Body fat or adipose tissue is a constituent of the human body. Its primary function is to provide energy to the body. Body fat builds up differently in men and women. Recent studies explore the health consequences ensuing from these differences.
Usually, men have an ‘apple-shaped’ body. This is because men accumulate visceral fat – fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity – around the belly. Women, on the other hand, depict a ‘pear-shaped’ body because they have more fat deposits around the hips. Visceral fat is extremely dangerous because it affects the internal organs of your body, including the liver, intestines, and pancreas.
Body Fat Percentage in Men and Women
To evaluate your health, it is essential that you know your body fat percentage (BFP). A healthy body fat percentage depends on a number of variables such as age, body type, gender etc. For example, BFP range tends to be higher in women than in men because women require more body fat. The average BFP of females falls in between 25% and 31%.
What is a good body fat percentage?
Ideally, for men between ages 20-40, healthy BFP ranges from 8%-19%; between ages 41-60, normal BFP ranges from 11%-22%; between ages 61-79, the normal should be between 13%-25%. For women aged between 20-40 years, healthy BFP ranges from 21%-33%; between ages 41-60, normal BFP ranges from 23%-25%; between ages 61-79, the normal should be between 24%-36%.
What body fat percentage is unhealthy?
Body fat percentage below or above the normal range (as stated above) is considered unhealthy. For instance, if the BFP of a woman aged between 20-40 years is more than 30%, then it is considered overweight. Similarly, if a 50-year-old man has BFP below 11%, he is deemed underweight. Nevertheless, there are several ways to maintain a good body fat percentage.
How to Lose Body Fat Percentage?
Many people come up with questions like – Is it hard to lose body fat percentage? Certainly not, unless you have a serious underlying condition (obesity or PCOD). You can reduce your BFP by following the pointers below-
• Follow a protein-rich diet – It will decrease your appetite, reduce calorie intake, and preserve muscle mass. Good protein sources include dairy products, meat, eggs, legumes, seafood etc. • Add vinegar to your diet – Induces a sense of feeling full, lowers body fat, and reduces calorie intake
• Reduce carb intake – Cutting down on refined carbohydrates like white bread/rice, pasta, snacks, cereals etc. can help you shed that extra flab.
Besides following a healthy diet, you should also engage in physical activities to bring down your body fat percentage to its normal range. Exercise more often – begin strength training to get rid of belly fat and build muscle mass. You can also lose fat by consuming these natural fat burners:
• Caffeine – boosts metabolism and helps you burn more fat as fuel
• Green tea extracts
• Protein powder/supplements – boosts metabolism and reduces appetite
• Soluble fibre
Having a healthy body fat percentage is the key to staying fit and steering away from a host of ailments. Therefore, maintaining a balanced diet along with moderate exercise and routine check-ups is extremely important.
Bones are similar to a porous framework which is filled with minerals that make it hard and strong. With age, there is gradual degradation and the mineralized portion is lost, thereby leading to thinning of the bone. The word osteoporosisliterally translates to porous bones, which is due to the gradual demineralisation. In addition to the natural ageing process, there are other diseases that can accelerate the demineralization process.
Women are more prone to demineralisation, and after the age of 40, they should take extra precaution to slow down the onset of the condition. The following are some ways to improve bone health and halt osteoporosis in the long run-
Diet: Ensure that your diet has sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Though calcium is the essential mineral for bone formation, vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium, and therefore both these elements play a vital role in maintaining the quality of the bones in our body. Most people require about 1,000 mg of calcium and about 500 units of vitamin D for optimal bone health. This requirement goes up slightly in postmenopausal women.
Sun Exposure: In most people, exposure to the sun allows the body to make vitamin D, but careful sun protection prevents this from happening. Also, with age, the body’s ability to form intrinsic vitamin D also declines. The body, therefore, relies on supplements. Most dairy products are good sources of calcium. In addition, spinach, salmon, turnips, and broccoli are some calcium-rich foods. Supplements of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate can be taken if your diet is lacking in calcium. Vitamin D also should be included in the supplementation. The treatment for osteoporosis is incomplete without these two supplements.
Exercise With Weights: The constructive tension that exercise puts on the body helps in bone building, whatever the age may be, which prevents the onset of osteoporosis. Any exercise which improves muscle mass strengthens the bones, and puts stress on the bones is advisable. Since the fractured area due to osteoporosis mainly includes the spine, lower back exercises, yoga, tai chi, and abdominal exercises all work wonders. Pick any of these and do them for 30 minutes three times a week.
Quit Smoking: Continuing to smoke while taking osteoporosis medications is completely useless. Nicotine negates all the effects which defeat the purpose of taking the medication and is as good as taking no medication at all. So if you want the bone thinning to stop, stop smoking.
Alcohol Consumption: While a drink or two per week is permissible, more than this can harm the bones significantly.
Constant Health Watch: Talk to a doctor about how other routine medications (if any) can affect your bone health. Also, identify how frequently you should check your bone mineral density and stick to the schedule.
Bone health and osteoporosis can be managed with some conscious efforts.