Can Food Really Fight Cellulite?
After the teen years, most women will see cellulite develop in areas where fat deposits are concentrated, including the thighs, hips, and buttocks. While excess fat definitely makes the condition worse, even slim women find they may have uneven fat deposits just below the surface of the skin that cause the dimpled—and dreaded—“cottage cheese” effect.
And yes, the condition is most common in women. In women the layer of tissue below the skin that attaches skin to muscle runs in a vertical pattern that creates chambers that trap and squeeze fat to produce those tell-tale dimples. In men, connective tissue has a diagonal or cross pattern that is less likely to trap fat, keeping a man’s skin smoother and undimpled. (Life isn’t fair!)
Genetics also has a role in how much cellulite appears, and aging makes cellulite more visible as connective tissue becomes stiffer and less elastic, and the skin loses its firmness. While we can’t totally eliminate cellulite without medical procedures, nutritional researchers recommend the following for weight management, optimum skin health, and, subsequently, less visible cellulite:
1. A high fiber diet that includes wholegrain varieties of breads and cereals, brown rice and pasta, and foods like quinoa and barley can increase skin health.
2. All fruits provide a range of vitamins and fiber and help to keep down weight gain. Some point to bananas, pears, and papayas, fruits high in potassium which helps to keep muscle tissues healthy, while cranberries, pineapples, and other berries have a high antioxidant content to improve circulation and strengthen capillaries.
3. Vegetables can also help with weight management since most are high in fluids and nutrients and low in calories. Asparagus, with high levels of folic acid, can stabilize mood swings and decrease stress levels, indirectly affecting fat storage in the body. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, with high levels of the antioxidant lutein, may be beneficial in increasing skin hydration and elasticity and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
4. “Good” fats available through nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oils, and fish (especially salmon, sardines, tuna, trout and bass) are low in saturated fat and high in cellulite-fighting proteins and minerals.
5. The list of benefits associated with chili peppers deserves its own blog, but two relate to reducing cellulite. Chili peppers can help the body burn fat more quickly and are a rich source of vitamin C, the potent antioxidant necessary to synthesize collagen.
6. Stay hydrated! We already know that drinking at least eight glasses of water each day will help plump the skin and make it look thicker and more supple to camouflage cellulite. Green tea is another healthy choice since it contains catechins, which have been shown to help prevent the breakdown of collagen, a necessary component for strong, firm skin.
We may not be able to totally stop those unwelcome dimples from appearing, but we can make nutritional choices that reduce the appearance of cellulite as we age.