Every time when you are looking down while standing on a weighing scale, you notice that your flabby belly is bulging out, blocking your view. Perhaps to you, it is a normal sign since extra pounds at the waistline are generally associated with the aging process. Most of the time, this phenomenon can be seen in woman in their mid 30’s onwards, especially when they reach their menopause. Otherwise, it is also very common due to poor diet that leads to obesity. “Stomach fats” in layman terms is what we know and most of us choose not to lose belly fat thinking that it is not a major issue. But are you aware that having “fats at the stomach” is more complicated than it seems to be?
Intra-abdominal adiposity (IAA), commonly known as belly fat, abdominal or visceral fat is a key factor that triggers off a variety of health and joint problems. For people who are overweight, excessive belly fat results in more weight acting on the joints which strain and hurts the back, knees or hips. Besides that, belly fat also increases the risk of chronic inflammation in the body which can lead to the development of arthritis and other diseases.
Prolonged period of inflammation in the body releases pro-inflammatory cytokines which causes joint inflammation and attack other tissues or organs as in rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, the cartilage that protects the two bones from rubbing against each other starts to wear off, leading to intense pain, stiffness or even loss of mobility (osteoarthritis).
In fact, there is a conventional way of controlling chronic inflammation. There is a blood test that measure the C-reactive protein level in the body which determines the degree of inflammation in the body. Usually, anti-flammatory medications are then prescribed to block the inflammation process and reduce the negative impact on the joints. However, it is always better to remedy the source of the problem rather than depending on medications alone.
Therefore, it is vital to lose belly fat so as to prevent joint inflammation and improves the overall joint health. Another benefits of losing belly fat is that it lower the overall body mass (BMI) which helps to relieve arthritis joint pain and slow down the process of joints degeneration.
How Belly Fat Results In Joint Inflammation
True enough, belly fat was once believed that it just sit harmlessly at the stomach area which operates just like a warehouse of stored fats. However, research indicates that belly fats are biologically active and works like endocrine glands in the hormonal system. Many studies reported that the extra fats around the abdomen increase the amount of inflammatory agents which are pumped out continuously into the rest of the body system.
When these agents infused with the fats, it causes inflammation throughout the entire body and the joints are the primary targets. As more fat settles in the stomach, the amount of inflammatory agents in the body actually increases to match it. Other than the joints being affected, these ‘nasty’ bio-agents flow through the blood vessels and affect the immune system’s responsiveness to insulin and blood-clotting. Besides, it also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, tumor development, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and arteries narrowing problems (atherosclerosis).
Basically, there are 3 main inflammatory agents that cause joint inflammation leading to severe joint damages if belly fats are not eliminated. Leptin is a protein hormone which regulates the energy input and output of the body by interacting with the brain receptor. It has a profound impact on the overall appetite and body’s metabolism.
Generally, leptin sends a signal to the brain after a meal so that the body will stop eating. However, due to the excess of belly fat, it results in the abnormal response of leptin hormone. On the other hand, Adjponectin hormone also gets disrupted and reduces the body cells sensitivity to insulin.
Therefore, this results in over-eating and it explains why obese people had high levels of leptin which correspond with the increase in belly fats. Many subsequent studies also concluded that the body mass index (BMI) and body weight are consistently associated with leptin levels among those with osteoarthritis.
Several tests on the synovial fluid in people with osteoarthritis indicate the presence of high leptin concentrations. The development of abnormal bony projections around joints, known as osteophytes or “bone spurs”, degeneration of the cartilage and subchondral bone are all believed to be triggered off by leptin.
TNF (Tumor necrosis factor) is another inflammatory agents that produces a substance called interleakin-1 (IL-I beta). When the amount of belly fat increases, the level of IL-I beta also rises that activates an enzymes known as proteases. This enzyme causes joint inflammation, degradation and involved in the destruction of cartilage matrix and bones.
