When I had a very large, round belly, I took belly fat as an annoyance, as unattractive, as responsible for some hefty tailoring expenses to let my pants out and as something I should do something about, starting next week.
Dangerous? Fat’s fat, right? If only.
“…We’ve learned that abdominal fat tissue is a hotbed of inflammation that pours out all kinds of inflammatory molecules,” claimed one belly fat expert. Those inflammatory molecules charging out of my belly fat could lead to several dangerous diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Belly Fat, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Inflammation and Me
I first started reading about inflammation when I started to read about diabetes and and other maladies, but it was always mentioned in passing as part of some other condition and not a danger by itself.
No, it’s a danger and it works with a number of different triggers, several of which could be happening at the same time.
When I was fat, I was overloading my immune system. Well, I didn’t smoke. That helped. Somewhat.
Inflammation is the body’s response to some kind of irritant or wound. It’s normal and it triggers the your immune system to begin the body’s process of healing its self. The danger starts with the irritant doesn’t stop. Your body considers high fat foods, too much belly fat and smoking as chronic irritants and that starts the inflammation that triggers your immune system to get out of control. An out of control immune system will lead to heart valve damage, stroke, brain cell damage (which I guess leads to dementia) cancer and insulin resistance, which is type 2 diabetes.
One solution to controlling the problem is the use of statin drugs for heart disease and diabetes medication keep the glucose levels under control.
There is another solution. Lose weight and change your diet, or as I often say, lose the fat, lose the problem.
Fat cells are not all the same. Belly fat seems to churn out a molecule called cytokine, which is a first class, grade A, inflammation inducing irritant. When I had my belly, I was probably a cytokine factory. Inflammation can be detected with a simple blood test checking for A substance known as C-reactive protein. The good news is that losing weight, particularly belly fat can dramatically lower the cytokine and C-reactive protein dramatically and quickly.
What foods you choose can also help and there is even a book to help make the right anti-inflammatory choices call The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet by Dr. Christopher P. Cannon. This diet emphasizes eating whole grains, unsaturated fats such as plant oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, poultry, eggs and moderate amounts of dairy foods. It also suggests avoiding as much as possible red meat, butter, sweets and white foods such as rice, potatoes and pasta.
Hey, don’t want to waste a good commercial opportunity when one arrives.
Other studies now show that foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids from salmon, canola oil, and flax seed can help, fiber is good for reducing inflammation as is moderate servings of low fat milk and yogurt.
Chronic inflammation from whatever source has long been a suspect for causing cancer. Reducing any chronic inflammation from any source, belly fat, high fat foods and smoking, can reduce the odds of your getting cancer.
All good reasons to change your diet and shape up.