Muffin-top … love-handles … no matter how sweet the name is, it doesn’t make the fat around our bellies more attractive.
Your waistline does more than determine pant size; it can very well determine your state of health. Ali Miller, registered dietitian and natural foods chef with The Life Long Weigh shares some foods that will slim your waistline and a recipe that will help you fit into your “skinny jeans.”
So why do some people tend to have fat stores in different areas and which areas are more dangerous?
There are two body types and two types of fat as well. The body types that we break down are android (apple-shaped) and gynoid (pear-shaped). The android body type is correlated with higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gout, and some cancers.
Of these body types, is there a better kind of fat to have on the body?
The excess fat we accumulate around our waist is made up of subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous is that which you can grab. Assess yourself by bending forward; the fat that you are able to pinch is subcutaneous. This type of fat although unattractive is less harmful to the body than visceral fat which is deep within our abdomen, packed around our organs.
Visceral fat pads the spaces between our organs, acting as a key player in a variety of health problems. Each location releases factors specific to its site, with visceral fat producing inflammatory agents that increase risk of cardiovascular disease with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol; hypertension; type 2 diabetes through insulin resistance; and specific types of cancers.
How do we know if we are at risk?
An easy way to calculate your risk is to find your waist-to-hip ratio; divide your waist measurement at its narrowest point by your hip measurement at its widest point. For women, the risk for heart disease and stroke begins to rise at a ratio of 0.8; for men, the risk increases at 0.9.
A much more accurate result is obtained through body composition testing, through a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). This allows us to identify your fat mass vs. lean body mass distribution and your health at a cellular level. The Life Long Weigh < www.lifelongweigh.com> offers this testing at their office in Bellaire. Mention the Fox morning segment and receive a discount for BIA read for only $15.
And you have foods here that can help to boost our metabolism and burn belly fat?
5 foods to boost your metabolism
Beans – A recent study found that a vegetarian diet using beans as protein was more effective at blasting belly fat and promoting weight loss in diabetics compared to a non-vegetarian diet with the same number of calories. The diet burned more visceral abdominal fat and the layer of fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat). Rather than cutting out healthy animal sources of protein completely, try a “Meatless Monday” featuring a bean entrée, or add beans to salads throughout the week.
Reduced Fat Milk – In 2011, researchers looked at dieters who ate 30 percent of calories from protein, which included 6-7 servings of dairy daily. The dairy group lost more abdominal and total fat and gained more lean muscle compared to those who ate less protein and dairy. The researchers think that a protein found in the dairy products, whey, promotes these effects through high levels of the amino acid leucine. It’s also important to get protein after a workout to maximize the benefits, so drink 8 oz of reduced-fat milk after your next belly-busting exercise session! Don’t cut out fat completely; you’ll miss out on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which aids in body fat reduction and boosts immune function.
Canned Slip-jack Tuna – This light tuna serves as a great protein rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research supports that omega-3 fatty acids encourage fat break down and decrease the body’s ability to store fat with its anti-inflammatory effects. Slip-jack is a smaller fish that will have less risk of toxicity from mercury. Select wild-caught troll-line slip jack for
a sustainable selection with the most nutritional benefits. Mix a can of wild slip jack with 1 chopped apple, 2 stalks of chopped celery, 2 Tbsp chopped red onion, and 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar for a light tuna salad. Serve over mixed greens.
Red Vegetables – Dutch researchers identified that diets high in the phytochemicals lycopene and beta-carotene were associated with smaller waist circumferences and lower abdominal fat. The study authors proposed that these nutrients, which are powerful antioxidants, may protect the body from compounds that promote fat storage. Cover a whole wheat pizza crust with fresh tomatoes, sliced red peppers, arugula, and low-fat mozzarella cheese for a nutrient-packed
Olive Oil – You probably already know that monounsaturated-rich olive oil is good for your heart, but is may help prevent abdominal fat as well. A Brazilian study found that rats eating olive oil gained less fat around their organs (visceral fat) compared to rats consuming soybean oil. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids may lower insulin levels and prevent fat from depositing into the abdomen.
One recipe pulls all these foods together.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
- 1 cup French lentils
- 2 cups water
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium heirloom tomato
- ½ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained
- 2 scallions, chopped
- ¼ cup mixed olives
- 3 ounces feta cheese, chilled
Sort and rinse the lentils. Simmer them in the water over medium heat, covered, until lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils thoroughly and rinse in cold water.
In a medium-size salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked lentils. Set aside to cool completely.
Dice the tomato and artichoke hearts into ½-inch pieces. Thinly slice the scallions. Chop the olives. Add all of these to the cooled, dressed lentils. Stir gently until well coated. Crumble feta cheese into salad and mix gently to combine. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature as a side or on top of mixed greens.