Cellulite Treatments & Staying Fit
Good Fitness Begins With A Healthy Diet
Everything you eat can have a positive or negative effect on your body, which can greatly improve, or worsen the appearance of cellulite. Simply stated, the old adage, ‘you are what you eat', is very true. More importantly, the food you eat can contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle and can help you reduce the levels of fat in your body. One of the simpler things we can all do – and have complete control over – is to eat the right foods. This isn't to say that you must maintain a Spartan eating regime – you can change your diet and still enjoy everything you eat and drink throughout the day.
To begin, a variety of whole cereal grains, natural rice, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, fruits, and vegetables can give you plenty of choices. The main components of a basic healthy diet are: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Most whole foods contain many nutrients in varying proportions, so a variety of foods will give you a good balance. To eat well and feel healthy, choose whole, fresh, or carefully processed foods. Feeling young, and maintaining beautiful skin is more within your control than you think.
Much of what we've assumed are the inevitable consequences of aging – wrinkles, memory loss, an escalating risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer – result more from the lifestyle choices we make early on, than from the natural aging process. And our dietary choices are just as important as using sunscreen, getting exercise and other preventive tactics. Listed below are general anti-aging nutritional guidelines that will help you keep your fat levels down and keep your skin cellulite-free.
Limit Fat And Sugar
Much is written about reducing fat levels . . . almost all of it is true. It's what nutritionists cite as a leading problem in the U.S. and in many parts of the world. But while most people recognize that limiting fat intake is good advice, most fail to realize that sugar intake, including table sugar can create damage to the body's largest organ . . . the skin.
Nicholas Perricone, M.D. assistant professor of Dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine, is world renowned for his research on skin and aging writes, “Sugar; just like oxygen, is necessary to our cells to stay alive. Unfortunately, the sugar in our bodies—called glucose—can be toxic to our cells in many ways. Sugar is exceptionally damaging to your skin because it attaches to the proteins of collagen, causing collagen to ‘cross-link'. When collagen cross-links, it becomes stiff, inflexible, leading to the wrinkling and stiffness of old skin.”
Much of what Dr. Perricone has said in his best selling book, The Wrinkle Cure (www.drperricone.com), is applicable to people with cellulite afflictions as well. Keep sugar intake to a minimum, as most processed foods have more than enough sugar in their content. It's wise to focus on minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nonfat milk and lean meat, especially fish. Whenever possible, take a moderate-dose multiple vitamin-and-mineral supplements (Dr. Perricone advises Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements). Also, take extra antioxidants, such as 100 IU of vitamin E and up to 1,000 mg of vitamin C.
Increase Certain Vitamins As You Get Older
As we age, our bodies' process nutrients less efficiently, resulting in the need for us to increase our nutrient intake. For example, Vitamin D is a nutrient essential to the prevention of osteoporosis. Our bodies manufacture vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but by our 70s our bodies produce only 40 percent of what they produced when you were ten years old. An adequate dosage of vitamin D for people in their 20s is 200 IU; for people who are older, 400 IU to 600 IU is needed to do the same amount of work. It's impossible to say at exactly which age you should be getting this much, but because aging is a continuum, you should gradually increase your intake so that by age 60 or so you are up to around 600 IU. The need for B vitamins increases with age as well. Three B vitamins – folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 – are essential for keeping levels of a compound called homocysteine low in the blood; if allowed to rise, homocysteine contributes to heart-disease risk and possibly memory loss, according to a study in a 1998 European Journal of Pediatrics. As you age, increase your B6 dose from 2 mg to 5 mg; increase B12 over time from 2 mcg (micrograms) to 10 mcg. Women should take 400 mcg of folic acid daily; pregnant women should take 800 mcg daily (to help prevent neural-tube defects in the fetus).
Women, in particular, should be aware that their calcium intake should increase as they age to prevent osteoporosis: According to the National Institute of Health (www.nih.gov), during a woman's middle years, 1,000 mg each day is adequate; 1,200 mg after menopause if you're on hormone replacement therapy; 1,500 mg if you are not on HRT.
Consume Antioxidant Produce
People who generous quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables have lower disease rates (including heart disease and circulatory problems), more energy and less risk for weight gain than those who skip these foods, according to numerous studies published over the years. What's the secret to fresh produce?
