Not all fat is the same. In fact, it is necessary to pay particular attention to visceral fat rather than subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat surrounds internal organs, such as the liver, and is not an inert but active tissue, stimulating the release of hormones and pro-inflammatory substances. Compared to other types of fat, visceral fat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, the diabetes typical of adulthood, of cardiovascular disease, of fatty liver and of chronic inflammation. Unfortunately, visceral fat is also the most resistant and most difficult fat to counteract, so much so that a low calorie diet alone can lead to weight loss but not significantly affect the accumulation of abdominal fat. What to do in these cases? An active lifestyle and a healthy and varied diet, limiting refined and processed foods, are certainly good choices (Konieczna et al, Clin Nutr, 2021). But among the foods to be fielded in the fight against visceral fat there are some that are more powerful than others. Today we talk about these foods referring, as always, to the results of the most recent scientific research.
Long live blueberries
Blueberries should never be missing from the diet, especially if the purpose is to act on abdominal fat. In fact, blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are valuable antioxidants. Well, studies have observed that anthocyanins influence the action of particular proteins responsible for the distribution of fat, the regulation of lipid metabolism and the production of energy. As a result, the introduction of blueberries, even in the presence of obesity and a high-fat diet, has been shown to reduce visceral fat, triglycerides and insulin resistance (Seymour et al, Journal of Medicinal Food, 2011).
In addition to blueberries, it is important to include foods rich in antioxidants, such as carotenoids, anthocyanins and vitamin C. These substances are found in foods such as carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, beetroot, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, but also mango, melon, berries, dark grapes, citrus fruits and kiwis. In fact, a diet high in antioxidants has been shown to reduce abdominal obesity, even in people with metabolic syndrome. It is worth noting that, in the studies dedicated to the subject, the volunteers often did not show any changes in terms of body mass index and body weight, but in all cases a diet high in antioxidants allowed to reduce the waist circumference (Chung et al, Yonsei Med J, 2022). In addition to this, a diet rich in antioxidants is also useful in combating hypertension, stiffness of the arteries and oxidative stress (Chung et al, Yonsei Med J, 2022).
A special place for avocado
Avocado is a precious source of fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. This particular composition of beneficial substances is believed to help fight visceral fat. Indeed, very recent studies have shown that eating an avocado a day for 3 months has allowed to improve fat distribution, reducing the accumulation of visceral fat (Khan et al, J Nutr, 2021).
A cup of green tea against visceral fat
Here is a drink with anti-obesity power, green tea. Studies have shown, in fact, that the catechins contained in green tea, which are powerful antioxidant substances, help to decrease visceral fat, waistline, blood pressure, bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, even in the case of overweight or obese adults (Nagao et al, Obesity, 2012).
Proteins to decrease the waistline
The diet against obesity and visceral fat should include whole carbohydrates, which ensure energy, but also proteins. A diet rich in proteins, especially when combined with moderate exercise, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation of visceral adipose tissues (Medeiros et al, Nutrients, 2021). Not only that, a very recent research has demonstrated that including legumes, a precious source of protein, in the diet has made it possible to reduce the waist circumference by up to 3 centimeters (Venn et al, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2010).
The problem of fructose
Fructose is a sugar with a high palatability and with the fact that it is naturally present in fruit it has been included in a large number of processed foods. The problem is that fructose is harmful to health and capable of acting directly on visceral fat by increasing the level of inflammation and the production of adipocytes, cells that are responsible for the accumulation of fat. Not only that, a diet high in fructose increases insulin resistance, paving the way for type 2 diabetes. This effect was observed more in women than in men. Therefore, a good choice in the fight against visceral fat and chronic inflammation stimulated by the latter is certainly to read the labels carefully and avoid, when possible, an excess of foods containing fructose (Kovacevic et al, Front Nutr, 2021). This does not apply to fruit that, while containing fructose, provides a synergy of substances such as vitamins, mineral salts, fibers and antioxidants that work for the benefit of the whole body (Monteiro Alfredo et al, Nutrients, 2021).