Most of us have cellulite – and there’s nothing wrong with it! – but if you’ve recently noticed it cropping up on more areas of skin, there could be a more serious issue at play. This lumpy, bumpy texture is one of the more visible signs of an impaired lymphatic system. Here are our top 5 foods to get those lymph drainage pathways moving.
Cellulite appears when the connective tissue and cells in our skin are damaged, which allows fats cells to move into the upper layers of our skin. The result is that cottage-cheese textured skin known as cellulite. While it’s a natural part of developing – with around 90% of women having cellulite after going through puberty – it can also be a sign of something deeper going on in our bodies. Issues with our lymphatic system can cause the severity and amount of cellulite to increase as a result of the excess fluid trapped in the skin’s tissue. Our lymph drainage pathways usually clear out toxins, fluid and keep circulation moving, but poor lifestyle choices can result in a congested system. Here’s what you can do about it – take a look at our top 5 foods to fight cellulite.
Cranberries are a skin-boosting nutritional powerhouse – and this is because of a few key compounds including resveratrol – this humble nutrient is surprisingly powerful. It breaks down fat in our fat cells and promotes healthy levels of collagen, which is an essential defence against clogged lymphatic drainage system. The antioxidants in cranberries also help rehydrate our cells and tissue, resulting in getting those accumulated fat cells – the ones that make cellulite visible – and moving them away from the skin’s surface. But that’s not all this tiny superfood is good for – it benefits your whole lymphatic system with its anti-inflammatory properties. Here are just a few of the other health-boosts cranberries provide:
- Prevention of urinary tract infection
- Improved digestive health
- Prevention of cancer
- Reduced inflammation
This veggie might make your urine smell funky, but it’s loaded with polyphenols – your key to fighting cellulite. Resveratrol and pterostilbene are two phytochemicals you’ll find in abundance in asparagus, and here’s what they can do to reduce or prevent cellulite:
- Prevent fat accumulation in our cells
- Fight toxins, free radicals and pathogens
- Prevent inflammation
- Stimulate collagen production and improve the skin’s elasticity
- Protect the skin barrier from damage
Plus, asparagus has high folic acid levels, and this is a known stress reducer – and excess stress can increase inflammation, fat storage and impede our lymphatic system, so you’ll want to eat foods high in this nutrient. If you thought it couldn’t get any better, think again – this green veggie has circulation-boosting properties to help keep those drainage pathways open and get those fluids flowing in the right direction.
Cellulite and “orange peel” skin – you know those patches of skin that are dotted like an orange – are often caused by, or exacerbated by, water retention. And what causes water retention? An impaired lymphatic drainage pathway. Potassium is one of the best weapons again water-retention related skin issues, including cellulite, and bananas happen to be one of the best sources of this nutrient – especially considering the small package it comes in!
Try these other potassium-rich foods:
- Beet greens
Whole grains are loaded with dietary fibre – but what does this have to do with your skin? Well, it all starts with your digestive health – poor gut health is the beginning of inflammation, blocked drainage pathways and the skin issues that accompany these afflictions. Take a look at some of the powerhouse whole grains to add to your plate:
- Brown rice
- Wholemeal bread
Just one cup of quinoa packs 5 grams of fibre, and that’s a hefty dose considering we only need around 19 to 38 grams a day, depending on your weight and health. Amaranth boasts this same 5-gram amount of fibre, while brown rice provides around 3.5 grams per cup.
The antioxidants found in most berries help fight the toxins and free radicals in our body, thereby giving our skin lymphatic system a boost. Without these antioxidants, these toxins and waste products will stagnate and wind up deposited in the layers of our skin, causing – you guessed it – cellulite. The vitamin C is the other hero in strawberries – in fact, strawberries have 31% more of this immune-boosting vitamin than oranges – and this helps break down toxins which cause premature aging, along with building up our collagen foundation, which offers further protection against cellulite. Strawberries are a standout berry for their antioxidant content – often coming out at up to 10 times as high in phenolic antioxidants when compared to other fruits – along with their exceptional ellagic acid and ellagitannin content. The latter nutrients are known for their bacteria-fighting properties, along with reducing our risk for cancer and strengthening our cells. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about the other berries – blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all highly anti-inflammatory. Whichever you choose, just be sure that you do get some berries in your shopping basket.
But it’s not just what you eat – it’s also about what you don’t eat – inflammatory foods promote congestion in our lymphatic system, with ultra-processed foods high on the to-avoid list. This is because they can weaken our immune response and our gut lining, and ultimately result in the stagnation of fluids in our drainage pathways, making it even harder for the lymphatic system to do its job. So limit your intake of highly-processed bread, cereal, fried food and refined oils. Added sugars are another ingredient you’ll want to slash – these wreak havoc on our gut and brain, along with contributing to the development of cellulite – not to mention the host of other skin conditions which are cause by added sugars – from acne to eczema.
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