulate blood sugar. Abdominal fat is a risk factor for insulin resistance and diabetes.
Controlling Fat Intake
A high-fat diet can lead to more abdominal fat. Don’t try to eliminate all fat, and don’t choose packaged fat-free foods. Instead, choose healthy fats from lean meats, avocados, and other “real” foods.
Research has found that exercise plays a significant role in eliminating belly fat. Targeted exercises, such as crunches and sit-ups, will help reduce the belly fat.
The following tips can help reduce belly fat naturally:
Become More Active
Increasing activity levels can help burn more calories. People who sit at desks for long periods of time should take regular stretching breaks. Parking away from a destination can encourage more walking, burn more calories, and improve heart health.
Embrace cardiovascular exercise
Cardiovascular exercise gets the heart pumping. It also burns calories, helping to reduce belly fat, especially visceral fat. Start slowly, with walking or swimming. Then work up to more intense cardio, such as running or jumping rope.
Strength training can improve body weight, because muscles burn more calories than fat does. Strength training can also help prevent osteoporosis and other chronic illnesses. Commit to strength training exercises, such as lifting weights or yoga, at least 3 times per week.
Belly fat is a serious health problem, but a reversible one. No matter how much weight a person has gained or how poor their diet is, simply shedding a few pounds of belly fat can significantly reduce their risk of serious health problems.