The dimpling of skin (‘orange peel’ or ‘cottage cheese’ appearance) can be improved by a number of means, since its development is multifactorial. Poor diet allows inflammation and plays a secondary role to genetics in causing cellulite. Most of the effective treatments are external in nature, affecting the area beneath the skin through radiofrequency, laser, shockwaves, infrared energy or mechanical tissue manipulation.
Internally through diet, a focus on improving food habits rather than calorie restriction has been shown to improve skin tonicity. Weight change is not the issue or resolution, as cellulite may worsen with weight loss. Since the problem is in the fat layer under the skin, you need to address the nutritional needs of these two tissues.
First, your body fat deposits are living and require oxygen and nutrients from the blood, just like your organs and muscles do. So focus on a sound diet adequate in vitamins, minerals, fluid and energy. The same goes for the skin, but without excess saturated fat, alcohol, sugar or salt.
What might a day’s meals look like? Here’s one example: Steel cut oatmeal with almonds and berries, eggs, and low-fat milk for breakfast. Peanut butter and an apple for snack. Tuna salad sandwich (whole grain bread), and spinach salad with vinaigrette for lunch. Hummus, carrots and celery for snack. Baked chicken, steamed red potatoes and green beans for dinner. An orange for dessert.
There is the possibility that supplementing with polyphenols (antioxidant plant compounds) may improve skin appearance, as does caffeine administration in topical creams. It’s possible that other compounds like conjugated linoleic acid may have promise, but are not currently validated treatments. As well, herbal pills are not a proven remedy.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
*Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. Whigham, Leah; Watras, Abigail; and Schoeller, Dale. Am J Clin Nutr May 2007 vol. 85 no. 5 1203-1211
Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?