What is brown fat and why should you care?

Do you realize that we have different types of fat in our body and each one has different properties? White fat, which is what tends to stretch your pants to the limit and spills over your waist, stores energy. There is no surprise there. You also have some brown fat, which gets its color from its iron content. Brown fat also contains more mitochondria, which are known as “the powerhouse of the cell.” You can think of them as the “engines” of brown fat that burn calories and generate heat.

So while the white fat becomes a kind of insulation, the brown fat is active. Babies have a lot of brown fat. Most adults have varying amounts, but not that much. Thinner people tend to have a higher amount than fatter people, but it’s not known if that’s genetic or not.

According to one study, 15 minutes in the cold could be the metabolic equivalent of an hour of exercise. Researchers in this study observed healthy men and women as they exercised in a 65°F laboratory. Later, those same study participants lay in bed while the temperature dropped to 53°F. In both tests, these people’s muscles contracted (they were shaking!), releasing the hormone irisin, which is produced in skeletal muscle. This hormone increases body heat and creates brown fat cells from existing white fat cells.

This finding puzzled the researchers. They speculated that since the ancient biological survival mechanism of shivering, triggered by cold, helps us maintain our core temperature, preventing hypothermia, it might stimulate irisin release. They designed tests to find out if shivering rather than exercise was the main driver of irisin secretion. It turns out that irisin is produced by muscle contractions. So whether it’s from exercise or chills, it doesn’t really matter. Once it is produced, it circulates through the blood turning white fat cells into brown.

What’s encouraging about this information is that the researchers found that the response to cold exposure can be activated by even minute changes in temperature. In this study, they showed that simply lowering the thermostat from 74°F to 68°F was enough to generate a measurable increase in energy expenditure. Thirty seconds of cold water on your upper back and neck after a hot shower, if you don’t have heart problems, is also a simple way to achieve this.

Or maybe just continue to stay active and exercise, turn down the thermostat a bit and go for a short walk each day in the winter weather (dressed up of course) to get the benefit of some cooler air and hopefully , some sun. right.

Another study found that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is capable of inducing the darkening of white fat cells. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, this research indicates that curcumin appears to be an anti-obesity agent due to its ability to support brown fat and reduce inflammation, which is implicated in obesity as well as diabetes and heart disease . This is a great find.

There are numerous ways to add turmeric to your meals, such as taking it in supplement form or even drinking it as a tea, thus taking advantage of its many benefits, including the stimulation of brown fat.

Here are some simple ways to stimulate and support the activation of fat-burning brown fat. Choose the method that is right for you and reap these health benefits in the process.

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