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When it comes to our body, all fats are not created equal! Nor do they have the same effect on our well being. Visceral belly fat and subcutaneous body fat are two types of fat cells found in our body.

While subcutaneous fat is distributed in the body, Visceral fat is only stored in the abdominal area. That’s why it is often termed as visceral belly fat or the hormonal belly.

The amount of visceral belly fat naturally increases with age. And for young, hormonal belly may build up with your stress levels or the choice of your diet and lifestyle.

In women, visceral fat also increases due to hormonal imbalances such as in menopause and PCOS.

Now the problem with visceral belly fat is not really a bigger belly, but actually a deeper issue of silent diseases such as Diabetes, Heart Problems, Depression and Inflammation.

In fact, you may have fairly lean body and still carry high amount of visceral fat. So, it is not the fat that you usually pinch with your fingers. It resides deep inside and causes bigger health problems.

And in this post, we will get onto all of that.

Firstly, we will learn about the causes, symptoms and health risks of visceral belly fat.

And then we will go through Ayurvedic natural ways to get rid of hormonal belly. Let’s get started!

Reduce Visceral Belly Fat with Ayurveda Diet Yoga-min

What is Visceral Belly Fat?

When our body is unable to create any more subcutaneous tissues due to physical and mental stress, then visceral fat tissues are created. It is not the natural fat that our body needs for health functions.

That’s why, visceral fat usually stays closer to its source, the liver. Visceral fat is found around internal organs such as liver, stomach, and intestines. It can also assemble in the arteries.

Visceral belly is biologically and metabolically active. It can release certain hormones such as Estrogen in the blood stream. And also, it affects normal functioning of other endocrine system organs, specifically the adrenals and the ovaries.

This causes hormonal imbalances, metabolic disturbances and chronic conditions of heart and the liver.

What Causes Hormonal Belly in Women?

Here are some of the primary reasons for high amount of visceral belly fat or a big hormonal belly:

1. Poor Diet and Lifestyle

Too much carbohydrate, poor fats and sedentary lifestyle lead to excessive body fat. And when our body can’t handle it anymore, it starts making visceral belly fat.

2. Chronic Stress

Stress for a little while is part of natural function of our body. Cortisol levels usually rise in the morning and follow a natural circadian rhythm throughout the day.

But, chronic stress disturbs this natural cycle. It leads to high Cortisol levels throughout the day. This disturbs our metabolism and grows the hormonal belly.

3. Smoking and Alcoholism

Visceral belly fat levels is much higher in women, who smoke and consume excess alcohol on regular basis. However, subcutaneous fat levels were not observed to be as high in smokers.

This indicates that smoking and alcoholism trigger hormonal belly and high visceral fat.

4. Genetic Factors and Hormones

Your Genetics and gender contribute to visceral fat in the stomach. Also, men are more susceptible to higher percentage of visceral belly fat than women of the same age group. Similarly, the visceral fat percentage may increase with age in both genders.

According to some studies, cortisol and insulin increase visceral belly fat. Also, healthy levels of growth hormone and sex hormones help to reduce its formation. 

5. Insulin Resistance

Visceral belly fat contributes to insulin resistance, which leads to glucose intolerance and types II diabetes.

Studies indicate that, visceral fat secretes retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4), which can disturb carbohydrate metabolism and insulin balance.

Also, high insulin levels cause production of visceral fat. This creates a never ending cycle of hormonal belly, insulin resistance, food cravings and hormonal imbalances.

6. Hormone Therapy, IVF, Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills, Hormone Therapy in Menopause and fertility treatments such as IVF affect the functioning of our liver. They also shift the normal hormone balance of our body.

It is common for women to gain 2-3 Kg, when they undergo hormone based treatment.

7. PCOS

PCOS could be reason and symptom of visceral belly fat and hormonal belly. This is because, majority of PCOS women struggle with severe hormonal imbalances related to high cortisol, estrogen dominance and insulin resistance.

That’s what further triggers creation of more visceral fat and a never ending cycle of PCOS Weight and hormonal belly.

