Well for most of us, body fat gets a bad rap and much of the time we agonize over it and try to tirelessly exercise it off. From the cellulite that can blanket women’s thighs to the big beer bellies that can pop up on middle aged men. But for researchers, fat is fascinating and becoming more and more so every day. It seems for most scientists, it’s only just the beginning in truly understanding this organ called fat.
“Fat is known to have two main purposes,” says Susan Fried, PhD, director of the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center at Boston University. First, “fat stores excess calories in a safe way so you can mobilize the fat stores when you become hungry and secondly fat releases hormones that control our metabolism.”
So, what does the term, “brown fat” mean? BF is actually brown in color and is used to describe certain types of heat-generating, metabolically-active fat cells. For years scientist thought this type of fat was considered worthless but brown fat has gotten a lot of buzz lately. Mitochondria-packed brown fat cells burn energy and produce heat. In the most recent studies, scientist have found that lean people with lower body mass indexes (BMIs) seem to have more brown fat than overweight people. So, when BF is stimulated it will burn calories. Scientists believe this could be a new potential treatment to help fight obesity. Babies and children have more brown fat than adults and it’s what keeps them warm. Dr. Aaron Cypress, MD, PhD says, “Brown fat seems to be more active in people in Boston in colder months or colder climates in general, leading to the idea that if we sleep in chillier houses, we should burn a few more calories”.
Well researchers have long known that many of us have too much white fat: the kind that leads to multiple diseases. But now research shows that it is possible to boost our levels of brown fat, which is healthy as it helps in the process of burning calories while sucking the white fat out of the rest of the body.
Below are five simple ways to boost your BF levels:
- Do not starve yourself or over stuff yourself- The study, published in the journal Cell, showed that eating too little or too few calories prevented white fat from turning into brown fat. But, eating just enough calories prompted the action of the neurons- turning white fat to brown fat. If you eat too much it interferes with brown fat’s ability to burn calories.
- Eat apples and their peels too-Researchers at University of Iowa found that ursolic- acid found in the peels of apples actually boosted brown fat in mice when fed a high-fat diet.
- Exercise- working out triggers the release of the enzyme called irisin that will prompt white fat cells to convert over to brown fat cells.
- Cooler weather and lower temps-researchers found that the exposure to lower temps increased the activity of the gene that converts WF to BF.
- Stimulate the melatonin production in your body naturally- so avoid night-time exposure to lights such as TVs. Computers and other screens or blue lights and be sure to get enough sunlight exposure during the daytime. It’s also important to eat melatonin rich foods such as; almonds, tomatoes, pineapples, apples, oranges, bananas, cherries, oats, cardamom and coriander. By following the above listed in number five, you will increase beige fat, which is similar to brown fat in its calorie burning capabilities.
Brown fat can be hard to find but we all have some of it in our bodies! So, try to follow some of the simple ways I list, to boost your BF levels.