Visceral fat is considered dangerous because of where it’s stored in the body. It can be found in the abdominal cavity next to many vital organs such as the liver, intestines and pancreas. If visceral fat builds up it will begin to wrap around these organs, increasing the risk of serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Visceral fat build up can be linked to eating a poor diet, high in saturated fat.
So making some changes to what you eat can help you get rid of it.
A healthy diet should consist of five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables a day, some dairy or dairy alternative, some protein, and some unsaturated oils and spreads.
But another important part of your diet should be fibre.
A study carried out by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre found eating 10g of soluble fibre a day led to a 3.7 per cent reduction in visceral fat over the course of five years.
Soluble fibre forms a gel-like consistency when it reaches the stomach, helping you feel full and blocking the absorption of cholesterol.
The British Dietetic Association lists the best fibre rich food choices, which also contain soluble fibre.
Six of these foods include:
- Starchy foods – sweet potato
- Beans and pulses – baked beans
- Vegetables – peas
- Fruits – banana
- Seeds – linseeds
- Nuts – almonds
Government guidelines published in July 2015 said our Britons dietary fibre intakes should increase to 30g a day as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
It was found most adults are only eating an average of about 18g a day.
The NHS lists some ways you can increase your fibre intake:
- Choose a higher-fibre breakfast cereal such as plain wholewheat biscuits or plain shredded whole grain, or porridge oats are also a good source of fibre.
- Go for wholemeal or granary breads, or higher fibre white bread, and choose wholegrains like wholewheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice.
- Go for potatoes with their skins on, such as a baked potato or boiled new potatoes. Find out more about starchy foods and carbohydrates.
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads.
- Include plenty of vegetables with meals, either as a side dish or added to sauces, stews or curries.
- Have some fresh or dried fruit, or fruit canned in natural juice for dessert. Because dried fruit is sticky, it can increase the risk of tooth decay, so it’s better if it is only eaten as part of a meal, rather than as a between-meal snack.
- For snacks, try fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes and unsalted nuts or seeds.