We live in an aesthetically sensitive society. For better or worse that is just a fact. The pressures to toe the perfection line is often unrealistic and almost always stressful, or worse, painful. It is well-known that one’s appearance can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem. Cellulite also has a significant psychological impact on women, especially when the need to bear one’s body arises…For example, in a bathing suit. There can also be problems in an intimate relationship if one is embarrassed about being seen sans wardrobe.
Cellulite causes that dimpled-looking fat on your thighs, hips, butt, and belly. It’s tough to get rid of it, especially since it’s genetics. It can be tackled and improved however, prevention is best and the younger you start the better. Don’t despair if you already have it because there are ways of slowing it down and, even ways to improve it! Here are ways of doing just that.
Cellulite is a term for the formation of lumps and dimples in the skin.
Common names for cellulite are orange-peel skin, cottage-cheese skin, I hate my butt, belly thighs!
Cellulite can affect both men and women. It is more common in females because of different distributions of fat, muscle, and connective tissue. Women tend to have thinner skin which allows for the subcutaneous fat to show more. Also, certain ethnicities tend to carry weight more in the lower body.
Also, testosterone levels in females are responsible for more prominent cellulite amongst certain ethnicities.
Nearly 90% of women will have some degree of cellulite in their lifetime.
Sitting all day.
Eating poor quality foods, namely trans fats, starchy, processed carbohydrates, sugar, and excessive salt.
Dehydration. Drinking lots of water reduces the appearance of cellulite.
The Causes of Cellulite There isn’t a whole lot known about what causes cellulite. It involves a fibrous tissue that adheres skin to underlying tissue, As fat cells accumulate the fatty areas push up against the skin while long, thick cords pull downward. This causes a dimpling appearance. There are 3 grades of cellulite based on its intensity.
Herbal and alternative Medicines
In Chinese medicine, it is believed that cellulite is caused by a congested lymphatic system and the accumulation of fat. This in combination with emotional imbalances cause stagnation and thus the accumulation of fats which build cellulite. An herbalist or an AcuMedic doctor can help you explore these areas.
Qi Stagnation Chinese herbalists believe cellulite is connected to water metabolism. When Qi stagnation is present the body has a build of excess water that can not be eliminated without therapy such as Massage therapy which helps the body break down and improves circulation. Tuina Massage is especially recommended to stimulate lymphatic drainage.
Cupping and Gua Sha are also believed to be beneficial as it draws toxins and brings fresh blood to the area which has a toning and firming effect.
Body cupping sets such as this one can be used at home for self vacuum suction massage.
Medical grade stainless steel gua sha such as this sone can be used at home.
Damp food such as alcohol, dairy, sugar excess fats, and processed food contribute greatly to cellulite and excess body fat.
Ali likes the addition of bitter foods such as lettuce, celery, dandelions, endive, and so forth (this is Traditional Chinese Medicine flavor classification) because they drain excessive water retention and dampness.
A homemade seaweed peel placed on the affected areas can help increase blood circulation.
Recipe for a Seaweed Peel
Mix finely diced dry seaweed (such as Wakame,Kelp, or other) with ½ cup sea salt, 1 tablespoon almond oil, and one drop of geranium oil, and a drop of thyme oil. Apply to the affected area before showering. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes. Massage the area in the shower and then rinse away.
When your adrenal glands are out of balance, you can retain fluids. The electrolytes in the body are thrown off causing fluid retention and bloating in the belly area. This produces the cottage appearance known as cellulite.
Kidney and Liver Health
Cellulite is different from other forms of body fat. It is a gelatinous substance that is stubborn to eliminate. It gets trapped in lumpy, clumps just below the surface of the skin. These lumpy deposits are created when the kidney, liver, and digestive system fail to do their job and eliminate waste. Keeping these organs in tiptop shape is vital to good health and proper elimination of waste. Keeping these organs healthy boils down to eating a healthy diet rich in plant foods, avoiding processed foods, salts, sugar, excess caffeine, and alcohol. Drink plenty of water to keep your body flushed out.
