What is Visceral Fat?
If you are fitness conscious or simply like to stay healthy and eat well, you probably keep researching ways to stay fit. And you might probably have come across the term visceral fat. So what exactly does it refer to?
Visceral fat, also called hidden fat or abdominal fat, is the fat that surrounds your organs. It is not possible to feel visceral fat; however, you may still have it. Even thin people can have visceral fat around their organs, which then coined the phrase “thin outside, fat inside”.
Abdominal obesity is also a term that is loosely used to refer to visceral fat. This type of fat is usually found in the abdominal cavity, wrapped around the intestines and liver especially. In most cases, it is not too dangerous. However, if not checked, it can be harmful to your organs.
So how exactly does this visceral fat start depositing in the abdominal cavity, and are there any ways to get rid of it? Read on to find out.
What Is The Main Cause Of Visceral Fat?
If you consume too many calories and are not in the habit of doing any physical activity, guess where all the fat goes? Into your abdominal cavity, wrapping around your organs.
There are mainly three causes of visceral fat- poor dietary choices, excess alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity. Initially, visceral fat seems very harmless, but over time, it can get dangerous if left unchecked.(1)
You accumulate fat when your calorie intake is higher than your physical activities. When that balance is lost, your belly starts growing. Men develop visceral fat more quicker than women.
Also, consuming too much alcohol can lead to abdominal obesity. So if you love your organs, you might wish to tone down your alcohol consumption- or quit altogether.
Usually, there is always some fat surrounding the organs at any time- visceral fat of 10% in the body is considered normal. Any higher than 10% can be progressively risky. Visceral fat is also usually linked to a risk of cardiovascular disease, along with type 2 diabetes.
How Does Visceral Fat Harm The Body?
Visceral fat can damage your health in many different ways. For starters, the risk of type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular issues is increased.
Apart from that, your normal liver functioning gets affected due to visceral fat. In cases of visceral fat acquired due to alcoholism, the liver is most affected. In some cases, too much stress can also lead to the storage of visceral fat in the body.
But how exactly does visceral fat harm the body? According to certain studies, visceral fat produces some proteins that can cause inflammation in the tissues of your organs. It also gradually narrows your blood vessels, affecting the blood supply throughout your body.
Fat deposits in any site in the body are harmful, but if it is around your organs, there is more reason to worry. If you notice increasing fat around your belly, it is time to take care of your health.
How do I reduce visceral fat?
Reducing fat that you can’t properly touch, or see can be challenging, but nonetheless, it is important. Especially if you have been steadily gaining belly fat in the past, it is time you give your body a much-needed reality check.
Maintaining a good lifestyle and eating nutritious food low in calories can be enough to get rid of visceral fat. If you are looking to reduce your body’s visceral fat, here are a few ways to do it:
Physical activity: Since fat content in the body increases when your calorie intake is higher than the amount of physical activity you do. To balance that up, take up at least 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity regularly. You can go for walks, cycle, or do some routine exercises; the key is to remain steady.
Healthy Diet: This goes without saying; the key to a healthy body at all times is a healthy diet. Try to include foods that are rich in natural fiber and protein. A nutritious diet combined with regular exercise can gradually help you get rid of your visceral fat.
Reduced alcohol intake: Alcohol is one of the main reasons for visceral fat accumulation in men. Cutting down on alcohol is a simple way of reducing the visceral fat in your body. If you are not able to do it at once, try reducing your intake by a fixed amount and gradually increase it.
Cutting down bad calories and sugary drinks: one of the main reasons behind poor health in today’s youth is the crazy preference for food containing too many calories over nutritious food. Sugary drinks are bad for the body; cutting down on these can help you reduce visceral fat significantly.
What foods burn visceral fat?
With all the talk about diet being a significant factor in controlling visceral fat, you must be wondering what foods will help to burn visceral fat.
In terms of “burning” visceral fat, exercise and physical activities will do it for you. As for foods that help reduce visceral fat, leafy greens, and dairy products are at the top of the list.
Yogurt is a great food that you can have to reduce visceral fat- it can also help with inflammatory issues. Additionally, incorporating tofu and other dairy products like milk and cheese into your diet will help bring down visceral fat.
Fruits are one of the best kinds of nutrition you can give your body. Every time you feel like having a snack, have fruits instead. Incorporate fruits into different types of dishes to make them interesting. Regular intake of fruits will significantly help increase your body’s nutrients and make you feel particularly active, too.
Apart from these, Avocados, Sardines, Dark chocolate, and nuts can help to reduce your body’s visceral fat significantly. Dark chocolate is particularly rich in antioxidants, and nuts are a great source of good proteins.