With summer just around the corner, the number-one enemy of bikini-wearers everywhere is back on the agenda. Linked to genetic and hormonal causes, cellulite is an unfair and unfortunate fact of life for many women, especially since the die is cast between the ages of seven and 14, a period when fat cells or adipocytes are known to take root. The most effective ways of blitzing lumpy "orange-peel" skin and water retention come through food, exercise and manual massage.
Cut down on sugar
Cutting all types of sugar from the diet isn't always realistic because the body needs some sugars to function correctly. However, it's wise to follow a diet with a low Glycemic Index (GI), favoring foods that have very little impact on blood sugar levels. According to the diet's founder, Michel Montignac, weight gain is supposedly linked to eating the wrong kind of carbohydrates, which cause insulin levels to spike and lead to more fat being stored in the body. Fill up on low-GI foods like vegetables (except cooked carrots and potatoes) and legumes like peas, chickpeas, lentils, plus wholegrain cereals and certain types of meat. The chrono diet, developed by Dr Alain Delabos, can also be a source of inspiration. This recommends banishing sugars -- including fruit, fruit purees and dark chocolate -- after 5pm to help prevent fat being stored overnight. Try to cut down on hidden sources of salt too, as these are often responsible for water retention. Dr Delabos also suggests avoiding soup as an evening meal, as the water it contains can be retained by mineral salts found in vegetables and salt used to bring out the flavor, encouraging water retention around the thighs and buttocks.
The power of plants
Plants can offer a helping hand by stimulating lymph and blood circulation. The most effective plants for cellulite-busting are grape vine (circulation), witch-hazel (anti-inflammatory) and butcher's broom (anti-edema). For water retention, opt for the cleansing and draining properties of orthosiphon (sometimes known as cat's whiskers) and Queen of the prairie. Finally, the cellulite-forming effect of hormones can be treated with a three-month course of borage oil supplements, which have a balancing effect on estrogen levels.
Try underwater cycling
The fiercest means of attacking orange-peel skin is with underwater cycling or aquabiking. This stimulates leg muscles to the max and boosts blood circulation. But don't go overboard -- it's better to take a long-term approach with regular 45-minutes cellulite-blasting sessions. These are available at special aquacycling centers and at certain gyms or local pools.
Go hands-on with massage
Regular manual subdermal tissue massage can mimic the effects of exercise by breaking down adipocytes and liberating lipids. If you really want to try a slimming cream, choose a caffeine-based formulation to encourage the liberation of fats and the emptying of adipocytes. DIY-blends can be useful too. Try adding a few drops of essential oils like rockrose, cypress or red cedar wood to an almond carrier oil, for example, to make your own massage oil.
© AFP/Relaxnews 2021