Eating dark green vegetables could help shed visceral fat – expert

Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning

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Visceral fat is stored deep in the belly. A certain amount of it is necessary as it protects and insulates vital organs. However, having too much visceral fat has been linked to various medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.

Therefore, keeping your visceral fat levels in check is important to your health.

One cause of high amounts of visceral fat is poor diet, and consuming too many calories.

Diet can also play a role in losing visceral fat.

Personal trainer at OriGym, Jessie Jones, recommended upping your intake of dark green foods in order to do this.

She said: “Dark green leaves and supergreens like spirulina are some of the best things you can eat to tackle visceral fat.

“A vicious circle is going on with visceral fat in which stress is a common cause of the storage of this fat, but the storage itself causes the adrenal glands to exhaust and malfunction.

“This means we can produce more stress hormones and be left with inflammation and long term health issues.

“This is where greens come in. They are great for supporting and stabilising the whole of the endocrine system which your hormone production is part of.

“They’re also great at reducing inflammation in the body and helping with the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.

“Reducing inflammation will make it far easier for you to do intense exercise without harming yourself.

“Add some powdered spirulina to a smoothie in the morning or add some to an all greens soup.”

Examples of dark leafy greens include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Rocket
  • Cabbage.

This was backed by a paper published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2014.

The meta-analysis of five existing studies said: “Consumption of non-starchy vegetables is associated with lower liver fat deposition, and dark green or bright orange/yellow vegetable intake is associated with lower visceral fat and improved insulin sensitivity.”

Other foods to try

Ms Jones also advised trying tofu and foods containing a type of fibre called inulin.

“Tofu or other soya products are another great choice for actually helping your body to break down visceral fat,” she said.

“Tofu is really high in calcium which helps boost your metabolism and start to burn off this unwanted, hidden fat. Other options for the same process are fish like sardines, salmon and tuna.

“There’s also plenty of scientific research to suggest fibre inulin is a great way to combat visceral fat.

“It’s an insoluble fire, meaning it can’t be broken down in the stomach. Instead it gets sent to the bowels where bacteria help it to create fatty acids which increase your fat metabolism.

“An inulin-rich diet will therefore help your body to break down the visceral fat. It can be found in chicory (including the root), asparagus, artichokes and onions but it can also be bought as a food supplement.”

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