On Fruits and Figures: Learn how to eat for your body type

Few of us understand the substantial impact body shape has on our health status and risk of disease.

Racha Adib

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Women and men come in different shapes and sizes. Although often the focus is on your body size, or how much you weigh on the scale, few of us understand the substantial impact body shape has on our health status and risk of disease. Understanding the difference between body shapes and the health risks associated with each body type is key to unlocking a healthy life.

Figure Out Your Figure

Most people understand intuitively the shape of their body and whether they fall under the apple or pear shape. Apples, like Drew Barrymore and a lot of western women, tend to store more fat around their waists. In contrast, pears like J Lo and Beyoncé, accumulate more fat in their hips and thighs.

Still not sure of your body type? Take out a measuring tape and measure your waist 2cm above your navel, and your hips around the widest area of your lower body, and write them down. Make sure to hold the tape loosely without applying to much pressure on your skin. Next, divide your waist number by your hip number. A result above 0.8 classifies you as an apple, while a result under or equal to 0.8 means you’re a pear.

For the pears

Pears, or the Gynoid body type in medical jargon, are typically found in Middle Eastern women but can also be seen in men. Although pears are frustrated from their body, they are the more fortunate of the two when comes to health risk.

Pears often suffer from poor body image, triggered by the “ideal” hour-glass figure promoted by media. As a result, many fall into the pitfalls of eating disorders, resorting to unhealthy ways in order to get rid of the stubborn fat around their hips and thighs. Because they have a heavier lower body, pears are also at risk of cellulite and varicose veins. In reality, there is no ideal figure, and pears should learn to embrace there body type and work around it to make the best of it.

For starters, pears should limit their salt intake which can result in fluid retention, making cellulite appear worse. Drinking ample water, between 8-10 glasses, is recommended to keep the skin around their thighs both hydrated and smooth.

5 fruit and vegetable servings a source of antioxidants, can keep cellulite at bay. What’s in a serving? A medium fruit or half a cup of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables is all it takes to make up one serving. A healthy balanced diet low in sugar is of utmost importance especially combined with a fat burning cardio workout.

Pears should also focus on toning both their lower body to reduce the appearance of cellulite and gaining muscle in their upper body to balance their hips.

For the apples

Apples, or the Android type, is more common in men than women as the name denotes. Although the fat around the waist is easier to shed, this type of fat is a strong predictor of disease because it’s closer to the body's vital organs than flab on the bottom.

Central fat can raise your bad “LDL” cholesterol and triglyceride, lower your good “HDL” cholesterol, impair insulin in your body, and elevate your blood pressure. The end result? Apples have a higher risk of heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes.

Apples should eat a diet high in heart protective fats found in nuts, avocados, olive, ground flaxseed, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardine. They should focus on complex carbs to avoid the sugar spike they’re bodies are already prone to, a precursor to diabetes. Look for fiber rich complex carbs like whole grain toast, brown rice, and burghul. Protein sources should be low in saturated fat such as low fat dairy, beans, fish, chicken breast, and lean meat. Soluble fiber in oats and fruits is also recommended to lower bad “LDL” cholesterol levels.

Working out is also crucial and cardio work outs such as running, biking, or swimming are especially recommend because they protect your heart.