Food for Thought: Brown fat on your body helps you burn calories and keep warm


We think of fat on our body as being bad. However, brown fat on our body is actually good.  

We have white fat and brown fat on our bodies. The white fat in excess is the bad stuff. The brown fat is good. It creates heat to keep you warm and burns calories.  It is located in our upper back, neck and shoulders.

The more brown fat you have the more calories you burn. Just 2 ounces of brown fat, what looks like one quarter cup, can burn 200, or even more, calories a day. That is enough to lose 20 pounds in a year. Studies show we may be able to increase our brown fat.

In animal studies, brown fat is increased by eating fish and plant oils like olive oil and nuts instead of animal fats like butter, cream, cheese and fatty meats. Eat adequate iron and avoiding iron deficiency. Eat apples with skin, blueberries, plums and prunes. They contain ursolic acid that may stimulate brown fat. Caffeinated green tea also can do the job.

In addition, we may make more brown fat when we get a good night’s sleep and exercise.

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