With the exception of avocados, olives and coconuts; fresh fruits and vegetables have no fat, cholesterol or sodium. Fruits and vegetables are also fiber-rich: Eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily offer approximately 27 grams of fiber, well within the daily target goal of 25 grams to 35 grams. Fiber-rich foods lower a person's risk for developing age-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Fiber-rich foods also are low in calories, yet satiating, so they help fill you up . . . without filling you out. Fresh fruits and vegetables are nutrient-packed, providing ample amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid, and they are low in calories.
The National Cancer Institute recommends (www.nci.gov) a minimum of five fruit-and-vegetable servings a day, but research shows that the more servings, the greater the health benefits. You should try to consume at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day (two at every meal and two as snacks). Now, that's asking a lot from most people. Traditionally, we fill up on snack foods and fast foods. But, even if you only increase your intake of fruits and vegetables one serving per day, your body will benefit, as will your skin.
Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of longevity-enhancing compounds called antioxidants. Among these are vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. Antioxidants combat free radicals, oxygen fragments that attack and damage cell membranes, life-sustaining proteins and even our cells' genetic code, and in so doing bring about aging and disease. Diets rich in antioxidants prevent disease and premature aging. Antioxidants also stimulate the immune system and protect the nervous system and brain from the oxidative damage associated with age-related memory loss.
Practice Portion Control And Make Every Bite Count
If you can reduce your caloric intake you stack the deck in favor of living longer and healthier. Laboratory studies on mammals have shown an increased life span by reducing food intake. Be wise about lowering your caloric consumption. Lower your intake of foods containing fat and sugar but continue to eat nutrient foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nonfat milk products.
Try To Get More Fish In Your Diet
Not all fat is bad. The fat from fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly lower heart-disease risk, stimulate the immune system and in some cases can even reduce the incidence of depression. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (www.ajcn.org) researchers from the University of Barcelona found that "fish-lovers" have a significantly reduced rate of colorectal, esophageal, stomach and pancreatic cancers. Even small amounts of fish were found to lower risk for cancers of the digestive tract. The researchers speculate that the fatty acids found in fish may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Keep Your Weight Under Control
We all know that keeping your weight at a proper amount is easier said than done. Obesity has now become an epidemic problem in America. More than 50% of ALL Americans are overweight, 20% of all children are overweight, and 30% of ALL Americans are now considered obese.
People who are obese, that do not treat their obese condition, will greatly increase their chances of developing other serious health risks, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage/bone joints), uterine cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, gall bladder cancer, reflux disease and many others including increasing their risk of death. Being overweight is associated with real physical challenges and medical problems which are well recognized, and severe obesity . . . a chronic condition . . . is very hard to treat. “. . . each year approximately 300,000 people die from obesity related conditions. That's about one every two minutes." (www.obesityhelp.com)
Obesity is emerging as a health epidemic not just in the United States, but also around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), obesity is rapidly spreading across all regions and demographic groups. An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese. That figure represents more than 50% of the American adult population. Of this group, 11 million adults suffer from severe obesity. Obesity is an excess of total body fat, which results from caloric intake that exceeds energy usage. The American Obesity Association reports that obese individuals have a 50-100% increased risk of death as compared to normal weight individuals. This substantial increase in health risks has made obesity the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Being overweight can significantly contribute to any cellulite affliction you may have by increasing the amount of sub-dermal fat, creating more septae sclerosis and exacerbating the skin condition.
You become overweight by eating more than you need, and the easiest foods in which to overindulge are fatty and sugary ones. Nobody wants to be fat or obese. A fat person not only looks older, they are also prone to diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, back ache, breathlessness, sexual problems, immobility, gall bladder diseases, osteoarthritis and a host of other medical problems. Obesity leads to untold problems and shortens the life span.
Everyone needs a certain amount of body fat for stored energy and other functions. As a rule, women have more fat than men. Doctors generally agree that men with more than 25 percent body fat and women with more than 30 percent body fat are obese. Precisely measuring a person's body fat, however, is not easy. The most accurate method is to weigh a person underwater -- a procedure limited to laboratories with sophisticated equipment.
Because measuring a person's body fat is tricky, doctors often rely on other means to diagnose obesity. Two widely used measurements are weight-for-height tables and body mass index. While both measurements have their limitations, they are reliable indicators that someone may have a weight problem. They are easy to calculate and require no special equipment.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body mass index, or BMI, is the measurement of choice for many physicians and researchers studying obesity. BMI uses a mathematical formula that is a ratio between a person's height and weight. BMI equals a person's weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared, and multiplied by 704.5. While the BMI measurement poses some of the same problems as the weight-for-height tables, it's a useful general guide. Generally people with BMI's in excess of 30 are considered obese.
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