Fatty Belly: Understanding its Health Implications and Prevention
Abdominal obesity is a major problem among menopausal women who undergo hormonal changes. During their reproductive life, women have a dominant level of estrogen over testosterone. However, before menopause, there is a drop in estrogen levels, and testosterone becomes more dominant, causing a change in the distribution of fat tissue in the body. As a result, abdominal fat replaces the previously gynaecoid distribution, where fat was concentrated in the pelvis and thighs. Abdominal obesity is not just something that affects the way one looks but is also a dangerous fat that can lead to many health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
There are three layers of fat in our bodies: subcutaneous, middle fat, and deep fat. Abdominal fat belongs to the deep fat layer, which is in close proximity to the heart, kidneys, and liver tissues. The problem with abdominal fat is that it is a very active tissue and releases inflammatory substances that affect the metabolic syndrome, leading to various diseases like fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, and vascular diseases. Inflammation can cause resistance to insulin, leading to diabetes, irregularities in the lipid profile in the blood, high cholesterol, and increased blood pressure, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and different types of cancer. In other words, abdominal obesity is a new dimension that puts menopausal women at risk of cardiovascular diseases that are more common in men, in addition to the "normal" female diseases.
So, how can we prevent abdominal obesity? One way is through a low-carb diet, as every carbohydrate we consume goes straight to the stomach at our age. Processed carbohydrates such as bread, bulgur, pasta, rice, etc., are not physically required by our body. Fruits, vegetables, and yogurt provide sufficient carbohydrates for our bodies. Avoiding carbohydrates makes us feel good, and we are not hungry, which is not the case with proteins, which we need to prevent the loss of muscle mass as we age. Changing eating habits in small steps can also make a significant difference. For instance, we can decide to drink water instead of juice, eat oats in the morning, which helps balance sugar and is anti-inflammatory, and switch to whole red rice instead of white rice, which has a nutty taste. Drinking more anti-inflammatory infusions like green tea, chamomile, or olive leaf infusion throughout the day also helps.
Olive leaves have anti-inflammatory properties that can help balance fatty liver, cholesterol, and diabetes. It is a material that has been studied and has proven qualities. Furthermore, it is essential to get enough sleep, particularly before midnight, to give the liver enough time to cleanse toxins, break down, and clear all the excess of what we don't need, and it also helps balance the abdominal fat.
It is crucial to understand that abdominal obesity cannot be resolved by merely doing squats or other exercises. Exercise helps in reducing overall body fat, but it is not effective in targeting abdominal fat alone. Therefore, the best way to prevent abdominal obesity is by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity. By following these steps, women can reduce their risk of abdominal obesity and the associated health problems.
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