Do you want low belly fat, like this?

Do you want low belly fat, like this?

While doing my post yesterday on symptoms of the swine flu and how to prevent it, I was struck by the similarities on what you should do to help prevent  getting the flu with some of the recommended things for losing belly fat.

Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated –
This is great advice for fighting off a case of the virus, but it is also vital for helping your body to burn fat. You body will function properly if it is sufficiently hydrated. If you drink cold water, your body must burn calories to heat it to body temperature, increasing your daily calorie burn. It won’t be much, maybe 50 calories or so, but hey, when you’re trying to burn off that extra fat, every little bit helps.

Water is also vital for proper kidney function. If you kidneys are running a bit behind, one of your body’s responses is to send the liver in to help them out. The problem is that one of your liver’s primary functions is to metabolize fat. If it is having to pitch in and help out the kidneys do their job, the liver isn’t concentrating on metabolizing as much fat.

Eat Vitamin C –
Vitamin C has been known for years to boost the immune system and help fight off disease. That seems like a freind to have if you’re worried about contracting the flu. However, the vitamin can also play an important role in helping you look good for strutting down the beach in time for your 20 year reunion at the end of the summer.

A 2006 Arizona State University study showed that deficiencies in vitamin C restrict your body’s ability to metabolize fat. The Sundevils found that obese people eating less than the USRDA of vitamin C showed an average 11% decline in fat metabolization compared to the vitamin C supplemented group.

There are some differences in the levels in the study and the levels shown to help fight off the flu, though. That and other studies show that at or slightly above the USRDA is great for helping to burn fat, but you don’t need the massive doses that may have some effectiveness against influenza viruses. In fact, taking those levels of vitamin C for prolonged periods may cause other problems, such as protein destruction, pentosadine  production, and depletion of other vitamins in the body. In the short term, it may be worth it to help prevent the flu, but it may not be good for long term health, not to mention how much it would cost to supplement on that level.

Get plenty of sleep –

That is a no brainer when it comes to fighting off disease. You body needs rest to battle bugs, plain and simple. However, getting enough sleep is also vital to building muscle and burning fat, too. Numerous medical studies back up the connection between insufficient sleep and excess body fat.

One such study, whose results were reported at the 2006 American Thoracic Society International Conference, demonstrated the following. In the 70,000 women studied those who slept only 5 hours per night were an astonishing  32% more likely to have a weight gain of over 33 pounds, and 15% more likely to become clinically obese. The  5 hour sleepers were compared to those who slept an average of 7 hours per night. One major cause of the weight gain is due to appetite increases caused by chronic sleep depravation.

So, there are at least 3 things that are important for losing belly fat and fighting off the flu; make sure you drink enough water, supplement with vitamin C if you’re not getting the recommended daily allowance, and be sure you get the recommended 7+ hours of sleep every night (or whenever you sleep).