Belly fat is more than just a nuisance, making our clothes feel tight and uncomfortable. This type of fat on the body is harmful to your health. And the existence of visceral fat on your body puts you at higher risk for the development of conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. While health experts look at BMI (body mass index) to indicate how healthy a person is, here’s the truth. Visceral fat can exist in the abdomen even on the thinnest frames.
What causes the formation of belly fat?
As we age, our metabolism slows, and toxins accumulate in our bodies, leading to the development of visceral fat. This is our body’s way of trying to protect and preserve vital organs. This arises from our system becoming confused about why the metabolism is slowing down. Fearing starvation, our bodies instinctively hold on to this insulation as a means of protecting us from harm.
Other causes of visceral fat development include the following:
1 – Poor diet
Sugars, processed foods, and white flour all contribute to the development of excess fat around our midsections. Trans fats are another culprit, slowing down our metabolic process and increasing inflammation, which also causes weight gain.
2 – Alcohol consumption
Consuming alcohol to excess overloads the liver, which is responsible for metabolizing most of the food and drink that you put in your body. When this organ feels stressed, inflammation can develop. And that reaction triggers the formation of extra fat.
3 – Not exercising enough
Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are leading us down the wrong path. Over 70 percent of Americans are now considered mildly to morbidly obese, and the number of health-related conditions to being overweight is rising at an alarming rate. Balancing caloric input with caloric output will help you to regain control of your health and lose belly fat.
4 – Excess stress
When the body is stressed, a natural reaction to this stress is for the body to produce more cortisol, a hormone that protects certain systems of the body. Unfortunately, the excess production of cortisol inhibits the loss of belly fat. So learning to manage stress levels is key to being able to maintain a healthy weight and lose belly fat.
5 – Genetics
Sorry Mom, sorry Dad. But you didn’t help us in this regard. Genetics does play a role in the amount of visceral fat you carry on your body, but there are some things you can do to overwrite this program. Following a sensible diet and getting enough exercise will work wonders to take off some of those unwanted and unneeded pounds.
6 – Poor sleep habits
Both poor quality sleep and short sleep cycles are culprits for the development of belly fat. Your body will try to compensate for lower energy by storing its own form of power in the form of unwelcome fat. Establishing healthier sleep habits will help you to slim down and feel more energetic.
Foods to help you lose belly fat
The thought of completely overhauling your diet just to lose a few pounds is not a welcome one for most. But some foods are known to boost metabolism, stimulate visceral fat loss, and help you drop those unsightly love handles. If you want to lose belly fat permanently, consider making some changes to your activity routine and incorporating these healthy, fat-burning foods into your diet regime:
1. Peanut butter
Peanut butter is not only delicious, but its power also packs 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. Additionally, peanut butter contains L-arginine, an amino acid that improves blood flow throughout your body by helping your blood vessels to relax. Metabolic processes are more efficient, and your calorie burn will improve as a result of slathering your morning toast with a bit of this golden wonder.
Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein. Besides, they also contain a ton of antioxidants and anti-bloating agents to fill you up and slim you down. Due to their mild flavor and texture, they are a perfect addition for soups, stews, salads, and side dishes. Chickpea flour is a good substitute for baking, as it provides more vitamins and minerals than its bleached counterpart. Add a few to your diet each day for belly fat-blasting.
Pie lovers, rejoice! Pumpkin is good for you….maybe not in pie form, but there are things you can do to incorporate pumpkin into your daily routine and slim down. Next time you’re craving something sweet, combine a couple of spoonfuls of canned pumpkin to Greek yogurt, add some honey and cinnamon, and savor the flavor.
One cup of peas contains 8 grams of protein, plenty of fiber, and a ton of flavor. Your daily needs for calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C will be met with this side dish, all of which have the ability to counterbalance sodium and boost oxygen production and efficient use within cells of the body.
5. Tuna fish
This is one of the healthiest proteins that you can consume, along with healthy counterparts salmon and sardines. Filled with important omega-3’s and lean protein, they will fill you up and fuel your cells well to reduce carbohydrate cravings.
There is nothing better for kickstarting your metabolism than some fresh, cold-water fish. Salmon is delicious as a stand-alone dish or in a salad, as an accompaniment to pasta or even on toast. Vitamin D-rich flesh will reduce your inflammation and chances of developing chronic disease, and it will do its part to protect your heart with healthy vitamins and antioxidants as well.
7. Baked potatoes
Baked white potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, which helps to reduce water tension and rebalance sodium. Potatoes are also full of fiber, which can promote digestive system health and keep you fuller longer. Load up your favorite spud with low cal options like green onions, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt for flavor without the extra calories.
8. Nuts and seeds
Mineral and vitamin-packed seeds like sunflower and pumpkin give you the immunity boosting powers of zinc and vitamin C while filling you up at the same time. Plant-based proteins and fibers fill you up for longer, while healthy fats found in nuts and seeds promote bone and joint health.
9. Fermented foods
Fermented foods like tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut contain valuable probiotics, which are essential for gut health. A healthy gut is a foundation for good health, good immunity, and resistance to disease. Unsweetened plain yogurt is also an excellent source of fat-burning probiotics; choose one fermented snack each day for optimal health.
10. Oats and oatmeal
A healthy digestive system needs a mix of both probiotics and probiotics—these are the good bacteria that promote healthy digestive processes and keep byproducts moving through our system efficiently. A bowl a day could just keep the doctor away; consider adding them to your daily breakfast regime.
11. Tree nuts
Almonds, pecans, peanuts……it may not even seem like you are watching your waistline when snacking on these beautiful, delicious, nutrition-packed foods. Studies show that people who regularly snack on nuts have an overall lower amount of visceral fat around their midsections than those who opt instead for carb-rich treats. They are the perfect nutritional energy source for people on the go; throw some in any purse or bag and snack to satisfaction.
Colorful, vibrant blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are packed full of antioxidants and fiber, two essential elements needed to improve your fat-burning potential. If you want healthy, flavor-packed nutrition, choose to add berries to salads, cereal, and yogurt as part of your plan to banish belly fat.
Believe it or not, your ability to maintain good health into your later years is dependent on your ability to reduce visceral fat stores on your body—and keep them off. While adjusting your daily habits to incorporate one or two of these foods is better than nothing at all, if you want to see significant changes overall, you will need to incorporate all of these foods into a healthier eating plan. Making smart choices about your caloric intake in combination with cardio and weight-bearing exercises will help you to eliminate stubborn fat, increase your strength, and improve your overall health.
Reduce visceral fat, improve your life
While diet and exercise changes are admirable and necessary for the reduction of visceral fat, there are some other strategies you can employ to ensure that these lifestyle changes stick with you for the long haul. Other ways to lose fatty weight and keep it off include:
- Replacing vegetable oils and butter for coconut oil when cooking and baking
- Watch your beverage intake; many empty calories are consumed through drinking them
- Getting plenty of restful sleep
- Tracking food and drink intake
- Adding vitamin and mineral supplements to your nutritional intake
So making small, consistent changes to your routine will have you looking and feeling better. Look forward to the state of better health that you are creating. And then choose better habits that breed the results you crave.