There are two main types of fat in the body – visceral and subcutaneous fat. The former has far more sinister implications because it is stored near vital organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. An accumulation of visceral fat can therefore interfere with bodily functions, giving rise to chronic complications, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fortunately, you can reduce visceral fat by drinking catechin-enriched green tea, research suggests.
Catechins are plant chemicals that are thought to contribute to the beneficial effects ascribed to tea.
The effects of catechin-enriched green tea on Chinese adults with a high proportion of abdominal visceral fat were evaluated in a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Subjects were randomly assigned to consume daily a beverage containing 609.3 mg of catechins and 68.7 mg caffeine or a control beverage for 12 weeks.
“Thus, consumption of the catechin-enriched green tea beverage for 12 weeks induced visceral fat loss in Chinese adults with a high proportion of abdominal visceral fat,” the researchers concluded.
The exact mechanisms that link green tea consumption to fat reductions are still being investigated.
However, data from laboratory studies have shown that green tea has important roles in fat metabolism by reducing food intake.
The data also suggests green tea suppresses adipogenesis – the process by which fat-laden cells, that is, adipocytes, develop and accumulate.
Other key dietary tips
If you want to reduce your belly fat, you’ll need to burn more calories (energy) than you consume, and eat the right kinds of food.
According to Bupa, you should make sure you eat a balanced diet.
“Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg each day, and include higher-fibre starchy foods in meals,” advises the health body.
Other key tips include:
- Have some reduced-fat dairy or soya drinks fortified in calcium
- Eat more beans, pulses, fish and eggs
- Eat small amounts of unsaturated oil
- Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
- Avoid adding salt or sugar to your meals.
In addition to improving your diet, you should engage in regular exercise.
According to Harvard Health, the “starting point” for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity.
You should do at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight and lose belly fat, advises the health body.
“Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat,” it adds.
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