5 Ways to Increase Your Brown Fat To Burn More Calories
Photo by Paul Burns/Getty Images
When it comes to losing weight and burning fat, nothing is black and white. But new research shows there may be some benefit in looking more closely at brown—fat, that is. Researchers have long known that many of us have too much white fat: The kind that ups the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. But now, emerging research is proving that it's possible to boost our levels of brown fat, which is considered healthful since it actually helps us burn calories and sucks white fat out of the rest of the body. (Find an explaination of the different types of body fat here.) Happily, there are some simple ways to boost your levels of brown fat:
1. Don't starve—or stuff—yourself.
We rely on hunger-regulating neurons in the brain to notify us when we've had enough. Now it turns out these neurons have another duty: Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that in mice, these neurons can actually encourage fat to turn brown. The study, published in the journalCell, found that eating too few calories prevented white fat from turning brown, while eating just enough to satisfy hunger—prompting the action of the neurons—turned white fat to turn brown. Other research shows that eating too much can do harm, as well: Not only does overconsumption increase white fat, but it also results in interferes with brown fat's ability to burn calories.
2. Eat an apple.
Photo by Image Source/Getty Images
An apple a day may just keep the doctor and fat away: Researchers at the University of Iowa found that ursolic acid (found in apple peels, which gives apples their sheen) boosted brown fat in mice—even when they were fed a high-fat diet.
Moving your body may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to burning fat. Research suggests why so many people see success when they hit the gym on a regular basis: One animal study published in the journalDisease Models and Mechanismsfound that working out triggers the release of an enzyme called irisin that prompts white fat cells to convert to brown. Newer research presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association found that exercise can prompt the browning of fat in men, with the benefits still increasing after 12 weeks of training on an exercise bike.
MORE: The Ultimate Metabolism-Boosting Workout For A Flat Belly
4. Turn down the thermostat.
Photo by Sheer Photo/Getty Images
When the weather outside is frightful, there may be a fat-burning benefit: One study, published in theJournal of Clinical Investigation, looked at 12 young men with lower-than-average amounts of active brown fat who were asked to sit in a 63-degree Fahrenheit room for two hours a day over the course of six weeks. They burned an extra 108 calories in the cold compared with normal indoor temperatures. Even better, after six weeks their bodies were burning an extra 289 calories in the cold, prompting researchers to hypothesize that the exposure to lower temps increased the activity of a gene that converts white fat to brown.
5. Stimulate your body's melatonin production.
Not only does the hormone melatonin help regulate our sleep-wake cycle, but research published in theJournal of Pineal Researchfound that in rats, it increases the presence of "beige" fat, which is similar to brown fat in its calorie-burning capabilities.
Video: How To Increase Brown Fat For A Strong Metabolism
Steven Tyler: Aerosmith FrontmanLeaving
The third floor of the Wood House accommodates guests and staff members
How to Arrange Bookshelves
This Mom-to-Bes Rainbow T-Shirt Is Spreading a Touching Message of Hope
How to Easily Catch a Butterfly with Your Hand
How to Break Your Addiction to a Person
25 Worst New Restaurant Dishes in America
How To Stop Foot Pain For Good
15 Women Who Rock Gray Hair
After you have the conversation, find a way to move forward