Let's Talk About Visceral Fat: Everything You Need To Know
Body fat is something we tend to agonize over and try to literally outrun, especially with age. And while having too much of it can be detrimental to your health, having a certain level of fat is normal and in fact vital to your body’s functions. If you’re concerned about your health, there are two different kinds of body fat you need to know about: subcutaneous and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is nestled between the skin and the outer abdominal wall. It is visible on the surface and you can pinch it with your fingers. It’s not necessarily a risk factor for health issues, and in certain areas can actually serve a purpose for your body. Subcutaneous fat is part of the connective tissue layer and protects your bones. It is most common in the lower body, especially the thighs, and is less harmful than visceral fat.
Visceral fat lies deep within the abdominal walls and surrounds the organs. It cushions the organs and surrounds blood vessels that supply blood to abdominal organs. However, an excess of visceral fat can be a predictor of chronic health issues, and plays a role in insulin resistance and inflammation. Some of the risks associated with visceral fat include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
What makes visceral fat dangerous is that it isn’t visible on the surface, so you may not know it’s there. The best way to detect the presence of visceral fat is with a DEXA scan. A DEXA scan reveals precise measurements of bone density, muscle, and body fat. It can determine whether you have a harmful level of visceral fat in your body.
How Do You Get Rid Of Excess Fat?
The buildup of excess visceral fat is preventable by maintaining a healthy, active, low-stress lifestyle. Easier said than done, right? Instead of looking at it as this huge challenge to tackle, try implementing small healthy habits every day. This could look like getting in some cardio with a light jog every morning, limiting alcohol, and monitoring your sugar intake.
Stress is a major factor that can affect how we eat, sleep, and impact our weight. Feelings of stress and anxiety floods your body with cortisol, which can increase visceral fat storage. It’s important to take time for yourself to relax. You could unplug from your phone and take a walk in nature, spend quality time with friends and family, try yoga, journaling, or meditation, book a massage—whatever helps you unwind in a healthy way.
DEXA Scan for Visceral Fat
A DEXA scan is an invaluable tool to support your health and wellness. DEXA is considered the gold standard for body composition measurements, and can help guide you in making the right decisions for your health and longevity.