Visceral fat is fat that wraps around your abdominal organs deep inside your body. You can’t always feel it or see it. In fact, you may have a pretty flat tummy and still have visceral fat. A DEXA scan can measure how much belly fat is hiding in you.
Too much of any body fat is bad for your health. But compared to the fat that lies just underneath your skin (subcutaneous fat), the visceral kind is more likely to raise your risk for serious medical issues. Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol are some of the conditions that are strongly linked to too much fat in your trunk. Researchers suspect that visceral fat makes more of certain proteins that inflame your body’s tissues and tissues and organs and narrow your blood vessels. That can make your blood pressure go up and cause other problems.
Exercise can help you shed both visceral fat and the subcutaneous fat that you can see and pinch. And if you lose weight through diet, exercise can help you keep it off. Aim for at least 30 minutes of this kind of moderate aerobic exercise very day. It’s also important to keep and to build your muscles. Work out with weights, do resistance training like push-ups and sit-ups, or practice yoga.
Eat smart. Studies suggest that more calcium and vitamin D in your body maybe linked to less visceral fat. So load up on leafy greens like collards and spinach. Tofu and sardines are also good picks, as are dairy foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk.
On the other hand, certain foods seem to encourage belly fat. One of them is trans fats, which are found in deep-fried or processed foods. Also bad are too much soda, candy, processed baked goods, and other foods sweetened with fructose. So read the labels and avoid ingredients like “partially hydrogenated oils” or “high-fructose corn syrup.” And follow the usual rules for healthy eating, with lots of fresh produce, whole grains like wheat breads and oatmeal, and lean protein like skin less chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and low-fat dairy.