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Burn Belly Fat and Lower Risk of Heart Disease

August 20, 2010
(Article first published as Tips to Help Burn Belly Fat on Technorati.)

Few people understand the health implications from a few extra pounds packed on the belly. Many consider weight gain a natural component to aging, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Although metabolism decreases as we age, people continue to eat as they did when they were younger and the extra pounds suddenly appear.

Belly Fat Jumps Risk of Heart Disease
The most common area for fat to be deposited is in the abdomen, as this provided an evolutionary advantage to our early ancestors. Today, it’s much more than just an inconvenience as abdominal fat is metabolically active and causes the body to mount an immune attack leading to systemic inflammation and increased risk for heart disease.

Gaining 9 Pounds Initiates Heart Disease

The results of a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, highlight the importance of gaining weight, especially in the belly. Researchers studied young adults, and compared the changes in their arteries when they put on as little as 9 pounds. They were able to detect significant decreases in arterial blood flow which signaled the beginning of the process known as atherosclerosis. Losing the weight returned blood flow to normal.

Unfortunately most people don’t lose the weight and after decades of layering abdominal fat, heart disease takes root. The human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself when we provide the necessary tools through proper diet, regular exercise and stress reduction principles. Fitness experts encourage people to recognize the dire health risks of excess abdominal fat, and provide tips to target stubborn belly fat.

Tip 1: Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently

Eating several large high carbohydrate meals each day causes blood sugar levels to rise significantly, remaining elevated for hours as the content of the meal are digested. This ultimately leads to insulin resistance, increased cortisol levels and fat stored in the belly. Break meals down to 5 or 6 smaller portions eaten throughout the day, and cut the refined carbs and sugar. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar level, avoiding dangerous surges which can lead to metabolic dysfunction and diabetes.

Tip 2: Don’t Skip Breakfast and Include Protein
It’s amazing how many people avoid breakfast because they believe they’ll lose weight by avoiding the extra calories. Your body will instinctively signal you to eat more to compensate, and those calories are much more likely to be high calorie snack foods. Set aside time each morning to start your day with a healthy breakfast which will jump start your metabolism and drive calories burned for energy. Include a protein source, as this further stimulates fat metabolism.

Tip 3: Stay Hydrated, Drink Water and Green Tea
Water and non-sweetened drinks are your best tool to combat hunger and enable the body to release fat. While you don’t have to count the cups of water, always have some fluids near and dink whenever you feel hungry. Fluids have been shown to assist liver function, a key player in determining whether fat is stored or used for energy. Most teas and especially green and white tea are packed with antioxidants which naturally boost metabolism and drive fat release.

Excess belly fat is a significant cause for concern as it’s been demonstrated to decrease arterial blood flow, leading to the development of heart disease. Small amounts of weight packed around the abdomen are enough to initiate atherosclerosis, as it continues to progress over the years. Fortunately we can target belly fat using common sense lifestyle changes which encourage weight loss and help reduce the risk of heart disease.

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