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Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

The fat around the tummy is the easiest to gain and sadly, the toughest to shed. It is known as the visceral fat, and some amount of it is required to provide cushioning to the organs, but too much of it can pose a major risk to your health. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta shares, “There is a strong co-relation between belly fat and cardiovascular diseases. We have heard of apple and pear-shaped bodies. Those who are apple shaped have a considerable amount of body weight around the abdominal area and are at a higher risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases." There are a couple of factors that contribute towards belly fat and you need a combination of a good diet and regular exercise to get rid of the extra pounds. In some cases, the hidden reason for a bulging belly may be an unrelated factor like stress or sleep deprivation. Here are six secrets to losing belly fat that you may not have known.

1. Ditch Foods That Have A High Glycaemic Index

Simply cutting down on your carb intake may not be sufficient. You also need to look out for the Glycemic Index. Glycemic Index (GI) measures the impact of different food items on our blood sugar levels. Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr.Anju Sood explains the consequences of having foods with a high glycemic index, “It is a matter of how you mobilize the fat you consume which will affect the visceral fat accumulation. The moment you load up on high glycaemic index foods, your blood sugar levels spike up suddenly. This excess sugar would eventually be stored as fat, and result in a bigger belly. Low glycemic foods do not cause sudden sugar spikes, they delay your digestion and are also rich in fiber.” So, load up on nuts, legumes and vegetables without starch and steer clear of potatoes, white rice, white bread and sugary canned juices as much as possible.

2. Switch To Fiber-Rich Foods and Whole Grains

Fibre takes a long time to digest, hence it gives you the feeling of fullness and prevents you from binging on other high-carb foods. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta suggests, “You must include high fibre foods such as leafy vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Whole grains have a positive impact in maintaining satiety. Eat a lot of beans, brown or whole grain rice, nuts and dry fruits to maximise on your fibre.

3. Load Up On Proteins

Most of our Indian meals are high on carbohydrates which may make you lose out on the adequate protein intake, but proteins are essential. There is a good reason why all nutritionists and fitness experts always stress on increasing your protein intake. It boosts metabolism, reduces your appetite and controls several weight-regulating hormones. High protein intake increases thelevels of satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones such as GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing the levels of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. Proteins take the longest to digest, which aids weight loss. Eggs, oats, broccoli, poultry, fish almonds and milk are great sources of protein.

Eat Your Fats

Yes, you heard us. Shunning fats completely may not be the best idea as fats make up the majority of your cell walls andare instrumental in balancing hormones. Not all fats are bad, one must know the difference. Consuming healthy unsaturated fats like avocado, olive oil, coconut, fish and nuts and seeds, not only keeps you satisfied but also stimulates the fat-burning process in your body. Dr. Sood recommends, “Around 15 to 20 percent of your calorie intake has to be fat, out of which 50 percent should be from visible origins (ghee, butter, and oil) and the remaining half from invisible origins which are already present in the food you eat. Recent studies have noted that you need to have 3 parts of poly-unsaturated fatty acids and 1 part of saturated fats for optimum health."

5. Sleep

When you are sleep deprived and low on energy you automatically inch towards comfort foods that are high on sodium and carbs. Lack of sleep also slows down the metabolic activity. The two hormones working in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin . On the other hand, leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin in your body. Increased amounts of ghrelin, and less leptin may lead to weight gain. Dr. Rupali says, “ You need eight hours of good quality sleep daily. People might argue that it is not essential, but sleep deprivation along with damaging your health, may also induce weight gain.”

6.Stress Management

Tried all possible exercises to lose belly fat but no desired results? You probably need to calm down. Stress induced weight gain is becoming a popular phenomenon these days, and a certain hormone called cortisol may be tagged as the culprit here. Shilpa Arora, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, explains, “When you are tensed, the body releases cortisol as a result of which there is a rise in the insulin levels in the body. This results in a drop in the blood sugar level and that's why you crave high carbohydrate and sugary foods.” The body releases chemicals in response to the food you eat, which might have a calming effect, and this is how you may end up gaining those few extra and unwanted pounds around your belly in an attempt to beat stress.

Shilpa adds, “High cortisol production can confuse the entire endocrine system and increase your appetite. Stress also leads to the over production of ghrelin - your hunger hormone.” The concentration of the hormone is controlled by an enzyme found mostly in the abdominal region. Hence, there is greater storage of fat in the tissues of the abdomen region when you are stressed. Learn to delegate your work, breathe, relax, and plan. Make sure you have enough vitamin C. It is known to boost the adrenal gland, which regulates the secretion of cortisol. Try and take out at least 30 minutes to engage in anything that de-stresses you such as dancing, listening to music or reading. Yoga or regular exercise also helps in reducing stress.

So, what are you waiting for? Take note of these tips and set out on shedding those excess pounds already.