Avoid pesticides, glyphosates, and other toxic substances in the food, water and air. Periodic cleanses can help move these substances out. There are a few studies actually linking gluten sensitivity to glyphosate sensitivity since most gluten-rich foods are actually extremely high in glyphosate and the two often go hand in hand. Gluten only became a problem in recent years when the use of glyphosate became so prevalent. Most non-organic wheat and cereal grains are dried using glyphosate which remains as a residue in the food.
The hormones in your thyroid play a large part in why cellulite develops. A slow thyroid leads to a slow metabolism which, in turn, leads to poor circulation. Poor circulation means less oxygen getting to areas in your body. This likely will allow for the development of cellulite. One symptom of a sluggish thyroid is dark circles under the eyes. Adequate amounts of sleep can help a lot with both a sluggish thyroid and dark circles. Another serious symptom is severe hair loss. The hair will be uniformly lost, not just in patches. You will notice your hair getting thinner and eventually the scalp will be visible. The hair almost always grows back when the thyroid is healthy again.
For internal mineral balance and thyroid protection and balance, Dulse is one of Ali’s favorites.
Interval yoga in yoga poses and flows infused with short burst of high intensity exercise such as jumping and running in place, High intensity is very effective for fat reduction and therefore beneficial for reducing cellulite.
Yoga, HIIT Yoga, and Interval yoga are great ways to help in the elimination of cellulite. My Interval Yoga teacher, Ali Kamenova, is the best around. You can find her at alikamenova.com.
When you are choosing poses to help lessen cellulite choose poses that focus on the calves, thighs, and legs. Such as eagle pose, incline plank and, shoulder stand. Eagle Pose Eagle pose is a super cellulite fighter. The reason is that you have to tighten muscles in your thighs while strengthening the core muscles throughout the pose. The full pose is pretty advanced but you get much of the benefit by doing the simpler version of the pose. The eagle pose challenges your thigh muscles and strengthens the core as you hold a stationary semi-seated position. Chair pose is effective for the same reasons. Incline Plank-Reverse Plank This is one of the most effective poses for cellulite reduction. It is also accessible to yogis of all levels. It is effective because of how hard your legs and thighs are working in this semi isometric posture. Shoulder Stand This pose promotes deep, cleansing breathing and strengthens the upper body, abs, and legs. The shoulder stand works your abs, legs, and core as you toes are pointed upward. Your legs are working hard just holding the position.
Other beneficial exercises Walking, swimming, climbing stairs, and cycling are also beneficial exercises in the battle of cellulite.
Foods Known to Increase Cellulite
1. Salt causes water retention and exaggerates the appearance of cellulite. Ali has found that Indian black salt also known as Kala Namak is one of the best options for salt rich in minerals in the diet.
2. Cheese is high in both salt and fat
3. Refined Sugar is purely empty calories. It can reduce the amount of collagen in your body and collagen is our friend in preventing and lessening cellulite! Avoid sugary drinks such as soda, sweetened foods with a natural sweetener like stevia leaf or monk fruit powder. The less sugar you consume the more likely you are to have smoother skin.
Whole foods rich in natural sugars can be of great help in keeping the body clean and the glycogen reserves full. Dates, fruits, potatoes and such are great helpers in the journey to a smooth and healthy skin.
4. Refined and processed carbs such as pasta, foods made with white flour like white bread and crackers. This happens because when the body breaks it down it is processed into sugar! It causes inflammation which…you guessed it, worsens the appearance of cellulite! Another downside to excess sugar is that it can accelerate aging and, worsen or cause many health conditions.
5. Any processed foods. Eat whole foods. Skip anything that comes prepared or in a mix, box or can. Salt again is the culprit here. Not to mention that your body needs clean fuel to run optimally.
6. Chemicals, sodium, nitrates are all very bad for your health…inside and out.
7. Dairy is known to cause inflammation in the body. Again, inflammation increases the appearance of cellulite.
8. Coffee is a diuretic and dehydration increases the appearance of cellulite. If you add cream and or sugar you are creating a cellulite bomb!
Foods That FIGHT Cellulite
If you want a clean body, inside and out focus on a whole food minimally processed diet mainly consisting of fruits and veggies high in antioxidants. This reduces the appearance of cellulite as they battle inflammation and help us keep the health of our internal organs. In addition fruits and veggies help us maintain optimal weight and that can be one of the main helpers in combating cellulite.
And “YAY” dark chocolate too!
Water is your friend…so drink plenty. It hydrates and flushes the toxins from your body.
Here are 13 foods that help keep cellulite at bay and, and reduce the appearance of already existing cellulite to have you feeling your best.
1. Avocados are a fantastic, healthy fat food for balancing glucose levels and battling cellulite. It is packed full of potassium and folate. It is a bit high in fat so the limit it to a few slices per serving because of the calories. Excess weight also increases cellulite. Avocados are high in fiber too!
2. Lemons and Citrus Fruits are great for their ability to reduce the impact of the carbohydrates you eat. Because starchy carbohydrates, like pasta and bread are digested rapidly and converted into sugar, they affect glucose levels which in turn contribute to the fats stores that cause cellulite. Lemons, limes, etc., are easy to enjoy, either on their own or used to flavor your favorite dishes. They are great spritzed on a salad or to enhance the flavors in your favorite dishes. An added benefit is that citrus fruit also flushes the liver, which is known to be instrumental in health and the prevention of cellulite. It is no coincidence that citrus peel looks just like simply skin. Citrus essential oils really help with circulation and skin health.
3. Red Wine and red grapes contain resveratrol which is loaded with anti-aging benefits. It also helps lower estrogen which is known to greatly contribute to fat stores and cellulite. Resveratrol is mainly found in the skin of the grapes. The highest concentration of resveratrol is found in red wine. You can also find supplements to help you boost your intake. Better yet GRAPE JUICE AND GRAPES.
4. Lean Proteins like baked tofu and boiled beans (no or low salt added) is good for balancing blood sugar levels. Minimal protein amounts can keep you full for longer periods because is slows down digestion and regulates glucose(sugar)levels which reduces the development and appearance of cellulite.
5. Garlic, Onions, leeks, shallots have huge medicinal benefits. They belong to the allium family and are great at lowering glucose levels. There are tasteless, odorless garlic oil supplements available if you don’t like the taste of the beneficial plants.
6. Asparagus is yummy and also helps combat stress. It is also a natural diuretic so make sure to chase it with some water. It is also, like avocado, high in folates as are many fruits, leafy greens, and beans.
7. Green Tea is full of super antioxidants. Antioxidants can help keep your body healthy and help prevent cellulite before it starts. It also raises metabolism which can help keeps your weight down and prevent fat stores from accumulating since cellulite are pockets of fat that are unevenly distributed under the skin.
8. Cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, elderberries, strawberries, etc, are wonderful for controlling glucose levels. Berries and cherries are low on the glycemic index and raise your blood sugar slower than other fruits.
9. Chamomile Tea is a stress reliever and stress creates cortisol in the body. Excess cortisol can make the body hold onto fat stores.
10. Cucumber is a food high in water content which helps keep the body hydrated. Other high water content foods are celery, watermelon, lettuces, pineapple, tomato, cabbage, and broccoli.
RAW nuts and flax seeds have anti-estrogenic compounds because they are full of plant sterols. Plant sterols block bad cholesterol. It also helps balance out overactive estrogen. Your best raw nut choices are peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans.
11. Whole grains are high in plant sterols like raw nuts and flaxseeds. The best whole grains highest in plant sterols are whole wheat, brown rice, wheat germ, oat bran, rice bran, and bran. Whole grains also help balance glucose levels and are high in fiber to help curb your appetite. It is best to use organic grains and a sourdough fermentation process which makes them easy to digest and assimilate and a great probiotic addition to your diet.
12. Papaya is very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C supports collagen in the body which benefits your skin, hair, nails, etc. Healthy skin keeps your body tighter and healthier looking. Thinning skin allows the cellulite to push outward and increases the uneven appearance.
You have probably surprised by now that a plant-based diet is your best bet for either help prevent, or help keep cellulite in check. This diet has so many health benefits that you will soon be looking and feeling your absolute best!
Supplements and Herbals
Caffeine externally for scrubs
Vitamin A, C, and D
Polyphenols, terpenoids, and silicon all present in fruits and vegetables
Anti-inflammatory mono and polyunsaturated fats