Cottage cheese. Orange peel. Sounds great if you are talking about lunch; not so wonderful when describing your thighs. The word cellulite has been around since the 1920s, but it didn't become a part of our daily vocabulary until the late 1960s. Proposed treatments have involved everything from being massaged with rollers to applying caffeine cream, but nothing seems to work. We've tried everything but the kitchen sink and the answer might actually be there.
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is that bumpy, cottage cheese-looking fat that accumulates on your abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and sometimes triceps. According to Lionel Bissoon, author of the 2006 book "The Cellulite Cure", cellulite afflicts 10% of men and 90% of women, mostly in industrialized nations.
The Mayo Clinic explains that your skin is attached to the muscle layer beneath it by a network of fibrous connective cords. Fat that gets trapped between your muscles and your skin pushes up between the cords, rather like the surface effect you get by suspending a water balloon in a wide-mesh net bag.
Causes & Cures
According to an article on medicalnewstoday.com, cellulite might be caused by any number of things, including hormones, genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking (which decreases circulation), a high-fat diet, or wearing underwear that is too tight and cuts off circulation. Cellulitetalk.com cites poor hydration as one cause of cellulite. While no one knows exactly what causes cellulite, there are several theories about how to get rid of it.
Drinking More Water
Your body is made up of about 60% water. According to the Mayo Clinic, water is essential for the functioning of every system in your body. It keeps your ear, nose and throat tissues moist, carries nutrients to your cells, and helps flush toxins from your vital organs. Even mild dehydration can force your body to try to hydrate itself by robbing water from your blood cells. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, this can make your blood thick and "sludgy", forcing your heart to work harder just to maintain vital functions.
Drinking plenty of water, at least 8 glasses, approximately 8 ounces each, keeps your systems functioning at peak performance with enough energy left over to flush out waste and stored toxins; including fat, and therefore cellulite.
Drinking Cold Water
Many websites and diet books will tell you that drinking ice water will help you burn fat, and thus shed cellulite. The jury is still mostly out on this, because there is definite evidence that drinking cool water requires the body to expend more energy, which it does by burning fat. According to Roger Clemens, DrPH (doctor of public health) at the USC School of Pharmacy, you'd need to drink about 435 8 oz. glasses of ice water to burn one pound of fat, which could be fatal; if not from water intoxication, then by dangerously lowering your core temperature. Still, when you are fighting to lose weight, any little advantage helps, and two or glasses of cool water a day won't hurt you.
Drinking Warm Water and Lemon
According to Theresa Cheung, author of "The Lemon Juice Diet", "Research seems to show that if your digestive system is not working correctly, healthy weight-loss is almost impossible." She also explains that recent research at Arizona State University suggests that people who eat a diet high in vitamin C "have more efficient digestive systems and are more likely to lose weight than those who don't." Anything which helps you burn fat is going to help reduce cellulite, which is just stored fat.
There are no clinical studies or even recorded anecdotal data claiming that simply drinking more water alone will have any effect in reducing cellulite. But making sure you drink plenty of water every day is a necessary part of an overall cellulite-fighting strategy that includes eating a healthy, low-fat diet and exercising consistently.