Did you know the history of tea goes back some 5000 years? As a matter of fact, the earliest variants of tea were very different from how we perceive the beverage today. Back then, tea was drunk as a concoction to keep one warm and fortified with vital nutrients. Somewhere down the line with the introduction of milk and a various other innovative herbs, tea became a beverage for leisure. But, the truth is that tea is indeed replete with many medicinal benefits. Black tea is a type of tea that has a very strong flavour and is one of the most popular teas across the world. It is true that black tea is a variant that is the most oxidised, but if consumed in moderation, black tea's strong antioxidants could help regulate cholesterol levels, improve heart health, boost immunity and energy levels, and also regulate weight loss. Yes, you heard us! Think weight loss and the only tea you would ever associate with it is green tea, which is not wrong. The abundant amount of catechins does help burn belly fat. Similarly, black tea has its own mechanism to steer weight loss.

Here's why you may want to include black tea in your weight diet:

1. The gut connection: According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, black tea, with help of a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans. This mechanism is different from the one adopted by green tea particles. However, the scientists said that both the teas were effective in cutting down weight in the mice model.

2. Lowers triglyceride levels: The flavonoids present in your cup full of black tea may prevent inflammation-induced obesity and lower triglyceride levels and visceral fats.

3. Low-calorie beverage: Did you know that the calorie count of your cup of black tea is almost negligible (approximately 2 calories per cup). It also has zero percent saturated fat and cholesterol. The amount of calories in tea is linked to other products added to it such as sugar, honey or milk. It is best to steep your black tea in nothing but water to derive its best weight loss benefits.

Please Note: It needs to be understood that anything in excess is not a sustainable strategy for weight loss. Caffeine content of black tea is significantly higher when compared to green tea. Excess of caffeine can leave you dehydrated. Black tea also contains natural substances called tannins, which gives black tea a characteristic strong flavour. Tannins are present in types of tea, but they are slightly in higher concentration in black tea. In moderate quantities tannins don't harm, but when consumed in excess, tannins upset our stomach or may cause nausea and vomiting.

Therefore, include black tea in your weight loss diet, but make sure you do keep everything sugary or fattening products away from your concoction. Also keep a tab on your tea intake. Make sure you do not overdo it in a bid to lose weight.

Western diets, high in fat and simple sugar, may promote the growth of bacteria in the small intestine that increases fat digestion and absorption, a study claims. The study, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, determined if microbes were required for digestion and absorption of fats. The researchers from the Midwestern University in the US assessed which microbes were involved, and the role of diet-induced microbes on the digestion and uptake of fats. They conducted a series of experiments to demonstrate that mice reared germ-free (GF) are protected from diet-induced obesity and are unable to absorb fat compared to conventionally-raised mice, also known as specific pathogen free (SPF) mice.

When the germ-free animals are given small intestine microbiota from high fat conditions, they are able to absorb fat, said Kristina Martinez-Guryn, an assistant professor at Midwestern University. The findings suggest that these microbes facilitate production and secretion of digestive enzymes into the small bowel, Martinez-Guryn said. Those digestive enzymes break down dietary fat, enabling the rapid absorption of calorie-dense foods, the researchers said. Additional experiments showed that bacteria-derived bioactive products stimulate absorptive cells in the small intestine to package and transport fat for absorption.

Therefore, bacteria in the small intestine orchestrate a series of events that allow the host to efficiently absorb fat. It is expected that these diet-microbe interactions can lead to over-nutrition and obesity over time, researchers said. While most studies have focused on the large intestine, this study highlights the microbiota in the small bowel, the major site of macronutrient digestion and absorption. Understanding host-microbe interactions in this region has significant clinical implications, especially in preventing and treating obesity and diabetes, researchers said.

“I would say the most important takeaway overall is the concept that what we eat – our diet on a daily basis – has a profound impact on the abundance and the type of bacteria we harbour in our gut,” said Martinez-Guryn. “These microbes directly influence our metabolism and our propensity to gain weight on certain diets,” she said. “Our results suggest that we can use pre- or probiotics or even develop post-biotics (bacterial-derived compounds or metabolites) to enhance nutrient uptake for people with malabsorption disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, or alternatively, we could test novel ways to decrease obesity,” she said.

So, it may not be one of the most loved vegetables across the world, but it is a universally acknowledged fact that karela, or bitter gourd, is one of the most nutritious veggies one can add to their diet.

The bitter-pungent taste of this wonder veggie may have given karela a 'not-so popular' rep amongst many, but once you develop a taste for these lovely bitters - there is just no looking back.

The many savoury bitter gourd preparations are a proof to India's obsession with karela. Bitter gourd juice contains a train of important nutrients ranging like iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.

In addition to these minerals and vitamins, it is also an abundant source of dietary fibre. This nutrient dense vegetable can do wonders for your weight loss goals, too.

In a 2010 issue of a report published in the Journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it was revealed that extracts of bitter gourd helped in the dislocation of human fat cells and also hindered the formation and growth of new fat cells.

It was further concluded that bitter gourd can be viewed as a natural agent for treating obesity.

Here's why karela juice could prove to be your best summer companion for burning some quick pounds:

How Does Karela or Bitter Gourd Juice Help In Weight Loss.

