February is famously American Heart Month, so what better time to explore the link between cardiovascular health and excess fat around the waistline? Heart disease (including conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks, increased cholesterol, etc.) is the number one killer of both men and women in the US.
Though our clients undergo treatments at Trim Studio in pursuit of aesthetic goals, there are other more important reasons to fight stubborn fat around the abdomen. Years and years of research has pointed out a link between extra weight around the mid-section and diseases of the heart as well as other troubling chronic conditions.
Fat is Fascinating Stuff
Our body’s fat cells are active little guys. In addition to frustrating us all, they’re actually up to all kinds of other things. Scientists regard fat cells as biologically active little factories for secreting hormones and other molecules into the blood stream, all of which have far-reaching effects on tissues and organs throughout the body.
The fat you can pinch and see on your body is known as subcutaneous fat—it’s literally just below (sub-) the skin (-cutaneous) almost everywhere on the body. Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is out of reach and can’t be seen because it resides deep in your abdominal cavity.
Visceral fat hangs around your organs and can disrupt their function. It can also surround the heart, producing dangerous chemical reactions and triggering inflammation as well as your risk factors for heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Visible and “Invisible” Belly Fat is Bad for the Heart
Whereas a little subcutaneous fat can actually be helpful to the body (yes, you read that correctly) by regulating hormones and even suppressing appetite, visceral fat is up to all sorts of no-good. A higher level of belly fat is implicated in serious conditions ranging from heart disease to asthma, diabetes, dementia and cancer. Visceral fat is known to:
- Trigger inflammation
- Cause blood vessels to constrict (and blood pressure to rise)
- Increases cortisol (stress hormones) in the body
- Interfere with the way your body makes and uses insulin
To put this in simple perspective, even people who are at a normal weight but have belly fat are more likely to have heart problems and other chronic conditions than those without it.
Simple Changes Can Go a Long Way
Our purpose here is not to scare you, O reader. In fact if you made it this far, we applaud you for taking the time to learn a little about heart health. Education is the first step to taking responsibility for something. So, how do we fix this?
Not one body is exactly the same as another, and if you are concerned about your heart health you should have a conversation with your doctor or cardiologist about it. In certain cases where health conditions demand extreme and rapid change, you may want to chat with a dietician about the kind of diet which would optimize your heart health the fastest.
In general, cutting out high-sugar foods and refined junk will decrease your visceral fat. These are simple choices we can all start making every day. Eating a healthy, balanced diet should decrease visceral fat, improve your energy levels and overall quality of life.
Bump up the fiber in your diet, cut out alcohol altogether and make sure you’re getting enough sleep—these are all ways to minimize visceral fat gain while improving digestion and decreasing stress.
Finally, try upping the cardio to your exercise routine. Balance workouts with weight training to ensure you’re keeping muscle mass on the body (which is great for metabolism and overall health.)
Treat Your Heart with Love
When we lose visceral fat through lifestyle changes and exercise, even though the number on the scale budges, we don’t often see it in the mirror. Despite the disappointing visual payoff, losing visceral fat is extremely important to your overall health and longevity.
At Trim Studio, we specialize in the reduction of subcutaneous fat, the kind you can see and pinch. Whether you need some help jump starting your new lifestyle or just want to compliment what you’re already doing to decrease your risk of heart disease, we’re all about it.
This client pictured lost 11 inches off her waist and hips using the Verju fat reduction laser and is well on her way to a healthier lifestyle.
Call or text us to set something up at 727-288-4329, and Happy #HeartMonth!