TNF-alpha and Interleukin 1-beta are key agents in rheumatoid arthritis that causes joint inflammation and destruction by reacting cytokines. Results from clinical tests on joint fluids in people with RA indicate high levels of TNF-alpha, IL 1-beta and Substance P but lower in people with osteoarthritis. IL-I beta can also be found in the nerve cells which amplifies neurotic pain and inflammation signals of arthritis.
Other than releasing inflammatory agents that attacks the joints, belly fat can also affects the functioning of the liver. Excessive fat by-products and the inflammatory agents released by belly fat actually drain right into the liver. This happens when the white adipose tissue (stored fat) is not able to store the ‘oversupply’ of fats and therefore turn to liver as an alternative storage location.
In the event if excessive belly fat is not eliminated from the body, the liver will officially become the second warehouse for stored fats. With that, the liver becomes “fatty” in the same respect as an alcoholic’s liver that increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Though most of us knew that to lose belly fat in order to prevent joint inflammation is not an easy task, there are still many ways which are effective in burning off those unhealthy fats in you. In fact, it all boils down to changing your diet or eating habits and exercise regularly.
9 Great Natural Tips To Lose Belly Fat
- Never skip meals: Eat your meal on time. If you skip your meal, you will become too hungry and ended up eating too much. As a general thumb of rule, do not go beyond 4 hours without eating. Otherwise, you will find yourself munching on junk foods like tibits, cookies and sweets which are the primary cause of your belly fat. Most junk food has high sugar content that increases your appetite and fats storage. If these junk foods are just beside you, my advice is throw them away! But that does not mean empty stomach is good. In fact, your body metabolism slows down when there is no intake of food, leading to weight gain instead!
- Avoid inflammatory foods: As mention earlier, inflammation increases the amount of belly fats. You should avoid refined carbohydrates, trans-fat or processed foods like donuts, cakes, cookies, biscuits, lunch-meats, red meat, hydrogenated oil etc. Alcohol will also contribute to inflammation, so it is wise not to consume it. All these foods cannot be digested by the body easily and will results in accumulation of fats. Instead, you must eat more fish which have high value of Omega 3 fatty acids. Other sources of Omega 3 acids include cauliflower, cabbage, flax-seeds, brussels sprouts, green beans, raspberries, spinach and romaine lettuce.
- Drink more water: Staying hydrated is also important. It helps metabolism to function properly and keeps energy levels up. Drinking water gives a full feeling too and can help in eating reduced portions at mealtime. Aim for drinking 8-10 cups of water daily. Green tea is another healthy alternative that you can consider. It fights fat and has antioxidants to fight disease and inflammation.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits: Main factor in overall nutrition that contains filing fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants. Avocado, apples, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, berries, blueberries and strawberries are some of the great choices.
- Choose dietary fiber: Whole grains and fiber foods helps the body to digest the food properly and give you the feel of fullness. It is also effective in reducing inflammation. Some of these foods include corn, rice, oat, whole wheat breads, brown rice, dry roasted soybeans (Edamame), flax seeds, almonds etc.
- Stop night snacks: Avoid taking any night snacks as the body will be in resting state. As such, when there is no energy or workouts to burn the sugar-content away, it will just convert to belly fat.
- Get your sleep: Based on few studies, getting enough sleep and rest may help to shed unwanted weight in you. A person who had short hours of sleeping time or going to bed late had more cravings for junk food and eventually leads to weight gain.
- Exercise regularly: Typically, intensive exercise is an effective means of weight loss that helps to get rid of the extra pounds around the waistline. However, a good exercise regime should incorporate various exercises that burn fats and strengthen the muscles. If you are overweight, then aerobic exercise is a perfect choice for burning off the excess calories and fats.
- Relax yourself: When you are facing stress, the stress hormone known as cortisol rises and increased the level of inflammation. Chronic stress is common in today’s society and can impair the ability to lose weight effectively. Therefore, learn to relax yourself by closing your eyes, lying down or listening to your favorite music can helps to maintain your cortisol at a balanced level.