Thanks to researchers, we've learned much about how to there are steps get rid of dangerous abdominal fat that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and cancer, found in multiple studies from 2011.
This year, researchers have discovered even more about the power of regular physical activity for beating depression, curbing migraine headaches, keeping the brain fit , preventing and managing diabetes, reducing pain and more. One of the most important findings is that getting rid of dangerous abdominal fat can lead to long-term health and longevity.
Remember to speak with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you’ve been sedentary.
Fat in the belly is now known to be the worst kind for raising the risk of disease. It’s important to understand it’s not just unsightly fat around the middle that causes health problems – it’s the kind that accumulates in the abdominal cavity and can surround organs that lead to disease.
Researchers know abdominal fat can promote diabetes and cardiovascular disease in ways not previously understood because of hormones that are produced that adversely affect health. Fat in the belly is biologically active.
If your New Year’s goal is to burn fat in the mid-section, consider aerobic exercise – anything that uses large muscle groups. Examples include swimming, ‘power walking and cycling.
Duke University researchers found aerobic exercise is the best way to get rid of fat that lies deep in the abdominal cavity.
According to their research, published August 2011, aerobic activity helps rid the body of visceral fat – the kind that lies under the skin and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, asthma and even cancer. In their study, aerobics was compared to resistance training and a combination of the two. Aerobic exercise was found to burn 67% more calories that lead to weight loss in the comparison.
The good news is you don’t have to start out with high intensity exercise. According to Cris Slentz, Ph.D., lead author of the study published in the American Journal of Physiology, "What really counts is how much exercise you do, how many miles you walk and how many calories you burn," he says. "If you choose to work at a lower aerobic intensity, it will simply take longer to burn the same amount of unhealthy fat."
Focus on protein from dairy
McMaster University researchers investigated the role of protein in dairy products for burning belly fat. The finding, published in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, enrolled overweight and obese women who exercised 7 days a week, combining aerobics with two days of circuit weight lifting.
Three groups of women were given either low, medium or high amounts of dairy foods coupled with higher or lower amounts of protein and carbohydrates.
Women who consumed higher-protein, high-dairy lost more abdominal and total body fat, though weight loss was the same in each group.
"One hundred per cent of the weight lost in the higher-protein, high-dairy group was fat. And the participants gained muscle mass, which is a major change in body composition," according to Andrea Josse, lead author of the study. "The preservation or even gain of muscle is very important for maintaining metabolic rate and preventing weight regain, which can be major problem for many seeking to lose weight."
Stuart Phillips, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University added, "These women also got fitter and stronger, which greatly reduces their risk of disease."
Timothy Boyer, who reported the study for EmaxHealth said, “Armed with this new dietary information perhaps we can now return to wage war in our own personal battle of the bulge and perhaps even eventually discover that when we stand at attention it will no longer be necessary for us to have to suck in our guts.”
Eat soluble fiber
Soluble fiber, combined with exercise and an otherwise healthy diet can help melt belly fat, also found in a 2011 study.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center also emphasize the danger of visceral abdominal fat, studying the impact of fiber for ridding the body of visceral fat.
Kristen Hairston, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead researcher on the study says, “We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease”. Hairston adds, “Our study is valuable because it provides specific information on how dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, may affect weight accumulation through abdominal fat deposits."
The finding, published online June 16, 2011 in the journal Obesity, found that for each 10 gram increase in soluble fiber consumed daily, visceral fat was lowered by 3.7 percent over a five-year period. Combined with 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day (a brisk walk, ride on a stationary cycle, or swimming), visceral fat accumulation declined by 7.4 percent.
Sterculic and safflower oil
University of Missouri-Columbia researchers say oil from the seeds of the Sterculia foetida tree may hold the key to losing belly fat.
James Perfield, assistant professor of food science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), found a specific plant oil, known as sterculic oil, might help fight obesity.
Sterculia oil was found to reduce belly fat and insulin resistance in rats.
The seeds from the tree can be boiled or eaten roasted or raw. According to Google Books, “The Ultimate Guide to U.S. Army Skills, Tactics, and Techniques”, the seeds taste like cocoa.
The seeds are found in the red pod that the trees produce. Eating too many can have a laxative effect, so exercise caution if you add them to your diet.
Safflower oil, consumed daily or supplements is also shown to help reduce fat in the mid-section. A study from researchers at Ohio State University, published March 2011, showed safflower oil can reduce insulin resistance and promote healthy cholesterol levels.
In a 2009 study, the same researchers found the oil, or supplements, given to post-menopausal, overweight diabetic women, helped reduce central obesity. The researchers suspect safflower oil boosts action of the hormone adiponectin which aids fat-burning during exercise.
Mayo Clinic experts warn that just a little belly fat doubles the risk of death for people with existing coronary artery disease, in findings published May 2011 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Make it your New Year’s resolution to focus on disease prevention by losing fat in the abdomen that can extend life years, save money on prescriptions and doctor visits and improve quality of life.
You may want to also check out our report from Dr. Oz who has some more recommendations for blasting belly fat that might come as a pleasant surprise.
Belly fat isn’t just unsightly – the kind that lurks in the abdominal cavity can lead to chronic disease. Getting rid of visceral fat is good preventive medicine. Remember, it takes time to accumulate belly fat and it may take time to lose it with simple interventions, found by researchers this year.
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