Visceral fat is stored within the abdominal cavity. Harvard Medical School recognise too much of the stuff can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases. Which tea can help you lose this harmful belly fat?
Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, researchers found green tea, enriched with catechin, significantly reduced levels of visceral fat.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, in the Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, involved 118 test subjects.
Volunteers were randomly assigned to consume either green tea full of catechins, caffeine or a control beverage for 12 weeks.
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The abdominal fat area, body weight and composition were measured at week 0, week 8, and week 12.
After three months, the researchers found that the average visceral fat area, body weight and body fat were reduced significantly by catechin-enriched green tea, which wasn’t seen in the control group.
What is catechin?
Catechin is a natural antioxidant found in green tea.
Science Direct note that catechin is present in apples, blueberries, gooseberries, kiwi, strawberries, green tea and cocoa.
The Harvard Medical School state the best way to lose visceral fat is through diet and exercise.
It adds that abdominal fat cells “are biologically active”. This is because they can disrupt the normal balance and functioning of hormones.
Research suggests that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as coronary heart disease.
The Harvard Medical School also notes that excess visceral fat could be harmful because of its location near the portal vein.
The portal vein carried blood from the intestinal area to the liver.
Substances released by visceral fat – as it acts as a hormone – includes free fatty acids.
These fatty acids may enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids.
“Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance,” concludes Harvard Medical School.
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The NHS recommends adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.
The health body wants to encourage people to reduce their time spent sitting down, and to break up long periods of not moving with some activity.
It also suggest to include some strengthening activities that work all the major muscles in the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms at least twice a week.
Such activities include yoga, pilates, tai chi, working with resistance bands, lifting weights, push-ups and sit-ups, and even heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling.
To help limit the amount of visceral fat found in the body, ensure you eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Diabetes UK recognises other factors which may contribute to lowering visceral fat levels.
One such factor is ensuring you regularly get a good night’s sleep.
Another is to limit your alcohol intake and to stop smoking.
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