Posted March 23, 2016
Not all fat is the same. People have white fat, which stores excess calories, and brown fat, which is designed to burn calories and produce heat. Learn five facts about brown fat as featured in Reader’s Digest:
1. Location in the body – White fat is stored throughout the body, but brown fat usually is found in small amounts in the neck, shoulders and upper arms and upper back between the shoulder blades.
2. What is brown fat? – It contains small lipid (fat) droplets mixed with iron cells containing mitochondria, which burn fat, to give this fat a brown color. It is considered good fat because the body burns calories to create heat. There’s also a protein in this fat that can help tame diabetes.
3. BMI predictor – Researchers have discovered that people who have a low body mass index (BMI) tend to have more brown fat than others with a high body mass index. We are all born with fat to keep us warm, but it often times turns to white fat as we age.
4. Generating brown fat – People create this type of fat in several ways:
- Exercising helps convert white fat into active brown fat.
- Getting enough sleep helps produce melatonin, which encourages the production of healthy fat.
- Regular exposure to cooler temperatures (63°F to 66°F) makes fat more active and can create more healthy fat cells. Scientists believe that exercising in cool temperatures helps activate brown fat.
5. Diet – Nutrition experts believe it’s possible to increase muscle mass by eating foods high in ursolic acid. This includes apples (and the peeling), cranberries, blueberries, plums and prunes, as well as foods made with oregano, thyme, lavender, holy basil, peppermint leaves or bitter melon herbs.
- Some researchers believe eating foods low in fat and high in carbohydrates, along with regular exercise, may generate brown fat.