8. Menopause

Aging naturally slows down your metabolism, thus making you more prone to high belly fat.

But, if you also struggle from hormonal imbalances and high visceral fat in the first place, it creates a never ending cycle of hormonal belly, menopause symptoms and menopausal weight gain.

Health Risks of Hormonal Belly | Visceral Belly Fat

Everybody has a certain amount of visceral fat, but people with higher percentage are at a higher risk of health problems. This is because visceral belly fats is several times more sensitive to the hormones in our bloodstream.

Also, visceral belly fat gives space to more inflammatory cells. They store fatty acids at a much faster rate, thus causing our belly to bulge quickly.

And when they release this stored fat, it goes straight to the liver and overloads it. This triggers all kind of health issues related to high cholesterol, insulin resistance and hardening of the arteries.

Hence, there is a strong connection between visceral belly fat, heart stroke and Diabetes.

Here are the potential health issues of hormonal belly:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • PCOS
  • Insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels
  • Heart disease – High cholesterol levels, hardening of arteries, hypertension and heart stroke
  • Cancers of Breast, Prostrate and Colon
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression
  • High Stress
  • Mood Swings
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Sleep disorders, Sleep Apnea and Insomnia
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Poor Immunity
  • High Inflammation, Allergies and Constant Sickness

Diagnosis and Measurement of Visceral Belly Fat

Visceral fat percentage in a human body should be under 13. If it is in the higher range, then you need to immediately work on to reduce visceral belly fat.

Visceral belly fat can be diagnosed with a CT or MRI scan. But, these processes are expensive and time-consuming.

As per Harvard University note, about 10% of total fat of a human body is stored as visceral fat. So, it is obvious that obese women carry more visceral fat in general.

Also, the shape and size of your belly and waistline can also indicate the risk of visceral belly fat. According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch waist size of more than 35 inches in women and more than 40 inch in men increases the risk of hormonal belly.

How do you Lose Visceral Belly Fat?

You can get rid of visceral belly fat with healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, herbs and most importantly by improving your diet. In fact, visceral fat responds very fast to the right changes in your diet and lifestyle.

So, as hard as it seems, it is actually quite easy to get back to being healthy by incorporating just small changes and sticking to them.

The benefits of reducing hormonal belly range from good fertility, hormonal balance, sustained weight loss, better sleep, heart, immunity and mental health.

Here are Ayurvedic natural ways to get rid of hormonal belly and reduce visceral fat.

1. Best Foods to Lose Visceral Belly Fat

  1. Consume plenty of complex carbohydrates. They will keep you full and provide B Vitamins and essential minerals.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are great to include as they are rich in proteins and antioxidants.
  3. Increase your intake of fibre rich foods as greens, vegetables and whole grains. They act as a broom to clean the digestive tract, help to get rid of the toxins and keep you belly full for long time.
  4. Add herbs and spices to bring flavor and taste to your meals. Some examples are ginger, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper.
  5. Consume bitter tasting foods. They help to burn fat and tone down your body. Examples are green leafy veggies, bitter gourd, herbs and spices.
  6. Choose lean protein sources. They contain fewer calories and the fiber in them will not let you feel hungry for longer. Thus you take fewer calories in the whole day.
  7. Include probiotic foods into your diet. They support healthy gut bacteria, improve your digestion and boost your metabolism.

2. Worst Foods for Visceral Belly Fat

Not all calories are the same! Calories from some foods make you store visceral belly fat, while other foods make you store muscle and burn fat. Here is a list of foods that you should avoid to get rid of hormonal belly:

  • All processed foods and quick meals that are loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. They push in empty calories and devoid you of essential nutrients from your meals.
  • When you consume too many calories dense foods as sugary drinks, foods or snacks then you will be prone to visceral belly fat.
  • Avoid snacking in between meals.
  • Remove sugar in the form of white sugar, artificial sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Reduce and remove caffeine. It leads to quick spike in your activity level, but eventually causes energy crashes. This makes you eat more sugary foods.
  • Remove alcohol and smoking altogether. Both of these have similar stimulating effect as caffeine on the body, a quick energy boost and then crash. Also, alcohol and smoking cause and make hormone imbalance worse.
  • We all know that starches and sugar raise insulin levels. But, after combining with fat both the insulin levels and fat storing hormones get increased.
  • Avoid processed juices, carbonated beverages and flavored waters. All of these contain lots of sugar which cause weight gain.
  • Remove deep fried foods and refined oils from your diet.

