Copyright 2006 Mary Desaulniers
What creates the cottage cheese effect of cellulite? Simply put, cellulite is caused by loose or weak skin and connective tissues that are unable to keep the fat tissues contained within their compartments. Fat tissues or deposits escape through weakened connective fibrous strands and buoy up to the surface, creating the pebbly, orange peel effect. Strong skin and muscles are the best preventive measures for runaway fat. Keeping the cell body firm and intact would mean keeping control over fatty deposits. Cellulite is formed by the creation of water pockets and fat deposits which means that the most effective avenue for controlling them is through exercise and diet. An exercise program is absolutely necessary as well as proper foods and supplementation. Certain foods known for their cell-building properties can help control cellulite.
Protein: The cellulite problem is most pronounced in women who have sagging muscles and skin. Exercise and protein can reduce the stores of fat under the skin; protein helps to firm up muscles that can keep fat stores in place and reduce the dimpled effect of cellulite. Older skin, like older muscles, needs protein, especially soy protein with less fat, for toning and firming. How much protein would you need to produce firm, toned muscles? Approximately .6 gram per pound of lean body mass if you are a moderately active person and 1 gram per pound of lean body mass if you are very active. Go for lean protein in fish, especially salmon because fish provides a high dose of essential fatty acids.
Amino Acids and Essential Fatty Acids: You also need amino acids that help build the skin’s store of collagen and elastin. The best sources for these are complex carbohydrates like beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit. These provide your body with essential fatty acids that slow down the division of skin cells, thus reducing the incidence of mutations and inflammation within these cells, even when they are exposed to ultra violet light. All cells in the human body are surrounded by a membrane composed of phospholipids made chiefly from essential fatty acids. This membrane controls what goes into the cells and what comes out. A good source of essential fatty acids would literally fortify the cell membrane and keep the cell body intact. Research shows that supplementation with fish oil and flaxseed oil can produce marked improvement in skin texture and tone within the first 2 months of use. Because the outer skin replaces itself every 50-80 days, proper supplementation can have a direct and firming effect on skin.
Glucosamine: Glucosamine is a supplement that helps arthritis; it has been shown to restore moisture to arthritic joints as well by keeping the cell tissues well hydrated; this in turn has a positive, plumping effect on the cells, thus reducing the dimpling and curdling of the skin. Adequate amounts of glucosamine in the blood are necessary for skin resilience. Studies show that participants who begin taking glucosamine before and after surgery experienced faster healing with less scarring of skin tissues than participants who did not take glucosamine.
Of course, dietary supplementation and diets are only half effective without exercise. There is no doubt that cellulite can be improved with exercise. Wayne Westcott Ph.D, director of research programs at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachussetts, produced workout routines that showed an appreciable decrease in cellulite. For 2 months, 16 slightly overweight women participated in 20 minutes of cardio, strength and flexibility exercises three times a week. At the end of 2 months, the women lost an average of 1 and 1/3 inches from their hips, and an average of 1 pound. All the women reported less cellulite on their lower bodies, a situation that was confirmed by ultrasound measurements.
For best results in reducing the cottage cheese look of cellulite, eat protein and take up a consistent exercise routine. This combination will raise your metabolism, build lean body tissue, firm the muscles under the skin and keep the fatty deposits under control within the connective tissues. As well, eat plenty of beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits for sources of amino acids to help build collagen and elastin in the skin. Take glucosamine supplements to increase skin resilience. A good source of essential fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed oil can also bolster the integrity of skin cell membranes which will minimize the problem of runaway fatty tissues– which essentially is what cellulite is all about.