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Belly Fat Hurts Your Brain

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Researchers at Kaiser Permanente found people who are both obese and have a large belly in their 40s are three times more likely to experience dementia than those with a healthy weight and belly size. “The take-home message from this study is that one should not only be concerned about their weight but where they carry their fat,” said Rachel Whitmer, the lead author of the study.

Even if your body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat, is with in the normal range a waist larger than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is a sign of too much belly fat and a reason for concern. Belly fat, which releases hormones and chemicals such as leptin, is particularly damaging to the brain.

However, there is good news, belly fat is usually the first weight to come off when you drop pounds and often small changes are enough to melt away the spare tire. Here are some tips to melt belly fat and decrease your risk of dementia:

Get up and move. A recent study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center indicates just 10 minutes of activity per day can make a difference in your health. “Start exercising for small amounts of time, and then gradually work up to 150 minutes a week. A little is better than nothing,” said principal investigator Dr. Timothy S. Church.

Eat breakfast. Avoid skipping meals when trying to melt the belly fat. Start your day with whole grain toast and peanut butter, oatmeal and raisins, or a bowl of whole grain cereal and skim milk. Continue to fuel your metabolism with small snacks and meals through out the day. Starvation will not decrease your waistline. Constant peaks and valleys in your blood sugar trains your body to hold on to the fat around your middle. Choose whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish to keep your internal fire burning hot through out the day.

Drink water first. Beverages such as soda, coffee drinks, and sports drinks add calories, sodium and chemicals to your diet your body doesn’t need. Indulge in a treat now and then if you like, but drink water first. Your body needs five tall glasses of water per day to be able to release belly fat.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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