EAT MORE FIBER
Increasing daily fiber intake by as little as 10 grams a day reduced visceral fat by 3.7 percent after 5 years, according to a study done in 2011. This is as easy as including 1 cup of All Bran, 2 small apples and 1/2 cup of lentils into your diet per day. Fiber also slows down digestion – which means you will be less likely to binge on processed food when experiencing dips in energy levels.
FOCUS ON POLYUNSATURATED FATS
A recent Swedish study found that saturated fats packed on more visceral fat when compared to polyunsaturated fat intake. Study subjects were asked to consume 750 calories a day more from one of two sources; either palm oil (saturated) or sunflower oil (polyunsaturated) over a period of seven weeks. The saturated fats group gained more visceral fat, while the polyunsaturated fats group gained more muscle mass and less body fat. Sources high in saturated fats are coconut oil or coconut milk, fat or skin on meat and full cream dairy products.
INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE
Protein helps to keep you fuller for longer, by reducing the rate of digestion of the food you consume. A diet high in protein (30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat) is associated with a protective effect against insulin resistance, according to a director at an obesity clinic in Cornell University. A study was done on obese women who followed a high protein diet for eight weeks; they lost more fat (including visceral fat) when compared to women that followed an average diet (16% protein, 55% carbohydrates, 26% fat).
DRINK GREEN TEA MORE OFTEN
People who exercised moderately (and stocked up on antioxidants found in green tea) had increased visceral fat loss during and after exercise when compared to a group who didn’t drink green tea at all. The daily dose of antioxidants (catechins) is estimated at 625 mg, or approximately two to three cups of tea per day.
TIP: Not everyone likes the taste of green tea – why not use it to make homemade ice tea: one part green tea to two parts rooibos tea. Mix with 1 – 2 tablespoons honey, add sliced lemon, fresh mint leaves and / or ginger and store in fridge. PERFECT for these warmer afternoons.
Decreasing visceral fat is easier when doing aerobic exercises (running / biking or swimming) rather than resistance training. Jogging approximately 20 kilometers per week was associated with decreased visceral fat, according to a study done at Duke University.
YOGA AND BREATHING EXERCISES
In 2012 a study was performed on postmenopausal women who participated in yoga and other breathing exercises – they found significant reductions in visceral fat in this group. Relaxing (by focusing on breathing and stretching) reduces stress levels, which in turn leads to reduced cortisol levels. Cortisol is linked to increased abdominal fat.
SLEEPING BEAUTY AND OTHER PATTERNS
Sleep is a great way of reducing visceral fat or preventing visceral fat from forming. 🙂 A study done by Wake Forest University in 2010 found that people getting five hours or less of sleep a night were more prone to increased visceral fat. The ideal is between seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
A study done by Brigham Young University found that people who wake up and go to bed at the same time daily had lower levels of body fat. Chaotic sleeping patterns can lead to your internal clock going haywire, which triggers your body to secrete cortisol (a fat storing hormone).