3. Ayurvedic Diet for Weight Loss and to Reduce Belly Fat

  • Your largest meal should be taken about mid-day. This is when the digestive fire is highest, and you have a good chance of digesting the food completely.
  • Avoid cold foods and cold beverages with your meals.
  • Take your dinner before 7 PM. This will give your body sufficient time to digest the food before you sleep.
  • Do not talk or engage in entertainment while eating. This disturbs your digestive fire and slows down metabolism. Food should be consumed in relaxed and sitting position.
  • Eat slowly and stop right before you feel very full. This is because our system reacts to food intake with a lag. If you stuff yourself too much, then by the time your brain signals you to stop, you have already overeaten!

4. Best Exercise to Get Rid of Belly Fat

Out of all the ways to reduce belly fat, ones that combine dietary changes along with physical activity are most effective of all. This is because regular exercise helps to balance hormones and melts off excess fat.

It has been studied that cardio exercises that increase the heart rate are highly effective to get rid of visceral fat. Also, consistent and moderate level of cardio is much better to cut hormonal belly than short and intense workouts.

1. Types of Exercise for Hormonal Belly

  • Brisk walking for at least 30 mins a day can work wonders to reduce stubborn belly fat. Other form of exercises are aerobics, skipping the rope, circuit training, biking, playing sports as tennis and running.
  • Strength building activities such as weight lifting, squats, yoga and resistance training stimulate the growth of muscles by burning subcutaneous fat below the skin. It helps to tone up the body overall.

So, you can simply begin your journey by walking and slowly increasing complex form of exercises.

2. Beginner’s Exercise Plan (7 Days) to Lose Belly Fat Fast

7 Days Exercise Plan To Lose Belly Fat and Weight Loss-min

Here’s a 1 week exercise plan to get started

DayActivity
1Brisk Walk for 45 mins. Or Clock in 10,000 steps through out the day.
Keep breathing deeply through your nose. Avoid breathing through mouth at all points.
23 X 10 cycles of squats (Go as deep as possible within your comfort zone)
2 X 20 cycles of jumping jacks
5 mins of skipping the rope
2 X 20 cycles of Raising Knees (Try to bring them as high as possible without straining too much)
3Brisk Walk for 45 mins. Or Clock in 10,000 steps through out the day.
Keep breathing deeply through your nose. Avoid breathing through mouth at all points.
4Yoga for 15 mins – Include different yoga poses such as Bridge pose, Churning the mill pose, Cobra pose
4-5 Cycles of Sun Salutation
10 mins of Deep Breathing exercises
510-15 mins of cycling on the mat while keeping your legs raised.
3 X 20 Sets of Flutter Kicks on the mat.
5-10 mins of Head Shining Pranayama
63 X 10 cycles of squats (Go as deep as possible within your comfort zone)
2 X 20 cycles of jumping jacks
5 mins of skipping the rope
2 X 20 cycles of Raising Knees (Try to bring them as high as possible without straining too much)
710 cycles of Sun Salutation Yoga Sequence
5-10 mins of Head Shining Pranayama
2 X 20 cycles of lunges
7 Days Beginner’s Exercise plan to Lose Body Fat

5. Yoga Asana to Burn Visceral Belly Fat

Regular practice of right yoga asana helps to tone up abdominal muscles, balances hormones and stimulates fat loss from the belly.

