How Belly Fat Could be Hurting Your Heart
Heart Health month may be over, but don’t stop paying close attention to the care of your ticker. Strokes and heart disease are epidemic in the U.S and monitoring your heart health should always remain a high priority. There are steps you can take right now to not only prevent but reverse heart disease with a heart-healthy lifestyle.
So why is it so important to be pro-active when it comes to your heart health?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
- Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing over370,000 people annually.
- Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
Pretty scary numbers. Although heart disease may be a leading cause of death, that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Most people know that getting their blood pressure and cholesterol checked is important, along with healthy eating habits and exercise.
Unfortunately, that just isn’t enough. There are hidden dangers to your heart health that go far beyond diet and exercise, and you need to be aware of them. This little discussed culprit that has been proven to drastically increase your risk of heart disease. What is it?
Your Belly Fat!
No matter what you call it, a beer belly, pot belly, spare tire or even a muffin top, if you have one, you’re increasing your risk of heart disease. This little discussed culprit has been proven to drastically increase your risk of heart disease.
The ironic thing is that even skinny people can have an unhealthy level of body fat that’s hidden, so the risk is harder to detect. Just because you can’t see it, it doesn't mean it’s not there.
The medical term for belly fat is Visceral Adiposity and it’s a killer.
Visceral Adiposity is the Belly fat tucked deep inside your waistline, within your abdominal cavity. This fat is stored around some very vital organs such as the liver, pancreas and the intestines. Simply put, a big waistline puts you at increased risk for many health problems -- diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
There are a lot of health risks associated with belly fat, but let me look at three that should be of concern to you.
Inflammation is generated in belly fat. Chronic inflammation can damage the heart’s cells, valves and the inside lining of the arteries. This can result in the progression of plaque build-up, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat, murmurs and even congestive heart failure.
Research indicates that inflammation is at the core of what we consider age-related diseases such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders and you guessed it – cardiovascular disease.
The quickest way to battle inflammation is through your diet. The typical American diet contains thirty times more pro-inflammatory nutrients than the food we consumed a century ago. The result is a population being set-up for escalated inflammatory problems.
Staying away from sugar, dairy, trans-fats and processed food is a great way to start reducing your risk.
This is a condition where the pancreas produces insulin, but it doesn’t use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, which leads to Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes diagnosis. 1 in 10 adults over the age of 20 suffer from diabetes and 1 in 4 seniors over the age of 65 suffer from this condition.
The complications from diabetes are severe. Heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and even limb amputation.
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can easily be avoided. The diabetes Prevention Program found that just by losing weight and increasing physical activity they were able to reduce this condition by 58% for people aged 20 – 60. It was reduced by 71% in people over the age of 60.
Hardening of the Arteries
Belly fat is linked to the worsening of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which makes heart attacks and blood clots more likely.
Americans have 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year and it’s our leading cause of death. 800,000 people in our country die from cardiovascular disease each year – that’s one out of every three deaths.
Hardening of the arteries occurs when fat, cholesterol and plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries. This plaque build-up not only causes heart problems, but it causes problems throughout the body.
The good news is that you can easily reduce your risk just by making a few simple changes. So, what should you do if you have belly fat?
- Consume glycemic balanced, low-carb meals. This type of meal prevents spike in blood sugar which can also promote inflammation and fat storage. Eat lots of leafy greens, fiber, lean protein colorful vegetables and don’t be afraid of the “good fats” like avocados, nuts and olive oil. Stay away from sugar, white flour sweets and processed foods.
- Avoid having too high or low blood sugar. States of low and high blood sugar release the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps the body store fat around the belly.
- Remove “inflammatory food triggers”
The most basic inflammatory food triggers are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and peanuts. Sugar and high carb foods top this list of don’ts.
Are You At Risk?
Every “body” is different and there’s no one size fits all solution. A good rule of thumb is if your height isn't at least double the circumference or your waist (your waist, not your hips), you’re probably at risk.
If you suffer from chronic belly fat, suffer no more! This is a serious health threat but you can do something about it. Losing the belly fat and decreasing inflammation in your body is a good place to start. If you need help starting this process or if you've already started but need to accelerate your results, join me for an “Complimentary Energy Breakthrough Session". Schedule your session here now. ($295 Value) and start healing your gut and your heart now.
May you be well & thrive!