Cellulite: most of us will have it at some point in our lives, and it can leave you feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable.
But by making just a few small changes to your diet, a medical nutritionist and GP says that you can banish any dimpled, saggy skin for good.
Dr Sarah Brewer, the author of newly published Eat Well Look Great, has shared her tips for removing unwanted cellulite exclusively with FEMAIL Food&Drink, and they include ditching white, unrefined carbohydrates and eating more raw green vegetables and wholemeal carbs.
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"Ask any woman about cellulite and she will know exactly what you mean. Three out of four could even show you some. But what can be done to prevent it?
Cellulite – known medically as hydrolipodystrophy – is the name for dimpled skin in certain fat-storage areas of the body. It develops when fat cells in the hips, thighs or buttocks become overloaded.
Here, I reveal how you can banish cellulite through exercise and by eating the right foods - and avoiding the wrong ones.
Foods to eat
1. Follow a low-fat, wholefood diet that is as organic as possible (some agricultural chemicals have an oestrogen-like action that may contribute to cellulite formation - although this is controversial).
2. Opt for a largely plant-based diet, as animal-based foods contain hormones that may affect cellulite development.
3. Select wholegrain carbohydrate sources such as brown rice and pasta, wholemeal bread, pulses and beans.
4. Eat oily fish regularly (preferably organic): omega-3 fish oils have a beneficial effect on the circulation and the suppleness of cell membranes.
5. Use healthy oils (such as flaxseed, pumpkin, walnut, olive, avocado, rapeseed) for cooking and in salad dressings.
6. Eat raw green vegetables – raw greens are packed with fiber, antioxidants and enzymes that are said to have a cleansing effect on the bowel and help to remove toxins (eating them raw preserves more nutrients).
7. Drink water, herbal teas and fruit and vegetable juices (unsweetened and diluted) to aid the elimination of toxins.
Foods to avoid
1. Cut back on carbohydrates (especially sugars and refined flour) to follow a low-GI diet. This will reduce your secretion of insulin, which is the main fat-storing hormone in the body. A lower-carbohydrate diet is also associated with less fluid retention, as insulin affects the kidneys to reduce salt excretion. This means avoiding sugary foods and other refined carbohydrates (for example white flour products, cakes, biscuits, and so on).
2. Reduce salt intake – select low-salt products and don't add salt during cooking or at the table.
3. Avoid saturated and trans fats (found in margarines, for example) and processed meats (such as sausages and burgers).
4. Avoid artificial sweeteners. It has been claimed that consuming artificial sweeteners is associated with cellulite. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this, cutting them out will undoubtedly make your diet healthier. Use stevia as a natural sweetener while you cultivate a taste for less-sweet foods.
Other ways to banish cellulite
1. Try Dead Sea mineral salts (used by Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba as a beauty treatment): massage into the skin when bathing to stimulate circulation and exfoliate.
2. Lose excess weight gradually: steady weight loss through diet and exercise will reduce subcutaneous collections of fat (avoid crash diets).
3. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes. Cycling, step aerobics, aerobics, light weights, walking and swimming are all excellent for toning up muscles and improving circulation.
• EAT WELL LOOK GREAT by Dr Sarah Brewer is out now, published by Eddison Books