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Thanks to the covid-19 pandemic, we didn’t really get the chance to spend much time under the sun this summer. While usually that’s a big, big relief—because who wants to suffer at the hands of the hot Indian sun—but sunshine means vitamin D. And our body needs vitamin D for essential functions, like immune system response; and its deficiency can lead to many uncalled situations like poor bone health and a belly bulge.
Also, read: Here’s why vitamin D is important and how to keep its level up during lockdown
Yes, your belly fat and vitamin D deficiency are connected
If a recent study from the Netherlands is to be believed, then there’s a correlation between excess belly fat and vitamin D deficiency. The research from the VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands grabbed eyeballs at last year’s European Society of Endocrinology for its findings.
The researchers found that belly fat is linked with lower vitamin D levels in women after adjusting other factors such as chronic disease, alcohol consumption, and physical activities.
This isn’t the only study to come to this conclusion
A study published in the journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a vitamin D supplementation contributes to a beneficial reduction of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), which are nothing but fat tissues located deep in the abdomen.
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition too published a study on the matter. This one researched school children and found that BMI and abdominal obesity influence the appearance of vitamin D insufficiency in them.
Another study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also provides evidence that the distribution of fat may be associated with vitamin D status.
So, how can you fight belly fat?
Before you start popping vitamin D supplements, know that the scientists are yet to figure out if it is excess fat in the abdominal area which is responsible for poor absorption of vitamin D, or whether a vitamin D deficiency is the possible reason for a belly bulge.
But the study from the Netherlands did suggest that participants with less vitamin D in their system had more belly fat than those people who weren’t vitamin D deficient.
Get the extra dose of vitamin D
Sitting under the morning sun without any sunscreen on for 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient for us Indians to stock up on our vitamin D reserves. You can also talk to your doctor about supplements—but please don’t self medicate as these pills can also lead to vitamin D toxicity.
If you must eat to get some vitamin D, then include foods that are rich in this vitamin in your diet. Some of these foods are: mushrooms, fortified foods like milk, cereals, yogurt, and fatty fishes like salmon and tuna.