Belly fat is the bane of many women’s existence. The best way to stay fit and trim is to choose nutritious foods and stay active—eat less, exercise more. However, even women who stay active and eat a healthy diet can find flab settling around their midsection.
Abdominal fat is referred to as visceral fat and it occurs deep in the body, in contrast to subcutaneous fat, which is the fat beneath the skin that you can grab between your thumb and index finger. The bad news is that visceral fat has serious health consequences and has been associated with heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. The good news is that visceral fat is actually easier to lose than subcutaneous fat because it is more metabolically active and responds more quickly to weight loss measures.
So, if you’re engaged in the battle of the bulge, you’re likely to see results in your abdominal area before you see them anywhere else. If you want to lose belly fat, eat less, exercise more and use some of these weapons of fat destruction.
Sleep. Yes, you read that right, and it’s not a gimmick. Adequate sleep is one key to keeping that extra belly fat at bay. Sleep deprivation is associated with a spike in cortisol, which can result in an extra layer of abdominal fat. Sleep allows critical processes, such as hormone regulation, to take place. Deprive your body of sleep and you’re likely to see physiological consequences.
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Increase calcium intake. Researchers from the University of Tennessee found that individuals who consumed a diet rich in dairy lost the most flab from their midsections compared to individuals on other diets. Calcium actually targets the type of fat in the abdominal area and begins to break it down almost immediately. Supplementing with 1200 mg of calcium per day may help you trim your midsection.
Just say no to fructose. Research has shown that fructose leads to an increase in abdominal fat and insulin resistance. In fact, when compared to glucose, fructose resulted in weight gain and belly fat, whereas glucose was associated with weight gain, but not the accumulation in belly fat. Avoid processed foods that contain fructose if you want to avoid a spare tire around your tummy.
Just say yes to probiotics. Probiotics promote healthy bacteria in the gut. Research has shown that women who take regular probiotics have less abdominal fat than those who do not.