We often follow a diet rich in fats and sugars, we move little, we lead stressful lives. All this contributes to unbalancing the energy balance, in other words the energy we put into the body is greater than the energy we use. As a consequence, we accumulate fat and here the doors open to conditions such as overweight and obesity that should not be considered a cosmetic problem but rather a health problem.
The problem of obesity is not aesthetic but related to health
Obesity is associated, in fact, with a constant level of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the real silent enemy of our century. It acts undisturbed for years and then explodes into cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegeneration and cancer, but also into a weakening of the immune system and depression (Vari et al, Nutrients, 2021). But it is not only generalized obesity that must you worry, also the localized accumulations of fat in the abdominal area are an alarm bell that indicates that some changes to one's lifestyle must be made. In fact, visceral fat is the most dangerous type of fat, it is active, produces hormones, stimulates inflammation and, even if the person is of normal weight, it can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and hypertension (Elffers et al, PLoS One, 2017). But what to do in practice to combat the accumulation of fat, especially the visceral fat, which is also the most tenacious to fight? We have dedicated many articles to spices, foods and lifestyle to adopt to counter the threat of fat. Today, let's talk about the latest scientific findings related to turmeric, essential oils and exercise.
Turmeric, the anti-obesity spice
Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and is characterized by antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-obesity, hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Well, studies have made it possible to observe that curcumin attenuates the inflammation generated by overweight and obesity (Vari et al, Nutrients, 2021). Not only that, studies have also reported the ability of curcumin, within a varied diet and an active lifestyle, to stimulate body weight loss in people with metabolic syndrome (Vari et al, Nutrients, 2021). Indeed, curcumin acts by increasing energy needs and metabolism (Alsharif et al, Nutrients, 2021). Not only that, curcumin helps reduce waist circumference and visceral fat (Baziar et al, Phytother Res, 2020). However, the problem with curcumin is its poor bioavailability. In fact, it has been observed that this is increased when turmeric is combined with black pepper. Therefore, an excellent seasoning is given by a teaspoon of turmeric, a ground of black pepper and extra virgin olive oil as much as necessary to obtain a mixture with a fluid consistency.
Fat Burning Essential Oils
Essential oils can also help combat obesity and visceral fat accumulation. What is important to emphasize is that these essential oils perform their function even when they are inhaled and not just taken orally. This is important as oral intake of essential oils is delicate and should always be carried out under the guidance of an expert. What happens when you breathe in the volatile compounds of essential oils is that they interact with the olfactory receptors, stimulate the central nervous system, thus regulating energy metabolism, the balance between fat formation and fat breakdown and appetite. And what are the essential oils that, once inhaled, help reduce fat mass and show an anti-obesity action? For example, grapefruit essential oil, capable of increasing lipolysis, namely the degradation of fats in order to obtain energy, and thermogenesis, namely the production of heat from fats, of regulating appetite and reducing body weight (De Blasio et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2021). Another anti-obesity essential oil is lemongrass essential oil, as well as Patchouly essential oil, which has been shown to act at the level of the hypothalamus on the regulation of leptin levels, which is a hormone that stimulates metabolism and reduction of fat mass. Do not forget also the essential oil of oregano, which, thanks to its content in carvacrol, helps to reduce the accumulation of lipids, lipogenesis, inflammation and cholesterol (De Blasio et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2021).
Regarding exercise, are there guidelines that suggest the best activities to maximize the loss of visceral fat and combat obesity? According to the most recent research, the most effective exercise to reduce visceral fat is given by aerobic activities, such as running, walking, cycling and swimming, performed three times a week for at least 3-4 months, for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes (Chang et al, Int J Obes, 2021).