Carrying extra weight all over your body can eventually lead to other health problems, but carrying most of your excess weight in your belly region can increase your risk for major life-threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to target just one part of your body for weight loss. You may be doing a number of different abdominal exercises, but it may be a while before your belly weight starts to melt away.
To get rid of unwanted belly fat (also known as visceral fat), and to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, practice some or all of these seven proven methods to rid your belly fat for good.
1. Be as physically active as possible
Research has shown that visceral fat will melt away quicker with aerobic exercise than with strength training. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at Duke University found that jogging the equivalent of 12 miles per week can effectively reduce belly fat within a short amount of time. Other aerobic activities include biking, swimming, and dancing.
2. Eat more lean protein
According to Louis Aronne, MD at the Obesity Clinic at Cornell, a high-protein diet can protect your body against insulin resistance. Individuals who eat a diet comprised of 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat are more successful at losing visceral belly fat than those who eat diets comprised of 16 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 26 percent fat, per the results from a study led by Aronne.
3. Consume more vinegar
This practice doesn’t involve eating more barbecue sauce with high vinegar content or eating salt-and-vinegar potato chips. According to a Japanese study conducted in 2009, obese individuals who consume between one and two tablespoons of vinegar every day for eight weeks are able to decrease their belly fat significantly at the end of the eight-week period. The theory is that the acetic acid in vinegar naturally produces proteins that have the ability to burn off fat.
4. Do a series of “easy” yoga moves
A 2012 study showed that women who engaged in yoga moves for 16 weeks that were relatively easy such as downward dog were able to significantly lower their levels of cortisol — a stress hormone linked to the presence of belly fat. In addition to downward dog, try relaxation yoga exercises such as deep breathing to help lose belly fat.
5. Get more sleep
Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night to promote visceral fat loss. According to a 2010 study conducted by Wake Forest University, getting five hours of sleep or less per night can actually lead to weight gain. Try to maintain a consistent sleeping schedule — even on weekends — and go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. Having inconsistent sleeping habits can cause your body to secrete higher levels of cortisol — leading to visceral fat gain.
6. Drink green tea
Green tea contains antioxidants known as catechins, which can promote abdominal fat loss as long as you also exercise on a regular basis. Researchers suggest that individuals who are trying to lose belly fat drink at least 625 mg of green tea per day, which equates to roughly two or three eight-ounce cups of green tea.
7. Increase your fiber intake
A clinical health trial conducted in 2011 found that those who increase their soluble fiber intake by just 10 grams per day are able to reduce their visceral fat by about 3.7 percent after a five-year period. 10 grams of fiber amounts to about two apples, one cup of peas, and one-half cup of pinto beans.
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