5 Ways to Shrink Your Waistline
Do you have a few extra pounds in your mid-section? Here’s a few ways to reduce it and improve your health, because excess abdominal fat stimulates chronic inflammation that increases the risk of developing disease, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Fortunately, using the proper approach, abdominal fat loss, is probably easier than you think.
Here’s a few ways to shrink your midsection.
A Healthy Diet=Healthy Waist Line
While maintaining a healthy diet is key, nutritional studies have found eating certain foods can help you burn excess abdominal fat.
People that people who got roughly 25 percent of their total daily calories from MUFAs gained no visceral fat over the course of the study, while those who ate less MUFAs and more carbs added fat to their midsections MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, avocados, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts and others high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Lycopene, found in tomatoes and tomato products, can reduce inflammation. A study conducted in Taiwan involving 30 women, 20-30 years of age, with a body mass index (BMI) at or over 20, to participate in a study in which subjects ate a normal diet and exercised as usual, and drank 7.5 ounces of tomato juice every day for 2 months. Tomato juice consumption was associated with a 22% decrease in a key marker of fat cell inflammation, as well as a 25% increase in adiponectin – a hormone that regulates insulin sensitivity. T he study’s authors noted that: “These results show that daily tomato juice supplementation reduces waist circumference… in young healthy women and that these effects are unrelated to body fat changes.”
People experiencing ongoing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol tend to have excess abdominal fat. Foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI), causes sugar levels to rise,and triggers the release of cortisol when glucose levels suddenly drop crash. The constant elevation and decline can also lead to insulin resistance, the predecessor to the Metabolic Syndrome and to Type 2 diabetes. To help maintain normal cortisol levels, eat low-GI foods (with a rating of 55 or less) like beans, lentils, and chickpeas, instead of high-GI options like white rice and potatoes.
A 2012 study in the Journal of Functional Foods found that people who drank one and a half cups of green tea enriched with a total of 609 milligrams of catechins daily for 12 weeks lost almost 16 times as much visceral fat as those who consumed green tea without the added antioxidants.
When your body is low on calcium, it produces a hormone that signals the body to store visceral fat. Meeting your recommended daily calcium needs (that’s 1,000 milligrams for adults) can help reduce levels of this hormone. And a recent study published in Obesity Research found that calcium from dairy has a stronger effect than calcium from other sources. I recommend eating low-fat Greek yogurt as a daily snack (just six ounces contain about 20 percent of your recommended dietary allowance for calcium), though any low-fat dairy will do.
Exercise Single Crunch
A Duke University study found that people who did moderate cardio for 178 minutes per week (roughly 30 minutes of walking six days per week) barely gained any visceral fat over an 8month period. Participants who worked out at a higher intensity (jogging) for a similar amount of time saw even better results — reducing their belly fat by almost 7 percent. To maximize your workout, try interval training, which alternates between high- and low-intensity cardio.
Check Your Hormone Levels
Another study measured fat content in patients’ abdominal cavities with CT scans, and blood tests gauged hormone levels. Findings revealed the the level of “bioavailable” testosterone, or testosterone that is active in the body may be the key predictor of visceral fat.
The study broadens an understanding of the role of the hormone testosterone in what is known as metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors for heart disease. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women was long thought to be caused by the loss of the protective effect of the hormone estrogen. According to Imke Janssen, lead author of the study, “…it is the change in the hormonal balance – specifically, the increase in active testosterone – that is predominantly responsible for visceral fat, and for the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Yu-Fen Li, Ya-Yuan Chang, Hui-Chi Hunag, Yi-Chen Wu, Mei-Due Yang, Pei-Min Chao. “Tomato juice supplementation in young women reduces inflammatory adipokine levels independently of body fat reduction.” Nutrition, December 12, 2014.