Making up around 35 to 40 of the composition of the average American, the only thing most of us know about our fat is that we want less of it. Nonetheless, body fat serves some very important functions. It’s a source of hormones and immune chemicals. It regulates temperature, cushions and insulates organs and tissues and it’s the main storage form for energy.
Interestingly, there are two major types of fat which can be distinguished by their color. “White fat” stores energy in one single oil drop. It’s the globby stuff most of us think about when we look at our thighs and our bellies. It’s associated with diabetes, heart disease and an early demise.
The second type is called “brown fat”. Darker hued because of the extra iron that it contains, brown fat, which is densely packed with energy producing structures called mitochondria, contains many smaller oil droplets. This makes them easier to burn and turns brown fat into a heat generating biochemical machine. This heat generating process, called “thermogenesis”, burns calories and can be helpful for patients dealing with blood sugar problems, obesity and inflammatory diseases.
If you want to increase your brown fat, the best way is to exercise. Supplementing with melatonin can help. Exposure to low temperature also. So consider taking a cold shower once or twice a week and eat apples. Recently, scientists have discovered that ursolic acid, a compound found in the peels, can stimulate the production of brown fat.
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