6 yoga asana to Burn Belly Fat Fast-min

Here are some yoga asana that are highly effective to lose visceral belly fat:

  1. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose): Strengthens abdominal muscles, Massages Liver and Boosts Metabolism
  2. Dhanurasana (Bow pose): Burns Belly Fat, Tones up liver and Stomach, Builds Abdominal Muscles
  3. Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose): Burn your tummy fat and tones up your muscles
  4. Naukasana (Boat pose): Works on your side and front tummy muscles and strengthens your core
  5. Ustrasana (Camel Pose): Strengthens back and abdominal mucles, tones up belly and liver, stimulates fat loss
  6. Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose): Strengthens the back, promotes cirulcation and detoxification, boost fat metabolism

6. Get Rid of the Endocrine Disturbing Chemicals to Fight Hormonal Belly

Remove environmental toxins and body toxins by practicing a healthy lifestyle.

  • Remove all plastics and processed foods, which lead to buildup of toxins in the body.
  • Get rid of chemicals based personal care and household products that cause high Estrogen in your system.
  • Practice Ayurvedic detox or Panchakarma to clear off the toxins with Ayurvedic herbs and therapies.
  • Remove stimulants such as alcohol and smoking that load your body’s detox pathways.

7. Ayurvedic Herbs That Boost Metabolism and Burn Belly Fat

Ayurvedic herbs and formulations help to burn off stubborn belly fat. Hence, they curb many diseases associated with it.

Here are some Ayurvedic herbs that can help you to lose weight and clear the toughest of the fats:

1. Triphala

Triphala is a powerful Ayurvedic Rasayana (Herbal elixir known to promote longevity and rejuvenation).

It deeply cleanses our body and helps to flush out wastes and toxins. Triphala has powerful antioxidants to rejuvenate, inhibit inflammation, promote healthy build of body cells, and blood purification.

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen and a revered Ayurvedic elixir for rejuvenation and nourishment. It is a natural supplement to lower cortisol and balance thyroid hormones.

It reduces stress and increases our body’s strength. Regular consumption of Ashwagandha elevates the brain chemicals, helps to relax, and establishes hormone balance.

3. Guduchi

Guduchi or Giloy is one of the most powerful herbs for eliminating toxins from the blood and liver. Traditionally Guduchi is used for inflammation of the skin and cooling fevers.

It is detoxifying, antiparasitic, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial. Guduchi is indicated whenever a cooling and reducing therapy is needed.

4. Dandelion Greens

It helps in weight loss by limiting calorie intake through suppression of hunger. Dandelion also stimulates secretion of gastric enzymes and induces satiation.

It promotes the breakdown of fat and cholesterol in the body. Dandelion is also a diuretic, which helps the body get rid of excess water weight.

5. Vijaysar

The bark of Vijaysar tree is used in multiple Ayurvedic formulations for excess body weight (Kapha Imbalance) and Diabates.

Vijaysar helps to burn stubborn belly fat due to its fat reducing properties. Regular consumption of Vijaysar tea can help to maintain good metabolism, healthy digestive system and get rid of excess body fat.

6. Ginseng 

It is a traditional Chinese herb that helps in healthy weight loss. Ginseng contains ginsenoside that suppresses the fat storage process in cells of the body. It also boosts metabolism.

7. Guggul

Guggulu is a well known Ayurvedic remedy for weight loss due to its powerful stimulating and scraping properties. It is not really a herb, but it is made from the sap (gum resin) of the Commiphora Mukul tree.

Guggul helps to burn fat, lose weight successfully and also improves the fat profile by lowering down high cholesterol values.

However, guggul alone is usually very strong for the body. Hence, it is often blended with synergistic and complimentary Ayurvedic herbs to achieve health benefits.

8. Ginger

Ginger is one of the most useful kitchen herb that supports all the processes of digestion and detoxification. It is also anti-inflammatory in nature, boosts metabolism and reduces body fat.

Add ginger to your meals or sip it as herbal tea with other ingredients as lemon and honey.

You can also chew a thin slice of ginger with rock salt to stimulate digestive fire and build up your appetite before meals.

9. Garcinia Combogia

This is a tropical fruit that blocks liver action of excess fat generation. Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) present in Garcinia Combogia helps to boost metabolism, reduces appetite and flush out excess toxins from the body.

