Which foods fight cellulite?

Whenever I'm on a plane or at a party and people find out I'm a nutritionist, I tend to get bombarded with questions (I don't mind a bit, I love this stuff and could talk about it for hours on end).

One question that comes up a lot, especially this time of year, is, "Are they any foods that get rid of cellulite?" I WISH I could definitively say yes (I'd be the hero of women everywhere!) but cellulite is mostly related to how you rolled the dice genetically. Even ultra thin models and super fit women can have it (believe me, both types have been my clients -- did I just make your day?), and no diet can completely eradicate it.

That said, there are a few dietary strategies that may help. The first is to shrink your fat cells. Cellulite is essentially the appearance of fat underneath your skin. It "shows" because fat cells are round, so they will always look somewhat bumpy when visible, even when they're small. Some people are lucky enough to have a thick layer of connective tissue covering the fat, which masks the bumps, while others have a wimpy layer that reveals them (this explains why even heavier men rarely have "cottage cheese" legs when they sit down -- guys have thicker tissue, so unfair!).

As fat cells grow in size, the width of the "valley" between the bumps expands (think of the surface atop a layer of loose grapes -- now imagine they're apricots). You're basically stuck with the type of connective tissue you were born with, but shrinking your fat cells can lessen the severity of cellulite.

Strategy number two: stay hydrated. Some experts believe that plump, well-hydrated skin can camouflage the appearance of cellulite (it could also be that dehydrated skin worsens it). In either case, aiming for about eight 8-ounce cups of water each day isn't a bad idea.

And finally, eat skin-friendly foods. Skin takes a lot of wear and tear, and cells slough off constantly. You're continuously repairing skin cells and regenerating new ones. And like every cell in your body, your skin is knitted from the nutrients you eat.

Keep it in tip top shape by choosing foods filled with the vitamins and minerals that "do the job" -- almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and avocados (for healthy fats and vitamin E), citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries (rich in vitamin C), carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, apricots, papaya, and mango (for vitamin A), beans and lentils (for protein), and water-rich produce like melon, grapes, greens, and cucumbers for fluid.

Simple skin-nourishing dishes include: a taco salad made with greens, black beans, salsa, peppers, and avocado; spinach salad tossed with strawberries and walnuts; fruit salad sprinkled with slivered almonds; and lentil soup alongside a garden salad topped with carrots, cucumbers, and sunflower seeds -- yummy!

If none of these strategies works, try to focus on loving your body despite its lumps and bumps. As corny as it sounds, I do recommend writing a love letter to your body once in a while. Thank it for all the things it can do that have absolutely nothing to do with the way you look -- when you really sit down and focus on this question, you may be amazed at what you think of!

What's your take on this topic? Please share!

More Ways to Fight Cellulite:
Discover the Cellulite Cure
Join the Get Healthy for Summer Challenge

Register to Walk a Full or Half Marathon