Increased bloating and belly fat in middle age causes physical discomfort and self-consciousness. Both men and women become prone to belly fat at this stage of life, along with a loss of lean tissue, the National Institute on Aging says. Increased belly fat results from the age-related slowing of your metabolism and from taking in more calories than you burn off. Belly fat includes visceral fat, fat around your organs that poses a serious health risk. Healthy habits help reduce bloating and belly fat.
Changes in digestion occur as you age. You may experience a slower digestive rate and notice negative reactions to certain foods. Many people have difficulty tolerating lactose, the sugar in milk. Wheat, other grains, beans and peanuts may also pose challenges to your digestion or trigger food sensitivities. For middle-aged women, hormonal fluctuations can trigger bloating and contribute to belly fat. Sodium intake contributes to a bloated appearance because of water retention in both men and women.
Abdominal bloating may result from intolerance to lactose or other foods, constipation, gas, irritable bowel, overeating or a habit of swallowing air when you're nervous or smoking, MedlinePlus.com says. In rare circumstances, a serious medical condition can cause bloating. Consult your doctor about any medical concerns. Keeping a food journal to track the bloating helps determine the cause. Beans and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli may trigger gas. Eating these healthy foods in small quantities and using a digestive enzyme supplement can provide relief.
Your belly provides storage for two types of fat. Subcutaneous fat is the layer under the skin. While it may keep you out of your favorite jeans, it doesn't pose the same magnitude of health threat as visceral fat, which accumulates around your vital organs and increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, according to a report from Rush University Medical Center. Alcohol also contributes to belly fat. To succeed at losing belly fat, you need to reduce your daily calories and increase your daily physical activity.
Avoiding fatty foods, chewing gum, smoking, carbonated beverages and eating more slowly to avoid swallowing air can help prevent gas and bloating. Eating plenty of fiber to avoid constipation and including yogurt or probiotic supplements in your diet may help reduce bloating. Vigorous activity, such as circuit training with free weights, interval training, aerobic dance and workouts that combine resistance training with cardiovascular conditioning provide efficient ways to burn fat. Resistance training and weight-bearing exercise preserve muscle, maintain your metabolism and keep your bones strong in middle age and beyond.