It is also known as Malabar tamarind. Garcinia is also known to reduce stress, manage blood sugar level and reduce high cholesterol.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar Water 

It contains pectin fibers that enhance satiety and prevents binge eating or resorting to unhealthy fast foods. It boosts metabolism and breaks down fat cells in the body.

11. Lavan Thailam

Lavan thailam is a medicated oil composed of multiple fat reducing herbs. It is used for massage and external application. It can be used along with diet and lifestyle changes.

Massage lavan thailam on your belly. Then wash it off after 15 minutes with warm water. This can help to melt stubborn belly fat.

8. Ayurvedic Remedies to Burn Belly Fat

1. Raw Honey and Ginger Juice

Honey has a high amount of fructose which directs liver to produce more glucose. This helps to release fat burning hormones.

Ginger increases satiety and suppresses natural appetite. It also increases the temperature of the body, thus increasing the metabolism and melting away the fats.

2. Lemon, Honey and Black Pepper

Piperine in black pepper prevents the formation of new fat cells and dissolves fats molecules in the bloodstream. 

Lemon contains pectin that naturally increases satiety, hence reducing hunger. It maintains the alkaline pH of the body and prevents fat from storing into the body. 

3. Warm Water with Lemon

Luke warm water with lemon provides the body with required minerals and hydration. It increases our satiety and also flushes toxins out of our system via liver, thus aiding weight loss.

Start your day with 1 glass of warm water with lemon.

4. Trikatu

It is one of the best Ayurvedic formulations to cut stubborn belly fat and lose weight. Trikatu is made by mixing equal quantities of long pepper, black pepper and dried ginger root.

Have ½ teaspoon of this twice a day with lukewarm water.

5. Ginger and Mint Tea

Boil 7-8 mint leaves and half inch ginger root in 1 cup of water for 20-30 minutes, and let it cool. Add 1 teaspoon raw honey to and a pinch of black pepper to the cooled tea Have this 2-3 times a day.

9. Sleep Well to Start Burning Fat Fast

A good sleep of about 7 – 8 hours at night can improve hormone secretion and blood hormone levels. As a result of restful sleep, our appetite and stress hormones get reorganized; metabolism increases, and we stop craving for food.

That’s why it is so important to have good sleep at night.

To get sufficient sleep, try different soothing essential oils before bed, reduce caffeine and sleep in a dark, peaceful place.

10. Manage Stress for Cortisol Hormonal Belly

Chronic stress build up high cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol suppresses metabolism as it prepares the body for the fight and flight response. It also pushes in excess glucose in the blood, raising blood sugar levels.

Thus, high stress increase storage of visceral belly fat. It is same for all age groups, however women at Menopause or those struggling with hormonal imbalances are more sensitive to it.

Manage and lower stress by:

  • Deep breathing exercises and yogic breathing
  • Spending time in nature and with your loved ones
  • Remove and reduce stress triggers
  • Take time off and invest in self care measures
  • Deep body massage
  • Practice meditation

Before you Go!

Losing Visceral Belly Fat can seem hard and debilitating! However, you should know that visceral fat is actually the easiest part of permanent weight loss puzzle.

And that when you start to address your diet and lifestyle that cause it in the first place, you can really see improvement in your weight loss journey.

So, get started today! And do share with us in comments on how this post has helped you. Or if you would like more information. We will get back the soonest.

References

Ayurvedic Treatment with Dr. Pawan Bansal | Heal Your Body to Cure Your Symptoms

About the Author Nidhi Bansal

Nidhi is the Founder of Medhya Herbals. She is a passionate nature lover and a firm believer in nature's intelligence - which is Ayurveda, a science of life! She started Medhya Herbals with a mission to make Ayurveda's deep knowledge of self-healing practical and accessible. Nidhi has experienced Ayurveda firsthand, through her father Dr. Pawan Bansal, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner with more than 40 yrs. in clinical practice. Nidhi is a Chemical Engineer from IIT Delhi.

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  1. This was such a great post!
    Very informative and easy to comprehend…
    Thank you for sharing and for all the tips on helpful foods and exercises!
    It has helped me immensely!

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