1. Regulates Insulin: Karela juice is an excellent beverage for diabetics. Bitter gourd helps regulate the blood sugar level in your body. Stabilised blood sugar levels eventually help in weight loss. Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood explains, "Karela juice makes your insulin active. When your insulin is active, your sugar would be used adequately and not convert into fat, which would inevitably help in weight loss."

2. Low-calorie Veggie: Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. You would be surprised to know that 100 grams of bitter gourd has only 34 calories. It is also low on carbohydrates and fats.

3. Rich in Fibre: Bitter gourd is rich in soluble fibres. It is said the the fibre in bitter gourd pods amounts to 10 percent of recommended daily value intake. Fibre-rich foods induce the feeling of fullness. Since fibre takes long to digest, you feel full for a longer span and tend to binge less. Bitter gourd is also filling because it is high in water - about 89 to 94 percent of its weight is just water, which also makes it an excellent summer vegetable.

जेव्हा वजन कमी करण्याबाबत चर्चा होते तेव्हा तुम्ही फॅट बर्न आणि कॅलरी बर्न असे शब्द ऐकले असतील. काही लोकांच्या मनात असा प्रश्न येऊ शकतो की, फॅट बर्न आणि कॅलरी बर्नमध्ये नक्की फरक काय? किंवा वजन कमी करण्यासाठी फॅट बर्न फायदेशीर ठरतं की, कॅलरी बर्न? खरं तर या प्रश्नांची उत्तर जाणून घेतल्याशिवाय तुम्ही तुमचा वजन कमी करण्याचा निश्चय अजिबात पूर्ण करू शकत नाही. कारण फॅट बर्न आणि कॅलरी बर्न दोन्ही वेगवेगळ्या गोष्टी असून या सर्वांचा आपल्या शरीरावर होणारा परिणाम वेगवेगळा असतो.

वजन कमी करण्यासाठी काय आहे आवश्यक?

फॅट बर्न असो किंवा कॅलरी बर्न दोन्ही वजन कमी करण्यासाठी अत्यंत फायदेशीर ठरतं. जर तुम्ही वजन कमी करण्याच्या उद्देशाने पाहत असाल तर, फॅट बर्न सर्वात जास्त महत्त्वाचं ठरतं. परंतु, यासाठीही कॅलरीवर विशेष लक्ष देण्याची गरज असते. कारण जर आहारातून तुम्ही जास्त कॅलरी घेत असाल तर तुम्ही फॅट बर्न करण्यासाठी सफल होणार नाही.

फॅट आणि कॅलरी बर्न यांमधील मुख्य अंतर काय?

आपण जे काही खातो किंवा पितो, त्यांमधून मिळाऱ्या कॅलरी शरीर उपयोग करून खर्च करतो किंवा ज्या काही उरतात त्या उर्जेच्या रूपात संग्रहित होतात. शरीर आपल्या प्रक्रियेनुसार, अतिरिक्त कॅलरी ट्रायग्लिसराइड्समध्ये रूपांतरित करतात. जे फॅट्सच्या रूपात पेशींमध्ये जमा होत राहतं.

जेव्हा तुम्ही शारीरिक मेहनत किंवा शारीरिक कष्टाची कामं करता, तेव्हा शरीर लगेच कॅलरीचा उपयोग करतं. परंतु, जेव्हा कॅलरीची कमतरता असते, त्यावेळी शरीर फॅट बर्न करण्यास सुरुवात करतं.

जेव्हा तुम्ही कमी कॅलरी डाएट घेता आणि एक्सरसाइज वाढवता. त्यावेळी शरीरातील पेशींमध्ये जमा झालेल्या फॅट्समुळे शरीराला ऊर्जा मिळते. त्यामुळेच तुमचा वेट लॉस प्लॅन व्यवस्थित काम करण्यास मदत करतो.

दोघांमध्ये असा साधा ताळमेळ...

वजन कमी करण्यासाठी किंवा वजन नियंत्रित करण्यासाठी फॅट आणि कॅलरी बर्न करण्यामध्ये समन्वय साधणं आवश्यक असतं. जर तुम्ही हे व्यवस्थित फॉलो केलं नाही तर तुम्ही लठ्ठपणाचे शिकार होऊ शकता.

टिप : वरील सर्व गोष्टी आम्ही केवळ माहिती म्हणून वाचकांपर्यंत पोहोचवत आहोत. यातून आम्ही कोणताही दावा करत नाही. प्रत्येकाची शारीरिक क्षमता वेगवेगळी असते. त्यामुळे कोणताही उपाय करण्याआधी तज्ज्ञांचा सल्ला घेणं फायदेशीर ठरतं.

Dr. Sonawane Shivani
Dr. Sonawane Shivani
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Family Physician, 3 yrs, Pune
Dr. Swapnil Mantri
Dr. Swapnil Mantri
MBBS, Pediatrician Physician, 7 yrs, Jalna
Dr. Manish Jawale
Dr. Manish Jawale
MD - Homeopathy, Homeopath, 17 yrs, Pune
Dr. Kusum Garudkar
Dr. Kusum Garudkar
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Family Physician Ayurveda, 23 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sachin Rohani
Dr. Sachin Rohani
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 16 yrs, Pune