Cellulite is stubborn stuff and will happily sit on hips, thighs and bum until it is forced to budge so you have to show it who’s boss! There are scores of lotions, potions, supplements, herbal extracts, articles of clothing impregnated with weird concoctions, heat belts, massage tools, wraps and surgical procedures on offer which promise to ‘banish cellulite forever’ and a few have achieved modest success but before you open your wallet lets look at a few dietary tactics which:
- improve circulation
- encourage lymphatic drainage
- reduce fluid retention
- maintain skin elasticity
- discourage cellulite build-up
Dietary Tactic Number 1
SAY YES: Omega 3 fats help our kidneys get rid of excess water held in tissues, increase our metabolic rate, boost energy production and encourage glucose to be stored in muscle cells rather than fat cells. They also play a major role in balancing hormones. Best foods: Seeds and their oils, nuts and their oils, oily fish and you may wish to consider a daily supplement. Try Nutri’s Eskimo Fish Oils
SAY NO: Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that are available in clear plastic bottles on supermarket shelves and are added to a whole host of ready made foods. These have been heat-treated and chemically-skewed to extend their ‘freshness’ but are difficult for the body to metabolise and can neither be incorporated into cell structures nor excreted in the normal fashion.
Dietary Tactic Number 2
SAY YES: Calcium-rich foods build and maintain strong bones and muscles, allow us to burn more calories per day and reduce the transport of fat from the intestines into the bloodstream so instead of storing it we lose it. Good levels of calcium in the diet are also important for skin health and help to prevent premature ageing. Best foods: 0% fat natural yoghurt, tinned salmon, cottage cheese, tofu, hard cheese, rhubarb, broccoli and spinach.
SAY NO: Salt is not the devil incarnate! The body cannot function without sodium – we need it to maintain a healthy blood pressure, to ensure a good balance of fluid in the body and to help transmit nerve impulses and control muscle contractions. We just don’t need too much of it! A little salt (preferably a good quality sea salt rich in not only sodium but also potassium, magnesium and trace minerals) used in cooking is not where the problem lies, it is the salt, the sodium and the salt enhancers used in the manufacture of everything from bread and cereals to sauces and ready meals that threaten to pitch our sodium consumption into the danger zone. Look at labels and check out the following: where it says salt or salt equivalent, 1.5g is high, 0.3g is low. Aim for a maximum of 0.6g and where it says sodium, 0.5g is high, 0.1g is low. Aim for a maximum of 0.2g.
Dietary Tactic Number 3
SAY YES: Collagen is the protein that literally holds us together and vitamin C is essential for its production. It also improves circulation, strengthens the immune system and allows toxins and waste to be efficiently removed via the lymphatic system. Best foods: Papaya, peppers, cherries and berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale.
SAY NO: The cocktail of artificial sweeteners and caffeine as evident in many fizzy diet drinks are the perfect recipe for cellulite build-up. Furthermore, they do nothing to assist weight loss – the brain regards all sugars, pure, refined or artificial in the same way – as sugar – so the ‘no calories, no weight gain’ pitch is sadly, way off the mark. Additionally, you neeed only take a quick look at the ingredients list to see the scary number of chemicals and colourings that are added to remind yourself that no good can possibly come from quaffing these on a regular basis. Make a determined effort to get them out of your life (gradually if need be) and discourage ballooning fat cells and an exaggerated appearance of cellulite.
Dietary Tactic Number 4
SAY YES: Aerobic exercise expands the network of blood vessels that allow nutrients to be absorbed into the body and this expanded network also helps clear waste products from the body, reducing the build up of cellulite. Interval training, which calls on the fat cells to release energy involves intense effort for one minute (walk/jog/run as fast as you can) followed by less intense effort (slow it down to a manageable pace) for between one and four minutes. This should be repeated for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times per week.
SAY NO: Whilst any form of regular exercise is encouraged for improved cardiovascular health and all-round fitness, it is crucial that after an exercise session, we don’t beef up on sugar and starchy carbohydrates. There is little argument that exercise makes us hungry but the secret is to replenish glycogen levels (the sugar that is stored in the liver and our muscles) by eating within an hour and concentrating on mostly protein and fat-rich foods plus plenty of fibre-rich vegetables rather than breads, potatoes, pasta, rice and other grains. And, if you desperately need a snack in super quick time, go for a pot of hummus and raw vegetable sticks, a mug of meat and vegetable broth or a couple of rye crisp breads topped with tinned salmon and cucumber.