Feeling a little out of it and noticing changes to your overall health? Your growing belly fat might be a key reason. Fat in this part of your body isn’t just an aesthetic problem; it can be dangerous and lead to numerous health risks. Understanding the risks and reasons for this fat and taking steps to minimize it, like adding this ginger tea recipe to your daily routine will put you on track to shedding this belly fat and feeling better.
Health Issues of Belly Fat
There are two types of body fat, subcutaneous (the layer that accumulates under the skin) and visceral (the deep fat that builds up around your organs). [i]
Belly fat is particularly dangerous because it accumulates deep in your abdomen and sits around your organs putting pressure on them. This visceral fat is associated with:[i]
Type 2 Diabetes
Visceral fat does this as it weighs down on your organs and disrupts hormonal balance, provokes high blood pressure, clots your arteries, and secretes harmful inflammatory cytokines which can lead to insulin sensitivities.[ii] High cytokine levels can lead to a dangerous amount of inflammation, which can cause cancer and memory loss. [iii]
Belly fat also sits above the vein that carries blood from the intestines to the liver. This is where fatty acids travel to the liver and enter into your circulatory system, leading to high bad cholesterol (LDL), low good cholesterol (HDL), and insulin resistance, putting you at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.[iv]
How Does Belly Fat Accumulate?
Belly fat is the result of a lot of factors out of your control like age, gender, and genetics. However, some things are in your control and have a greater impact on the level of body fat. These factors are exercise, diet, and hormones.
Start moving and weight training if you want to lose this dangerous fat. Our western habits have us sitting at work, sitting as we commute, and sitting more once we get home. This lack of movement has serious health implications.[v]
Start moving around at work, regularly get up and stretch throughout the day, stand when you can, and take the stairs. When you are home, establish an appropriate exercise routine, and plan physical activities for your evening, such as going for walks, playing games that involve movement, or joining a recreational sports team.[vi]
Lastly, building muscle can help you burn more fat even when at rest. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so just having it on your body means you’re losing weight when you aren’t even working out. Incorporate strength training at least twice a week for a sustainable and consistent way to shed some of that unhealthy belly fat.[vii]
When it comes to health problems, preventative measures and food are the best medicine. Eating right is the foundation for feeling better because good food works with your organs, instead of against them.
Firstly, too much sugar in our diets is one of the primary causes of belly fat and health problems. Don’t be fooled by clever marketing: fruit juice has a ton added sugar and isn’t going to help you just because fruit is in its name. Eat whole fruit with all those beneficial dietary fibers, and cut out all added sugars from your daily nutrition. [viii]
Secondly, you likely aren’t eating enough vegetables. Vegetables should make up the bulk of all your meals, they are what you should be filling up on. Eat leafy greens, broccoli and beans, rather than potatoes, corn, and carrots.[ix]
Thirdly, avoid processed foods, because if they aren’t filled with harmful chemicals they will have artery-clogging trans fats, sugar, and salt which are belly fat’s best friend.[x]
Try these breakfast foods to burn belly fat and start your day right.
In older men and women, hormone imbalance such as having too much estrogen can cause numerous problems including weight gain. This happens when progesterone levels are much lower than estrogen levels, creating estrogen dominance. Balancing your hormones can be tricky, and for men and women having too much estrogen can increase the production of belly fat, sometimes making proper diet and exercise ineffective.[xi]
To help balance your hormones you’ll need to eat food that lowers estrogen such as broccoli, cabbage, and whole grains.[xii] After consulting with your doctor, finding a natural progesterone cream derived from plants might be beneficial, as you bring progesterone levels up to correct the estrogen-progesterone ratio, getting rid of your estrogen dominance.[xiii]
Benefits of Ginger
While ginger can’t fix all the sources and problems associated with belly fat, the active ingredient gingerol can shed some belly fat, while addressing some of the inflammation that visceral fat causes.
