Dr. Perricone Discusses

Cellulite and Nutrition


Aging does not just take place on the face. As the body ages we see changes that include the loss of muscle tone in conjunction with the addition of body fat, particularly in the abdominal area, on the legs and on the arms. This excess body fat is directly attributable to two factors. The first is the loss of insulin sensitivity, the second the elevation of cortisol (the death hormone) levels in conjunction with a decrease in the life or youth hormones, testosterone, estrogen, human growth hormone, etc. We must avoid swings in blood sugar, which can cause the storage of fat and a break down of muscle tissue.

Patients often ask me if eating particular foods can prevent or lesson the appearance of cellulite. Ideally, if you make anti-inflammatory foods the basis of your daily diet, this will ensure low body fat, maintenance of muscle mass and healthy, radiant, firm skin.

I recommend a three-tiered approach to enhance skin appearance and optimize overall health: 1) targeted nutritional supplements; 2) topical anti-oxidants; and 3) a daily anti-aging diet that minimizes sugary, starchy foods in favor of the following anti-inflammatory fare:
  • Fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, which are rich in protein, DMAE, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Colorful fruits—especially blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and cantaloupe.
  • Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, leafy greens, artichokes, asparagus, onion, and red-yellow peppers.
  • Healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocado
These foods and beverages act as natural anti-inflammatories and help to maintain normal levels of insulin and blood sugar. Above all, avoid starchy, sugary foods and beverages as well as those containing high fructose corn syrup which will 'super size' you in no time as this substance increases the appetite and converts to fat more rapidly than any other sugar.

It is also important to drink plenty of pure, non-carbonated spring water throughout the day (6 to 8 glasses). You will enjoy an extra benefit if you add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Lemon is rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C (anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants), and acts as a natural diuretic to help the body shed excess water. Lemon is also a natural detoxifying agent, and many experts believe detoxifying the body helps eliminate the lumpy and bumpy appearance of cellulite.

Many of my patients also find that regular use of topical DMAE decreases the appearance of cellulite on legs, thighs, and upper arms. DMAE is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, nutrient-like substance that occurs naturally in our bodies. I recommend applying DMAE-rich lotion in advance of any special event, and before donning short pants, skirts, dresses, or a bathing suit. Many people find that their skin adopts a healthier, smoother appearance with remarkable rapidity—often, in as few as 10 to 15 minutes.

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