Visceral Fat: The Mystery and The Danger
Updated: Aug 7, 2021
Visceral fat is something that has the tendency to sneak up on you mysteriously particularly as we grow older because of metabolic slow down due to lack of movement and food choice. It is the fat that lies around your vital organs deep within the abdominal cavity. Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with fatty liver and that was due to an abundance of visceral fat. The danger of visceral fat around the liver can make the liver produce more LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. So visceral fat can contribute to high cholesterol, which can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Also, it has a connection to diabetes because the more visceral fat you have the more likely you will have insulin resistance that leads to Type 2 Diabetes according to studies. Other factors can be contributors to visceral fat including if you’re a man over 45 years of age, if you’re a woman over 55 years of age, if your ethnicity is African-American, Hispanic, or Asian or if you have a family history of visceral fat. Add to the above the lack of physical activity and improper eating and you are headed for disaster. One way to check if you may have a problem with visceral fat is by measuring your waist. If you are a woman and your waist is more than 35 inches, and if you are a man and your waist is more than 40 inches, chances are you may have visceral fat and it’s important to get control of it. I know I just laid a lot of information on you, but I promise you there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Studies show that by eating the right foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins you can begin to change a problem with visceral fat. Believe me all foods that contain fat are not the devil. However, if you choose the “good fats” over the “bad fats” you’re going in the right direction. Goods fats consist of ground flaxseed, fish like salmon, trout, and sardines, sunflower oil and seeds, olive oil, nut oils like peanut and almond, certain dry roasted nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts. Also, foods like poultry, avocado, eggs, lean cuts of beef, dark chocolate (in moderation), barley, brown rice and quinoa are great sources of good fats and whole grains. If you add these types of foods to your diet and cut out table sugar and that awful high fructose corn syrup, you’re going in the right direction. Not to mention white flour and processed foods, fried foods and baked goods, which contain Trans Fats, should be removed from your diet ASAP! Now, there is one more thing to do and that is EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE! By adding cardiovascular exercise to your life (brisk walking for example) for 30 minutes five to six times a week, you can reduce your visceral fat levels. Also, you can add strength training to the mix. Did you know that muscle burns more calories than fat? It’s true. You can do strength training twice a week by adding this into your cardio routines. You. Can. Make. Exercise. Fun! It doesn’t have to be mundane and boring. It shouldn’t feel like a chore to do, but an activity that you look at as something that energizes you and helps you live the healthiest most productive life possible. You don’t have to do interval training or train like you’re going to the Olympics…just move! Walk! Finally, some other contributors to visceral fat are the lack of proper sleep and stress. Stress, in particular, can raise a hormone in your body called Cortisol, which causes fat to build in your midsection. We all deal with stress, but it’s how you deal with it that can make the difference in contributing to visceral fat. Some days are easier in dealing with stress than others, but it can be done. Deep breathing, even counting to 10 will help to reduce your body’s reaction to stress. The next time you feel stress coming on, just try it. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, then count to 10. You will probably feel your stress level coming down. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that we all want the same thing…to live a long, vital, productive and healthy life. I know getting to where you would like to be may not be easy, but it’s not impossible. If you take small steps, you will be successful. It’s so necessary, and you can do it. Treat yourself well, and the temple that God blessed you with will reward you in return. Remember, taking small steps is key in making this work.
Live, laugh, love, and pray.
God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,
Antoinette Shar’ron Johnson
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LinkedIn: Antoinette Johnson, MAEd
“Empowering, inspiring, motivating, and uplifting your mind, body, and soul!” Sources: http://thescienceofeating.com/2015/01/24/the-dangers-of-visceral-fat/ http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/the-risks-of-belly-fat http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/30641.php