Belly fat refers to fat around the abdomen. There are two types of belly fat:
- Visceral: This fat surrounds a person’s organs.
- Subcutaneous: This is fat that sits under the skin.
Health complications from visceral fat are more harmful than having subcutaneous fat. People can make many lifestyle and dietary changes to lose belly fat.
Why is belly fat dangerous?
Being overweight is one of the leading causes of major diseases.
Excess belly fat can increase the risk of:
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- high blood pressure
- type 2 diabetes
- breast cancer
- colon cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia
A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine links weight gain to short sleep duration, which could lead to an excess of belly fat.
Both poor quality and short duration of sleep can play a part in the development of abdominal fat.
Not getting enough good sleep may, potentially, lead to unhealthful eating behaviors, such as emotional eating.
Researchers may not consider smoking to be a direct cause of belly fat, but they do believe it to be a risk factor.
A 2012 study published in the journal PloS one showed that, although obesity was the same between smokers and nonsmokers, smokers had more belly and visceral fat than nonsmokers.
How to lose belly fat
By considering the following changes, people may be able to lose their unwanted belly fat:
1. Improve your diet
A healthful, balanced diet can help a person lose weight, and it is also likely to have a positive effect on their overall health.
People should avoid sugar, fatty foods, and refined carbohydrates that have low nutritional content. Instead, they should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
2. Reduce your alcohol consumption
A person trying to lose excess abdominal fat should monitor their alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks often contain additional sugar, which can contribute to weight gain.
3. Increase your exercise
A sedentary lifestyle brings with it many serious health problems, including weight gain. People trying to lose weight should include a good amount exercise in their daily routine.
Undertaking both aerobic exercise and strength training can help people tackle their belly fat.
Exercise is most effective if people combine both cardiovascular and high-intensity training alongside weights and resistance training.
4. Get more sunlight
A 2016 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicates that exposure to sunlight in animals could lead to a reduction in weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
The review highlights that few studies have looked at the effects of sunlight on humans, in respect of weight gain. It states that more research is required to support the findings so far.
5. Reduce your stress
Stress can cause a person to gain weight. The release of the stress hormone cortisol influences a person’s appetite and could cause them to eat more.
Stress-relieving tactics include mindfulness and meditation, and gentle exercise, such as yoga.
6. Improve your sleep pattern
Sleep is vital to people’s overall health, and too little rest can have a severe impact on well-being.
Sleep’s primary purpose is to allow the body to rest, heal, and recover, but it can also have an impact on a person’s weight.
Getting enough good-quality sleep is essential when a person is trying to shed weight, including belly fat.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking is a risk factor for increased belly fat, as well as many other serious health concerns. Quitting can significantly reduce the risk from excess belly fat, as well as improve overall health.
There is a higher likelihood of various health issues if a person has excess belly fat. Causes include poor diet, lack of exercise, and short or low-quality sleep.
A healthful diet and active lifestyle can help people lose excess belly fat and lower the risk of the problems associated with it.
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