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KayMcDonnell(Listowel Therapy Centre)

Abdominal fat and what to do.


Visceral FatDefinition: Fat located in the peritoneal cavity (abdominal area) that surrounds the body's internal organs.
Though the term might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more so in women than men. Extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection.
Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.
Fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones. As the evidence against abdominal fat mounts, researchers and clinicians are trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss. 

Visceral fat is the internal fatty tissue that wraps itself around the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas, and streaks through muscles. Scientists don't know exactly what causes people to lay down visceral fat, although it has been linked to a high-fat diet. But they do know it behaves differently from the largely benign fat that lies just below the skin (the sort you can pinch between your fingers).
Basically it is toxic.
Research even suggests that visceral fat affects mood by increasing production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and reducing levels of feel-good endorphins. So, along with killing you, visceral fat, it seems, can make you feel low.
People store most of their fat in two ways – one you can see and one you can't.
The fat you can see is just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. That's called subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.
The fat you can't see is deeper inside, around the vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive tract, liver, and so on) in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. 
When a body's obese, it can run out of safe places to store fat and begin storing it in and around the organs, such as around the heart and the liver.

Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. It’s appropriate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.
Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines — for example, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 — that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These and other biochemicals are thought to have deleterious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.
One reason excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver. Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids. Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance means that your body’s muscle and liver cells don’t respond adequately to normal levels of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that carries glucose into the body’s cells. Glucose levels in the blood rise, heightening the risk for diabetes. .

Checking Your Risk
The most precise way to determine how much visceral fat you have is to get a CT scan or MRI. But you don't need to go that far to get a sense of whether or not the fat inside you is putting your health at risk.
Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist, and check your girth. Do it while you're standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level.
For the minimal effect on your health, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you're a woman and less than 40 inches if you're a man.
Having a "pear shape" -- fatter hips and thighs -- is considered safer than an "apple shape," which describes a wider waistline.
“What we’re really pointing to with the apple versus pear.  Is that, if you have more abdominal fat, it’s probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat."

So what can we do about tubby tummies? 
A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.
Diet is very important 
There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.
Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help.

Sleep: 
Getting the right amount of shut eye helps. In one study, people who got six to seven hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept five or fewer hours per night or eight or more hours per night. Sleep may not have been the only thing that mattered -- but it was part of the picture.

Stress
Cortisol is a hormone that is produced when you are under stress; cortisol fat is simply fat produced as a result of stress. Obesity and other diseases of modern civilization are due to an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. When levels are constantly elevated it results in fat storage, which is difficult for the body to burn off. To get rid of the body fat caused by cortisol overload, it will take changing your eating habits, taking particular supplements, exercising and eliminating stress in your life.

Stabilize blood sugar levels. Going too long between meals will slow your metabolism and can make your blood sugar dip extremely low. To avoid these effects, eat approximately every three hours. Protein will raise your metabolism by 25 percent; therefore balance each meal with protein, fat and complex carbohydrates. Eating every three hours will also slowly raise the blood sugar, thus reducing the levels of insulin and cortisol excreted by the body.

Add beneficial foods, fats and fiber into your diet. This includes broccoli, kale, lemon, garlic, onions, lean proteins, omega 3-rich flaxseed oil and avocados as well as thermogenic spices like cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Add supplements to reduce body fat.Replenishing vitamins and minerals that may be deficient for someone under stress. These include vitamins C and B-complex, magnesium and zinc, among others. "The supplements" "have the ability to make your body less insulin resistant, calm your adrenal glands and help your body remove glucose from the blood."

Reduce or eliminate stress in your life"Stress is the pressures of life and how one perceives, believes, reacts and copes with these pressures." Take a warm bath with lavender oil, go for a power walk, write in a journal and/or take a yoga class to learn relaxation techniques.Have a massage or Advanced Reflexology.I am a complimentary therapist with 14 years experience in Co. Kerry.

Warnings
  • Check with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet that may interact with any medications you are taking. If stress is constant in your life, get your blood pressure taken regularly.
  • Tips
    • Clean out your pantry and refrigerator of foods that are full of sugar, white flour and lack nutrition.
    • Plan a weekly menu of balanced meals, and fill your kitchen with foods that will benefit your fat-burning goals.
    • Find exercises that you enjoy and put them on your calendar so they become part of your regular routine.
    • Eliminate caffeine, and drink a cup of hot Valerian root tea in the evenings to help you sleep better.
  • Contact Kay Massage /Advanced Therapist in Co Kerry with 14 years. 
  • 068 23574
  • Email; kay@kaymcdonnell.com


6 Comments to Abdominal fat and what to do.:

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ecift on 09 March 2014 17:19
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Kay McDonnell on 05 January 2015 10:28
Thank you Smiles Kay McDonnel


Kay McDonnell on 11 March 2014 10:14
Thank you very much. Smiles Kay
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Kaymcdonnell on 05 January 2015 10:31
Thank you so much. Smiles Kay McDonnell

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