Visceral fat lies deep within a person’s abdominal cavity, where it occupies spaces between a person’s abdominal organs. As opposed to subcutaneous fat, which is lies on the surface, visceral fat’s proximity to vital organs means it can pose life-threatening risks. Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, certain foods help to reduce visceral fat – here are four such foods.
According to a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the way to zero in and reduce visceral fat is simple: eat more soluble fibre from vegetables, fruit and beans.
The study found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fibre eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years.
Ten grams of soluble fibre can be achieved by eating two small apples, one cup of green peas and one-half cup of pinto beans, noted Kristen Hairston, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead researcher on the study.
Foods containing polyunsaturated fats
Eating a lot of high-fat, high-calorie foods can also lead to a build up of visceral fat, according to medical website LiveStrong. “The types of fat you eat may be important as well as the amount,” noted the health site.
The health body recommended people swap foods containing saturated and trans fats with those containing polyunsaturated fats, the type in vegetable oils and fish.
“Have salmon for dinner instead of prime rib, use vegetable oil for cooking instead of butter, and snack on walnuts or sunflower seeds instead of packaged snack foods like chips and crackers,” it added.
According to Dr Oz, certain “blood sugar-stabilising” spices can also help to beat belly flat.
He advised: “Consume a 1/2 teaspoon of one of these spices at every meal: Cinnamon, clove, oregano, cayenne, or turmeric.
“Use cinnamon and clove at breakfast by adding a dash to coffee or oatmeal, and sprinkle the savoury ones on your salads, sandwiches, and main dishes the rest of the day for a flavourful seasoning that can help fry belly fat.”
Evidence supports the effectiveness of spices.
One study in 44 overweight people showed that taking curcumin twice daily for one month was effective in enhancing fat loss, decreasing belly fat and increasing weight loss by up to five per cent.
A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering.
Evidence suggests the paleo diet can aid weight loss and reduce harmful belly fat.
In one three-week study, 14 healthy adults following a paleo diet lost an average of 5.1 pounds (2.3 kg) and reduced their waist circumference — a marker for belly fat — by an average of 0.6 inches (1.5 cm).
Exercise also plays a pivotal role in reducing visceral fat, according to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. To investigate the effectiveness of exercise in reducing this harmful belly fat, researchers evaluated changes in visceral fat in 3,602 participants over a six-month period measured by a CT or MRI exam.
Both exercise and medicines resulted in less visceral fat, but the reductions were more significant per pound of body weight lost with exercise.