The fat around our abdomens is a particularly troublesome type of fat. I am not talking about the subcutaneous fat that gives us a muffin top, but the fat that is lying deep inside around our organs. It appears to be more metabolically active and can wreak all sorts of havoc by increasing inflammation—a root cause of many health problems—among other dangerous activities. If you are significantly overweight, there is a good chance you have too much of this dangerous fat and taking steps to reduce it can be one of the most important things you do for your health.
Whole grains are the grain of choice for many reasons—greater fiber content and higher levels of nutrients to name a few—rather than their refined counterparts. Reducing belly fat more effectively may be another one to add to the list, based on a study at Pennsylvania State University. Researchers there found that when two groups of people both followed a similar calorie-restricted diet– with one being rich in whole grains and the other containinig refined–, the group that ate the whole grains had a greater reduction of belly fat as well as lower levels of a substance that indicates the level of inflammation in the body.
Healthy fats are often associated with improving heart health but they serve many other important functions in the body. Besides lowering cholesterol, they may help reduce belly fat. A study that appeared in ‘’Diabetes Care’’ had participants cycle through three different types of diets during the course of the study—one rich in carbohydrates, one rich in saturated fat and one rich in monounsaturated fats. The diet rich in monounsaturated fats led to a decrease in the amount of fat that settled around the abdomen. Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil.
When you think of exercise for weight loss, you typically think of butt-busting cardiovascular activity where you are sweating it out and pushing yourself to the max. This type of exercise is no doubt an important part of your weight loss efforts, but when it comes to maximizing fat loss, belly fat in particular, do not overlook strength training, which includes anything where you are using weight as resistance, whether weights, machines or your own body. Strength-training increases muscle mass and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn 24 hours a day, even when you are sitting on the couch doing nothing. According to Harvard University, studies suggest adding strength training to your exercise routine may reduce belly fat and keep it at bay more effectively.You should do this type of exercise 2 to 3 times a week. Do at least 8 to 10 exercises that target all the major muscle groups; do one set of at least 8 to 10 repetitions.
While drinking alcohol in moderation may offer certain health benefits, it is never a good idea to consume it in large amounts. When it comes to your plan to reduce belly fat, you may want to add reduced alcohol consumption to the list. According to the Mayo Clinic, beer and other types of alcohol as well, have been linked to an increase in belly fat. It notes that wine may be an exception.
While any type of exercise is better than none, when it comes to losing weight, you need to shoot for a minimum amount to make a difference in your weight. You should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity to make a dent in your weight. Cardiovascular exercise also provides other benefits that will serve you well, such as improving heart health.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content. She covers a range of topics from alternative medicine to how to lose weight naturally.
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