Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is the most deadly form of fatty tissue because it accumulates near vital organs, such as the liver and intestines. Its precarious positioning means it can interfere with vital bodily processes, leading to metabolic conditions, such as diabetes. Keeping visceral fat at bay is therefore integral to leading a long and healthy life.
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There is no quick-fix solution to reducing visceral fat – losing it requires an overall healthy approach to living.
Following a healthy, balanced diet should form a key part of your overall approach.
As part of your dietary regime, evidence suggests drinking a particular herbal tea may help to keep belly fat in check.
Yerba mate is an herbal tea made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant.
The tea, which has its roots in South American tradition, has been shown to activate mechanisms that lead to a reduction in belly fat.
In a notable 12-week study in overweight people, those given three grams of yerba mate powder per day lost an average of 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg).
Crucially, they also reduced their waist-to-hip ratio by two percent, which indicates lost belly fat.
Why does this happen? Animal studies show that yerba mate may reduce appetite and boost metabolism, which can help with weight loss.
Research also suggests the herbal tea decreases the total number of fat cells and reduce the amount of fat they hold.
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What’s more, human research suggests that it can also increase the amount of stored fat that’s burned for energy.
While yerba mate tea points to the fat-burning benefits that can be derived from drinking certain beverages, other drinks may actually lead to visceral fat gain.
Drinking too much alcohol for example, may encourage the development of belly fat.
Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly increased risk of developing central obesity — that is, excess fat storage around the waist.
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In light of the associated risks, logic dictates that cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size.
In fact, one study on alcohol use involving more than 2,000 people supports this claim.
Results showed those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank.
In addition to shunning certain dietary items and increasing your intake of others, regular exercise plays a key role in reducing belly fat.
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.
The health body recommends doing at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight and lose belly fat.
How do I know if I am carrying belly fat?
According to medical website LiveStrong, tape measures are the easiest way to measure belly fat.
You can measure any part of your body with a tape measure, but if you want to focus on belly fat, you should measure your waist circumference and/or calculate your waist-to-hip ratio, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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