By Rennie Aranda – Skinny Gene Nutritionist
It occurs in 8 out of 10 women (and in some men). It is unsightly. It is not an illness or medical condition, but for some, it’s an obsession to find a fix. It is found on the thighs, buttocks, lower abdomen, hips, legs, and arms. You guessed it. I’m talking about CELLULITE…those lumpy, bumpy, dimply areas of skin that often resemble cottage cheese or orange peels. Many women (and some men) spend millions of dollars a year on anti-cellulite treatments ranging from fancy creams to risky surgery. Unfortunately, there are no miracle products, treatments, and medicines that have been proven to successfully get rid of cellulite. Although there is no known remedy to banish cellulite, the best way to reduce the fat content in cells and reduce the appearance of cellulite is to eat a healthful, balanced diet and exercise (the remedy to everything, right?) Follow these tips for smoother, cellulite-free skin and a sleeker you!
What Exactly is Cellulite?
Fat deposits sit side-by-side with tough collagen fibers that are anchored to the muscle beneath the skin. When these fibers are pulled tightly, or the fatty areas grow larger, the fat cells accumulate and push up against the skin, giving a dimpled, lumpy appearance. Cellulite is more common in women than in men since the female skin tissue is thinner and less porous. Therefore, when the fat cells push up, they tend to be more visible.
What Causes the Appearance of Cellulite?
Cellulite is related to the structures within the skin, so even slender women are likely to have some cellulite if they have thin skin. There are several theories pertaining to the causes of cellulite that are not well understood, but these are some of the commonly discussed reasons:
– Risk factors you can’t control such as hormonal factors (especially during pregnancy), genetics (if your mother has cellulite, there is a good chance you will, too), and aging (due to loss of skin elasticity)
– Some say the diet plays an important role in the formation of cellulite. A diet high in fat, carbohydrates, and salt, and low in fiber and water may lead to an increased risk of visible cellulite.
– Lifestyle factors also contributes to unsightly dimpling of the skin. Little to no exercise or standing/sitting in one position for long periods of time can cause the appearance of cellulite.
Secret Weapons to Fight Cellulite!
1. Avoid too much salt and sugar. Salt causes fluid retention, which may exaggerate the appearance of cellulite. Sugar gets stored in fat cells and causes these cells to expand. The best bet is to stay away from foods containing more than 200 mg of sodium and consuming no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.
2. Stay hydrated! Try to drink up to 8-10 glasses of water daily. This will help flush out toxins that hide in fat layers beneath the skin (and also make cellulite lumps even more visible). Aim for suppler and healthier skin to better cover fat cells underneath, especially in the buttocks, thighs, arms, lower abs, and other areas prone to cellulite. Include water-rich foods in the diet such as apples, grapes, and cucumbers.
3. Choose healthy whole grains. Refined grains such as sugary cereal, white bread and white rice are converted into blood glucose so quickly that it spikes your insulin, signaling your body to store fat rather than burn it. Excess fat makes cells full, making it more apt to push through connective tissue and look lumpy. Avoid refined carbohydrates and aim for more healthy whole grains that will keep your blood sugar level and help you eat less overall. Try to get at least half of your six daily servings of carbs from whole-grain sources.
4. Include foods that hydrate skin, build collagen, and prevent fat storage in your healthy diet to help keep cellulite at bay (low fat foods such as fruits and vegetables and fiber)
- Flaxseed – sprinkle some flaxseed on your breakfast. Including more flaxseed in your diet may help support estrogen levels and boost collagen growth (the main component of connective tissue) to strengthen skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Vitamin C – eating colorful fruits and veggies loaded with Vitamin C may help in reducing the appearance of unattractive lumps. Vitamin C s essential in preventing collagen breakdown, which is the skin’s support structure. Aim for at least 75 mg daily and it may also help in burning up to 30% more fat during exercise!
- Kelp – This seaweed contains a compound that also helps the body burn fat, which may help in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Try it in miso soup or crumble it into stir-frys and salads!
5. Exercise regularly. Although exercise won’t get rid of cellulite, it can improve your skin and muscle tone, which lessen the appearance of dimpling skin. A combination of strength training and aerobic exercise, such as jogging or walking, can build muscle and burn fat.
6. Avoid elastic underwear that pinches on the cellulite and exaggerates its appearance. Wear non-elastic undergarments made of smooth fabric with an invisible edge to create even pressure on the skin, increase blood flow, and prevent fat from being pushed up and deposited in unwanted areas.
The bottom line: There is no permanent cure for cellulite, but there are ways to minimize its appearance. Don’t waste your money on expensive products and risky procedures. Keeping off excess pounds and strengthening your muscles through regular exercise can improve your skin and muscle tone. Combine that with a healthful, balanced diet and you have an affordable, effective remedy to keep that pesky cellulite away once and for all!