Health

How to kick-start your fight against cellulite

Check out the foods you should eat and exercises you should do to keep skin firm

Getting rid of cellulite completely is a tall order because it is related to genetics and excess fat.

Women have three layers of fat on their buttocks, thighs and knees.

And along with extra fat - compared with men - women have a connective tissue network with large spaces that allow fat cells to bulge through, creating a dimpled effect.

A weight-reduction plan that includes aerobic exercise, such as walking, and a change of lifestyle can help you reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Body brushing

Introduce this into your routine, the results are worth it. Make sure you scrub before you get into the shower. Always in circular motions, starting at the ankles and working up towards your heart, as experts say this improves blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.

It will not only banish dry skin but also have a real impact on those dimples too.

Moisturise with a body oil and you will be feeling like a queen.

No coffee

Coffee and caffeine are dehydrating and can actually add to the appearance of cellulite.

Staying hydrated and avoiding caffeinated beverages such as coffee and colas will help to hydrate and firm the skin.

Walking

Start with 20 minutes of speed walking, three times a week. Increase the frequency or duration, or use walking as part of interval training - walking plus brief periods of all-out sprints - for faster results.

Water

To keep cellulite at bay, you need to be drinking water. The cellulite under your skin stores toxins, which can accumulate if you have an unhealthy lifestyle. Water keeps the skin hydrated and flushes out toxins, and it is key if you want to keep your skin looking fresh and youthful.

If you find plain water boring, flavour it with slices of citrus fruit or berries.

Lecithin

Eggs, apples, soy, spinach, cauliflower, peanuts and iceberg lettuce are all lecithin-rich foods, so they are great for getting rid of cellulite. By eating these daily, you will restore the strength of your skin cells.

Protein

Consume protein-rich foods such as lean meats, turkey, nuts, skimmed milk and pulses.

These stimulate and strengthen the production of collagen and elastin, which also help to firm up muscles that can keep fat stores in place, and reduce the dimpled effect of cellulite.

Take the stairs

One trick to getting rid of pesky lumps and bumps is working all your lower body muscles.

Climbing stairs is a great way to achieve this, as it lessens the underlying fat stores and replaces lost muscle tissue to give the area a toned appearance.

Oily fish

Omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines (as well as vegetable oils, seeds and nuts) are known to lower cholesterol.

In turn, you will be boosting your circulation, which has an anti-inflammatory effect. The fats in oily fish help reduce swelling that could make skin cell damage worse, so eat it once a week to beat that cellulite problem.

No fatty foods

Full-fat dairy products - cream, butter and cheese - are high in saturated fats and are harder for your body to break down. Eating fatty takeaways and processed foods can also cause cellulite because they lead to fat deposits in our bodies.

Fruit and vegetables

Cellulite is caused by a build-up of toxins. Beat that with the consumption of fruit and vegetables which are high in antioxidants. Try celery, oranges, grapefruit, peaches and plums which are low in natural sugar and high in fibre.

Foods high in vitamin C are also great cellulite-busters because they boost levels of collagen in the skin, promoting elasticity and keeping things taut.

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly (www.womensweekly.com.sg).

WELLNESS & BEAUTY