How Ginger Protects Against Visceral Fat
In one study, oxidative damage in rats was reversed by eating a diet with 1% ginger for 4 weeks. Suggesting that ginger is a legitimate antioxidant that can help protect against cellular stress and damage from cytokines because of the visceral fat. [xiv]
Additionally, two studies found that ginger can decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain, reducing some of the damage belly fat causes on the body as it secretes hormones into your blood and throughout your body.[xv] [xvi]While these studies were done in rats on two separate cases of inflammation, they still promise some benefits.
Ginger has also been studied as an anti-cancer herb, and prevents cardiovascular disease with some success, proving to be an effective herb for fighting many of the problems associated with belly fat.[xvii]
How Ginger Helps to Reduce Belly Fat
Ginger can also be a solution for reducing belly fat while dealing with some of the problems.
Ginger is effective for digesting sugar and regulating glucose levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes.[xviii] Additionally, higher levels of sugar leads to more fat production and therefore more belly fat.[xix] This is promising as being able to maintain and digest these sugars will help your body to reduce the build-up of belly fat, so you can shed the remaining weight without gaining new fat.
In a study on rats, researchers found that a ginger extract significantly lowered fat production in diabetic rats. [xx] This study shows promise that humans will also produce less fat when they consume ginger, preventing the build-up of lipids in your abdomen.
Belly Fat Burning Ginger Tea Recipe
A number of health problems come from belly fat, which makes the potential benefits of ginger tea worth a try.
Drink this simple ginger tea recipe 2 times a day to stop the production of fat, while addressing other issues unattended weight has contributed to.
1 sliced knob of fresh ginger
1 and a half cups of water
Put ginger, and water into a pot and bring it to a boil, steeping it for 15-20 minutes
Pour it over a few mint leaves
Squeeze as much lemon juice as your heart desires into the tea
Belly fat is much more than an aesthetic issue as it sits on and around your organs secreting hormones and cytokines causing problems throughout your body. Finding a few sustainable habits such as drinking a refreshing tea, and getting a little more exercise can make a big difference to your health, and how you feel.
[i] Abdominal fat and what to do about it – Harvard Health. Harvard Health. 2015. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[iii] Fighting Inflamation | Center for Science in the Public Interest. Cspinetorg. 2011. Available at: https://cspinet.org/tip/fighting-inflamation. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[iv] Abdominal fat and what to do about it – Harvard Health. Harvard Health. 2015. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[v] Wade, Marcia. The Risks of Belly Fat. WebMD. 2017. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/the-risks-of-belly-fat#3. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[xi] Randolph C, James G. From Belly Fat To Belly Flat. 1st ed. Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications; 2008.
[xii] Liddell A. Seven Foods That Decrease the Estrogen Levels in Women. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2011. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/523918-seven-foods-that-decrease-the-estrogen-levels-in-women/. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[xiii] Garvin C. Are There Natural Ways to Increase Progesterone Levels?. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2013. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/212249-natural-ways-to-increase-progesterone-levels/. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[xiv] Mallikarjuna K, Sahitya Chetan P, Sathyavelu Reddy K, Rajendra W. Ethanol toxicity: Rehabilitation of hepatic antioxidant defense system with dietary ginger. Fitoterapia. 2008;79(3):174-178. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2007.11.007.
[xv] Young H, Luo Y, Cheng H, Hsieh W, Liao J, Peng W. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of -gingerol. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2005;96(1-2):207-210. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.009.
[xvi] Minghetti P, Sosa S, Cilurzo F et al. Evaluation of the Topical Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Ginger Dry Extracts from Solutions and Plasters. Planta Medica. 2007;73(15):1525-1530. doi:10.1055/s-2007-993741.
[xvii] Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
[xviii] Daily J, Yang M, Kim D, Park S. Efficacy of ginger for treating Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. 2017.
[xix] Traister J. Increased Blood Sugar & Weight Gain. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2011. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/481929-increased-blood-sugar-weight-gain/. Accessed May 2, 2017.
[xx] Bhandari U, kanojia R, Pillai K. Effect of ethanolic extract of Zingiber officinale on dyslipidaemia in diabetic rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2005;97(2):227-230. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.11.011