While getting rid of those extra pounds standing between you and your jeans fitting comfortably may be your goal when you embark on a new diet, it’s the body fat you don’t see that could be putting your health at risk. Experts say that visceral fat—fat that develops well below the skin’s surface—is far more dangerous for your health.
“Visceral fat is a danger to health for a few reasons,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, from Balance One Supplements. “First, it is carried at the front of the body where it creates significant stress on the heart and other vital organs. This puts the individual at risk for heart disease and stroke, among other chronic conditions. Second, if allowed to persist it will form around organs and tissues which makes it difficult to lose, also increasing the risk of chronic disease.”
Best notes that visceral fat can often go undetected, lulling those with healthy BMIs into a false sense of security about their health when, in fact, their wellbeing may be in jeopardy. But how do you lose pounds you can’t even see? Read on to discover which foods registered dietitians recommend incorporating into your regular routine to lose dangerous visceral fat after 50. And for more ways to shed those extra pounds, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Looking for a great way to reduce your visceral fat mass while adding rich flavor to your favorite dishes? Consider adding some cumin to your recipes.
“Consistent, long-term use of cumin may aid in decreasing fat deposits throughout the body by regulating insulin because when the cells absorb too much glucose, the body converts it to fat. Adequate insulin can mitigate this occurrence,” says Best.
If you’re looking for a great way to reduce your visceral fat while enjoying your favorite foods, try incorporating some green banana flour into your recipes in place of white flour.
“Green banana flour is one of the world’s richest sources of gut-healthy prebiotic resistant starch, which is a special nutrient that is proven to help make your cells more responsive to insulin, ultimately helping prevent fat storage around the waist,” explains Kara Landau, RD, founder at Uplift Food. “Green banana flour can be added to a nourishing smoothie or oatmeal bowl, or even blended in with your coffee.”
Whether you’re adding them to a salad or putting them in a soup for some added protein, lupini beans are an easy and delicious way to reduce dangerous visceral fat on your body.
“Lupini beans are a low net carbohydrate, high prebiotic fiber, and high protein legume that do not spike blood sugar levels, which in turn assists with reducing fat storage and preventing weight gain around the waist,” says Landau, who notes that lupini beans can also be ground down to make a protein- and fiber-rich flour.
Whether you’re enjoying some sauerkraut as a side dish or topping your rice with kimchi, fermented foods are a delicious way to cut your visceral fat mass.
“Some studies have linked an increase in beneficial gut bacteria to a reduction in visceral fat mass. Incorporating fermented foods including yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut may have a positive impact on digestion and a host of other processes that help regular weight and belly fat mass,” explains Isa Kujawski, MPH, RDN, founder and owner of Mea Nutrition.
Adding some omega-3-rich fish to your diet may benefit more than just your heart health—it could help you shed that dangerous visceral fat, too.
“Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, are rich in both vitamin D and omega-3s,” says Kujawski. “Low levels of both of these have been linked to higher visceral fat.”
Spinach and kale are great for adding fiber and essential nutrients to your diet, as well as helping you shed that visceral fat you’ve been carrying.
“Dark leafy greens such as collard greens, spinach, and kale are good sources of calcium, a mineral which has been shown to downregulate fat storage hormones and has been associated with reduced visceral adiposity in overweight and obese individuals,” explains Kujawski.