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The 3 Sneaky Ways Losing Belly Fat Helps Your Heart Health, MD Says

The benefits may surprise you.

Belly fat can be a stubborn nuisance to lose. It's not fun to have around—especially when entering a new season and you're clothes shopping for a special getaway. Unfortunately, unwanted fat seems like it's always easier to gain than it is to shed, but nevertheless, it's so important to deal with it—not only to feel good from the inside out, but to improve your overall health. We're going to talk about the sneaky ways losing belly fat helps your heart health big time.

The right diet and exercise can be quite beneficial when you're trying to shrink belly fat, but the task can seem overwhelming. It's imperative to understand just how negatively impactful belly fat can be to your overall health and well-being. We spoke with Dr. Juan Rivera, MD, who discusses the sneaky ways that losing belly fat helps your heart health and why they are so important. The benefits may surprise you, so listen up! Read on to learn about them, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

It can help control blood sugar levels, thereby either preventing or helping manage diabetes

Diabetic woman taking blood sample with lancet pen at home.

Believe it or not, shedding unwanted belly fat is an ideal way to control blood sugar levels and thereby either prevent or help manage diabetes. Rivera tells us, "Patients with diabetes are more likely to suffer from a heart attack." In addition to an increase in cardiovascular disease, Harvard Health reports that visceral fat has been connected to an enhanced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic disturbances. It's also linked to breast cancer in addition to gallbladder surgery.

It can help control blood pressure

blood pressure

Burning off belly fat will play a major positive role in hypertension. According to Rivera, losing belly fat will show your heart some love, as doing so "can help you control blood pressure, which is an independent cardiovascular risk factor."

An article published in the Heart medical journal confirms that putting on pounds in your midsection can be extremely troublesome for your blood pressure. Researchers observed the weight, blood pressure, and health of 10,000 adults over a six-year period. The mission was to evaluate the impact that waist fat and size have on getting high blood pressure. At the beginning of the study, 50% of the women and 21% of the men had abdominal fat, and no high blood pressure. After the 6-year term, abdominal fat jumped to 62% for women and 30% for men.

Additionally, one out of five people observed developed high blood pressure. The data revealed that women and men who had an increase of waist fat were much more likely to get high blood pressure than the individuals who stayed at a steady weight. Women with a 5% waist increase heightened their risk for high blood pressure by 28%. Men who increased their waist size by 5% heightened their risk of high blood pressure by 34%. Additionally, the male participants who decreased their belly by 2.5% during the test lowered their risk of high blood pressure by 19%.

It decreases your risk of metabolic syndrome

Fat overweight woman measuring her waist

A leaner belly will help decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome, which Rivera warns "triples your risk of having a heart attack." Metabolic syndrome is several conditions that happen at the same time, which elevates your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or having a stroke. According to Mayo Clinic, one of these conditions that can be a major player is—you guessed it—too much belly fat.

There are many exercises you can do to target and shrink belly fat

senior man doing plank outdoors on boardwalk, sunny day

There are many ways to target this particular area of your body. And we have just the right workout plans and exercises for you to check out:

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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