Fight Cellulite Naturally by Boosting your Collagen
Oh no, you cry, more boring biology lessons. I don’t care WHY I have cellulite, I just want it gone!
Well the good news is I’m not going to bore you with fibroblasts and proline and all the other fascinating scientific facts about collagen. For the geeks among you, head over to Wikipedia for an inspiring read.
However, there is a good reason why you should think a little bit about collagen and how it might be affecting your cellulite. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll be familiar with your connective tissue. Currently making your thighs look rather lumpy and bumpy. Collagen is a protein that forms connective tissue. It’s also the protein that breaks down as you get older and makes you scurry off to the plastic surgeon for a facelift.
But what has a facelift got to do with my cellulite? Nothing, actually. Except one thing… the breakdown of collagen not only contributes to those crow’s feet and laughter lines, but to those dimples we’ve all been getting so fed up with recently.
Collagen is what gives skin and lips that youthful appearance, smooth and plump. It’s also doing quite a lot behind the scenes as well, making your bones nice and strong, keeping those tendons and ligaments healthy and pain-free. Collagen is a major component of your hair and nails, your internal organs and muscles. And keeping your fat cells in check, neatly contained within their connective tissue homes.Hmm, so collagen is everywhere? Pretty much, yes.
Hmm, so collagen is everywhere? Pretty much, yes.
And it starts breaking down around the time we reach puberty. Unfortunately for us ladies, our monthly menstrual cycle means that we need to break down collagen. This allows the endometrium to be shed. All right, enough about that, what’s it to do with my cellulite? What it means is that each month our body goes on the rampage, breaking down collagen all over the place just so we can suffer a monthly cycle.
All right, enough about that, what’s it to do with my cellulite? What it means is that each month our body goes on the rampage, breaking down collagen all over the place just so we can suffer a monthly cycle.
But that’s not all. Because, hey, that’s natural, and it happens to everyone, so why do some of us lose collagen faster? Why do I know a lady in her 60’s with no wrinkles and my sister is covered in them at the age of 45?
There are certain things that have a detrimental effect on our collagen and cause it to degrade faster. Smoking wages war on collagen. Sunbathing. I’m afraid the UV rays do plenty of damage. Ever remember your doctor saying you should keep out of the sun, it’s bad for your skin? That it will make you age faster? Well he or she is talking about collagen breakdown and its undesirable side-effects.
OK, so you don’t smoke and you haven’t been in the sun since last year’s mini-break, and you didn’t get burnt. So what else…
As I said earlier, collagen is a protein. And when proteins bind with sugar, they become glycated. Glycated proteins eventually become what is called Advanced Glycation End products. (AGEs). These AGEs have the effect of stiffening the tissue that is made up of collagen, and hardening it.
(Aside: If you have ever been for a blood test where they test for diabetes HbA1C, you will possibly know that this is a test for glycated haemoglobin, which is when sugar has attached itself to the haemoglobin in the red blood cell.)
So… why am I making a connection with a test for diabetes and your cellulite? Yep, you guessed it. Glycated end-products are a result of excess sugar, from over-consumption of sugary foods or poor blood sugar management (insulin resistance). Once the collagen becomes glycated, it is unable to form the proper fibres that join together to form smooth skin and connective tissue.
Another culprit in the degradation of collagen is oxidative stress. This refers to the circulation of free-radicals and toxins that can cause collagen to break down. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are formed when the body is unable to detoxify properly.
The toxic load becomes too much and there are simply not enough antioxidants available to bind to these molecules and safely excrete them. These free radicals spend their time creating chronic inflammation and cellular damage. So overindulgence in alcohol, smoking, processed foods and a lack of antioxidant-rich nutrients will increase free-radical damage.
What steps can we take to combat the breakdown of collagen?
Before spending money on collagen creams, learn how to boost your collagen from the inside and fight cellulite naturally.
- Avoid excessive sugar consumption. That includes white bread, pasta and the “low fat” options in the processed food department. Work on replacing your sugary drinks and snacks with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Combat oxidative stress with anti-inflammatory, natural foods. Eat antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries, dark, leafy greens such as Kale, spinach and other fibrous vegetables. Incorporating these unprocessed foods into your daily diet will go a long way to giving your collagen (and the rest of your body) the nutrients it needs to regenerate.
- Healthy fats. We’ve all heard about trans-fats and how bad they are. Overconsumption of these so-called “bad” fats causes inflammation. Boost your Omega-3 intake (which is anti-inflammatory) with oily fish and grass-fed meats. Use coconut oil and olive oil in your cooking. Eat plenty of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds to boost your “good fats” intake.
- Vitamin C rich foods (not fruit juice from a packet – eat the whole fruit!). Collagen requires adequate amounts of vitamin C to regenerate. Spinach, Kale and other leafy greens are a very good source of vitamin C.
- Antioxidant-rich spices such as turmeric, lycopene from tomatoes and plenty of green tea will provide a protective effect on collagen.
- Bone broth is a fantastic way to boost collagen in the body. It also has a healing effect on the digestive system. Boiling bones from grass-fed beef, or chicken carcass is a time-honoured method of getting the all-important gelatin and collagen to provide the building blocks for healthy connective tissue. Homemade bone broths can be added to soups or even sipped on their own throughout the day. In our modern diet we tend to opt for lean cuts of meat, which contain no natural gelatin or collagen. This can be reversed by adding bone broth to your daily eating.
- Some very good hydrolyzed collagen supplements are available for those who prefer to take a supplement instead of making bone broth. I should stress that simply taking a supplement without making any other changes to your eating habits will have little or no effect. As part of a good eating plan and exercise routine, this supplement can work very well.
Collagen breakdown is a major factor in cellulite formation. Collagen will naturally deplete as we get older, so it’s even more important to support collagen synthesis. Now you know what to do to boost that all-important collagen, to heal connective tissue and smooth out those dimply thighs. Please leave me a comment below and feel free to ask any questions: