We all know the old adage ‘you are what you eat’. Well, while it is true that cellulite is linked to a combination of factors, including hormones, stress, genetics, circulation and lifestyle, there is no doubt that a poor diet will accelerate and exacerbate the appearance of cellulite. Foods that are high in salt, additives and sugar, especially processed foods and refined carbohydrates, will all contribute to poor skin health and the formation of cellulite. In terms of what to avoid, see our article on foods that cause cellulite.
If you do have an unhealthy diet then weight gain will also make existing cellulite look worse. This is because cellulite is, essentially, small pockets of fat pushing through structurally changed connective tissue. So the more fat is being deposited, the deeper the dimpling will appear, and the changes within your skin could move from mild to severe cellulite. Fluid retention will also worsen the issue, and cause more lumps and bumps to appear – this is even more problematic after weight gain, as the fat draws in extra water, making these lipid boxes even larger in size and the cellulite more noticeable.
So what should we be eating, to maximize our skin’s health? How can we help keep our skin firm, taut and cellulite free? Here is our list of the top 20 cellulite-fighting foods that should be incorporated into a balanced diet, to help get rid of cellulite and achieve smooth, healthy skin:
We are often asked the question “does drinking water help cellulite?” Well, the answer to this is a resounding yes! OK, so this isn’t a ‘superfood’ and it may be pretty obvious that dehydration is never a good idea. But seriously, making sure you drink enough water is essential for good skin health. Not only will you flush away toxins, but plumped up skin will help disguise the fact that cellulite is even there. Guidelines recommend you should aim to drink eight 240 ml glasses of water a day, which is a total of 2 litres. However this will vary depending on how active you are, and the climate you live in.
High oestrogen levels are known to contribute to the development of cellulite, as they stimulate the production of fat cells and fluid retention. So to combat this, eat one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds – also known as linseed – daily. This supplement contains a type of compound known as a lignan, or phytoestrogen, that helps modulate our own oestrogen production.
- Leafy greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and cabbage are excellent for cellulite reduction – they boost magnesium and fibre intake, and these low-calorie vegetables also contain the antioxidant lutein. Antioxidants are powerful arsenals in an anti-cellulite diet plan, as they boost circulation and neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are essentially unstable oxygen atoms; the process of damage is known as oxidative stress and essentially leads to the visible signs of aging as well as certain degenerative diseases and cancers.Although produced naturally within the body, certain factors can accelerate the production of free radicals. These include sun exposure, pollution, alcohol, smoking and a poor diet. Within the skin, these free radicals will eventually cause sun spots or broken veins. Furthermore, they will damage the collagen under the skin, weaken the connective tissue and lead to the formation of cellulite. This is why antioxidants are so powerful at maintaining good health, and specifically healthy skin.
- Fresh fruit and berries
Fruits rich in vitamin C are great cellulite busters as they boost collagen levels in the skin, helping prevent the structural changes that cause cellulite to appear. They are also packed with antioxidants. Here are a few that deserve a special mention:
- Dark berries – as well as enhancing collagen production, berries also contain powerful antioxidants that boost the lymphatic system and reduce inflammation.
- Watermelons, pink grapefruit and tomatoes – these fruits are high in the antioxidant lycopene. This improves circulation, helping prevent aging and over time smoothing out the skin.
- Bananas and papaya – these fruits are rich in potassium, a mineral that reduces water retention and improves lymphatic drainage, eliminating toxins from the body. Papaya also contains high levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which boosts circulation to the skin, helping it look more healthy and youthful.
Although it is usually best to consume fruits and vegetables when they are fresh (and uncooked), it is important to note that freezing berries doesn’t impair their nutritional value. In fact, research shows it has the potential to increase their antioxidant levels.
- Cranberry juice
A glass of cranberry juice with breakfast could really help you fight your cellulite. As well as emulsifying stubborn fat deposits, so they can be flushed out of the body more easily, this super juice also cleanses the lymphatic system. For optimal benefits, make sure you purchase juice with no added sugar.
- Bell peppers
As we have already mentioned, Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient required for the formation of collagen. Peppers are actually one of the richest dietary sources of this vitamin. In fact, just one medium sized pepper provides 169% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Try to eat peppers raw for maximum effect; they are also high in fibre and vitamin B6, and red peppers are also rich in carotenoids such as skin-perfecting beta-carotene.
Anti-inflammatory, high in fibre and a natural diuretic, asparagus has a dual effect – in addition to helping flush out toxins, it also dramatically reduces bloating. It is also high in folic acid, which is a known mood stabiliser. Given that high stress is linked with insulin resistance, which can in turn promote fat storage, it is clear that asparagus should definitely be on your grocery list of cellulite remedies.
We all know how important it is to eat our greens, and this is never more important than when it comes to broccoli. This superfood is packed with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, it is also low calorie so easy to incorporate into even the most calorie controlled of diets. When it comes to cellulite reduction, not only is it rich in vitamin C, but it also contains alpha linoic acid, a naturally occurring substance that prevents collagen hardening, one of the contributors to the formation of cellulite.
- Whole grains
Packed with fibre, whole grains aid digestive function, which in turn ensures that toxins are quickly removed from the body. They also boost circulation and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Examples include multi-grain bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes and oats.
- Fennel or dandelion tea
In order to reduce fluid retention, try drinking a cup of one of these herbal teas each day. This natural diuretic will help flush out excess water and is a great detox for your skin.
- Cayenne and chili peppers
This may come as a surprise, but as well as spicing up even the dullest of dishes, the capsaicin that these eye-watering peppers contain also boosts the body’s metabolism and improves circulation. A good tip is to use this in place of salt for seasoning, as salt promotes water retention and bloating.
It is important not to cut all fats out of your diet. Some fats, such as nuts, fish and avocado are actually ‘good fats’. In fact, avocado is also a fantastic source of fibre, helping your body flush out toxins and balancing glucose levels. Equally delicious in a smoothie, as a dip or on toast, this is definitely an important weapon in your cellulite-fighting arsenal.
- Oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats deliver amazing anti-inflammatory properties, helping improve skin hydration and appearance and can actually transform fat storage cells into fat burning cells, helping reduce middle-age weight gain.
- The right proteins
The structural elements within skin are essentially made of proteins, including collagen, which is vital for structural support in the skin, connective tissue and muscles; and elastin, which is required to maintain skin elasticity. So it makes sense that in order to maintain healthy skin, it is important to include dietary protein in your diet. Egg whites, fish, turkey, seeds, lean red meat, low-fat cheese and bone broth (or stock) are all good options for obtaining this vital nutrient.
- Green tea
A cup of green tea is a rich source of antioxidants called catechin polyphenols, that reduce the breakdown of collagen; evidence also shows it can also speed up the metabolism, helping you shift weight. If you are looking for more from your brew, try Matcha, a powder version of green tea that is made from the actual tea leaves. This contains up to 137 times the antioxidant properties of normal green tea.
- Chamomile tea
Chronic stress leads to increased cortisol and adrenalin output, which worsen the appearance of cellulite. Given the stress-relieving properties of chamomile tea, why not sit back and relax with a nice cup of chamomile tea? The loose leaf version will be more potent than a tea bag.
Turmeric makes a real difference in the battle against cellulite. As well as stimulating the circulation, it is also an anti-inflammatory and is packed with antioxidants.
This spice also makes it onto our list, and with good reason. Jam packed with some 40 antioxidant properties, it improves skin elasticity and evens out skin tone, preventing and diminishing the appearance of cellulite.
Egg yolks are packed with detoxifying vitamins and minerals, as well as high levels of protein, so it is worth including whole eggs on your shopping list. They may be high in cholesterol, but eaten in moderation they contain many nutrients that are essential for collagen production and maintaining healthy skin elasticity.
- Chia seeds
They may be tiny, but these seeds are giants in the superfood arena. They are loaded with antioxidants, high in essential amino acids and dietary fibre, are anti-inflammatory and good at stabilising blood sugars. They are also mild in flavour so can be added into pretty much anything – blended into smoothies, mixed with oatmeal or even sprinkled over salads.
So as you can see, when you are at the store or shopping online and wondering what helps cellulite, there are actually plenty of foods to choose from, all of which can easily be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet. However, while these superfoods might help as a preventative measure, and to improve the appearance of your skin, it won’t completely cure cellulite that is already formed. For that, you will need to look at therapeutic options. But don’t worry, we have an extensive selection of articles to help you choose the best cellulite treatment for you.