Reducing abdominal fat, the classic pot belly, is not for an aesthetic problem, it is about health. In fact, this type of fat is not inert but capable of producing hormones and inflammatory substances that increase the probability of getting diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the risk of mortality (Olson et al, Obesity, 2020). Indeed, it has been observed that, even if one has a normal weight, the presence of visceral fat increases the risk of developing diseases twice as compared to those who are obese but have a different distribution of body fat, less localized around the waist (Sahakyan et al, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2015). Reducing the waist circumference has led to an improvement in insulin sensitivity and lipid profile and a reduction in the risk of getting sick (Backburn et al, Clin Cornerstone, 2005). So what are the strategies to reduce visceral fat and gain health? Let's see some advice based on scientific research.
An apple a day… the role of fiber
Never miss out on soluble fiber. In fact, it has been observed that an increase of 10 grams per day of soluble fiber, maintained for five years, can reduce visceral fat by almost 4% (Hairston et al, Obesity, 2011). And how do you eat 10 grams of soluble fiber? It's simple, this amount is contained in two small apples, a cup of peas, about 140 grams, and a cup of beans, about 200 grams (Hairston et al, Obesity, 2011). Other sources of soluble fiber are oats, barley, all fruit in general, vegetables such as broccoli and carrots, onions, Jerusalem artichokes and sweet potatoes (Shreenath et al, StatPearls Publishing, 2021).
Along with a small increase in foods containing soluble fiber, even moderate physical activity can reduce visceral fat. In particular, physical exercise, performed regularly two to four times a week for 30 minutes, decreased visceral fat by 7.4% over a five-year period (Hairston et al, Obesity, 2011). By physical exercise we mean aerobic activity, namely low intensity and long duration physical activity, then a brisk walk, a light run, swimming, treadmill (Ohkawara et al, Int J Obes (Lond), 2007).
What to drink and what not to drink
Drinks can be considered real foods, so they can increase or, conversely, reduce visceral fat. Green tea is able to reduce the increase in body weight and the accumulation of visceral fat even in the presence of a high-fat diet (Bajerska et al, Nutr Res, 2011). In general, green tea drinkers show, on average, a smaller waist circumference than those who do not drink this type of tea (Ohishi et al, Molecules, 2021). Instead, an excess of alcoholic beverages is associated with an increase in the waistline (Schroeder et al, Eur J Nutr, 2007).
Probiotics are the good bacteria that populate our intestinal microbiota and can be taken, for example, in the form of supplements or yogurt that clearly indicate their probiotic content on the label. It has been observed that the intake of probiotics has reduced the accumulation of visceral fat in case of obesity (Zhang et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2021).
The extra idea
Do you know doenjang? It is a cooked, ground and fermented soy bean paste. This condiment is characterized by hypotensive, anticancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only that, as shown by recent research, doenjang, which you can buy in specialized stores, also has an anti-obesity action that is expressed above all in the waist area, helping to reduce visceral fat (Cha et al, Nutr Res Pract, 2021). In fact, it was observed that 40 grams of doenjang soup, very similar to miso soup, taken every day for 3 months led to a reduction of almost 9 square centimeters in abdominal fat (Cha et al, Nutr Res Pract, 2021 ).