I was recently at a large outdoor social gathering, the waft of charcoal in the distance, the chatter of friends catching up and the sumptuous bounty of summer gardens. As I was about to bask in the glory of a gorgeous berry, someone who I don’t know well - I guess the right word is acquaintance - caught me totally off-guard with a bizarre question.
This rather portly gent, with food bits sticking to his lips asked me, “how can I make my fat brown?”
“Excuse me?” I said, doing a double take. I’m certain my face was scrunched into a most unattractive contortion.
His reply - “uh, yeah. I heard it’s better for you than the white kind, and I sure have a lot of that, so I wonder how I can change it. Is there something you can buy – like, on Amazon?”
Wow - heavy sigh.
With further conversation, I learned he’d skimmed - but didn’t actually read - an article about brown fat. It’s been featured in wellness publications over the past couple of years and recently made it's way across the internet. (Some links if you’re interested: Chopra, PureWow, Dr Axe)
WHAT IS IT?
You all know about “white fat” – it’s the body’s most common type and is found under the skin (subcutaneous) and around your internal organs (visceral fat). Your body does actually need some – it provides energy reserves and has key roles in hormone interaction, metabolic function and immunity.
Brown fat has a higher number of mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse), which give it its brown coloring. It actually uses calories to generate heat, so it can help you maintain a healthy weight. It has other benefits too – improving heart health, decreasing dangerous fat and stabilizing blood sugar.
HOW CAN WE GET IT?
As babies, we have a lot, but it decreases as we age.
If only we could buy something to turn our pudgy white stuff brown. But sadly – no, you can’t buy it on Amazon.
And my fellow guest's second hope, that a special kind of beer could do the trick, was also met with a disappointing "no."
But there is good news - you can make it yourself!
“How” you ask?
There are four “no-surprise” ways. No magic formula - just common healthy lifestyle choices (good for you in so many ways):
- Follow your body’s hunger and fullness signals
- Get adequate sleep
- Manage stress
AND there's another way that is a surprise:
- Expose yourself to cold temperatures!
It seems that our natural human tendency towards constant year-round moderate temps has diminished our brown fat stores, and may be contributing to our bulging bellies.
So brace yourself for some invigorating cold showers in the summer and turn down the thermostat and get outside in the winter.
Of course, none of these things can bring back those beautiful brown fat stores of our baby days, but all of them can help not only to restore it, but are also good for mind, body and spirit.
I’m personally not a fan of the dog days of summer. After several particularly uncomfortable days, with high temps and high humidity, I’m thinking about heading far north. Fresh, invigorating air, and a great place to stock up on some brown fat!
Anyone with me? Let’s book a trip!
P.S. Are those "common healthy lifestyle choices" not so common for you? You're not alone! Let’s have a conversation to see if working together will help you make better choices for your health and happiness. Scheduling is simple with my online booking system: Schedule Now