Get the Skinny on Cellulite
It’s happened again — Memorial Day has arrived, heralding the start of swimsuit season, and you’re confronted with that unsightly dimpling that plagues over 80 percent of womankind — cellulite.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is easy to acquire, but notoriously difficult to remove. Caused by enlarged fat cells, cellulite dimples appear when oversized packets of fat push up against the skin’s underlying supportive tissue. Pressed up against the top layer of skin, these engorged fat deposits create an uneven, dimpled surface. This bumpy, orange-peel texture makes its unwelcome appearance most often on one’s hips, bottom, thighs and upper arms.
While cellulite is more frequently seen in overweight individuals, being slim does not necessarily spare you the indignities of dimpled flesh. Multiple factors contribute to its formation: poor diet, lack of exercise, sluggish circulation, hormonal imbalance and weak connective tissue. In order to banish cellulite, one needs to address each of these issues.
The first step, of course, is to eliminate refined sugar and all processed foods from your diet. Sugar is stored in fat cells, causing them to expand. Avoid consuming sodas, rancid vegetable oils and trans-fats. I recommend going on a detox diet and drinking a lot of water to flush out the toxins that have accumulated in the fat cells. Your skin will look smoother and less bumpy if it’s well hydrated.
Excessive salt intake (typically from over consumption of processed food) can also cause bloating, which worsens the appearance of cellulite. I suggest that you start preparing your own food as much as possible and always scrutinize labels for sugar, sodium, hydrogenated oil and toxic additives.
Try jumpstarting your anti-cellulite detox program with Dr. Josh Axe’s Cellulite Slim Down Juice. The ingredients in this juice will help purge toxins and reduce the development of cellulite.
Hormonal imbalance, estrogen dominance in particular, is associated with cellulite formation. This condition is most commonly triggered by poor diet, age and/or stress. The good news: you can improve your hormone balance with food and supplements. Some hormone-balancing and collagen-strengthening foods to try:
Flaxseed: flaxseed can help balance estrogen levels, and it boosts collagen production. More collagen equals stronger connective tissue and fewer cellulite bulges. Add a teaspoon of flaxseed to your morning smoothie or yogurt.
Maca: this Andean superfood, which strongly resembles a turnip, is an adaptogen that optimizes your hormone production and balance. It also gives your immune system and energy levels a boost.
Bone broth: bone broths, slowly simmered with the bones of organically raised animals, is chock full of nutrients that help banish cellulite. It’s rich in gelatin, which comprises amino acids such as glycine and glucosamine. Glycine opposes estrogen, so it combats estrogen dominance. Glucosamine strengthen the dermis, which keeps the fat cell protrusions that create cellulite from expanding.
Sea vegetables: sea vegetables such as kelp, kombu and wakame contain fucoxanthin, a substance that fuels the body’s fat-burning ability. They are also an excellent source of iodine, which maintains thyroid function and overall hormone balance. I sprinkle kelp on soup, pasta and scrambled eggs.
Natto, foie gras, grass-fed butter and dairy: vitamin K2 (the MK4 isoform of Vitamin K) is necessary for promoting collagen and elastin for strong connective tissue to keep the fat cells from bursting through to the upper layers of the skin. A vitamin K2 deficiency can also manifest itself in the form of premature wrinkles and sagging skin, so enjoy that foie gras! If you’re a vegetarian, try natto, Japanese fermented soybeans — one of the richest sources of vitamin K2 known to man.
Gotu kola: this herbal extract has been known to increase the elasticity and thickness of the dermis, which reduces the appearance of cellulite. It can be taken orally and applied externally to afflicted areas.
Any serious anti-cellulite regimen needs to include exercise. The best forms of exercise for combating cellulite include yoga, Pilates, Barre and interval training (burst training). A combination of stretching, toning and fat burning is required to reduce cellulite.
Next week, I’ll discuss detoxification and topical treatments in greater detail. I will also describe non-surgical treatments that can greatly reduce the appearance of cellulite.