How Protein Helps to Beat Cellulite
Protein helps build muscles, boosts your metabolism, fills you up. Cellulite hates it!
Protein is a cellulite-sufferer’s friend for several reasons.
Firstly, because it can help you lose weight. Many experts believe that fat – plain, old fat – is the real cause of cellulite. More precisely, they say that cellulite is caused by pockets of fat bulging out from beneath your skin. And even if you’re slim elsewhere, you probably store fat on your bottom and thighs (most women do), and that’s where cellulite lurks. So shift some fat, and you’ll shift some cellulite.
Protein helps you lose pounds because it helps keep your blood sugar levels steady, which means you stay feeling fuller for longer. It also helps prevent sugar cravings, so you’ll be less likely to be tempted by that ice-cream sundae, cake or chocolate bar.
Secondly, protein also contains important amino acids that help produce fresh collagen, so it’s good for your skin – whether it’s on your face or your behind. Keeping your skin in great condition means your cellulite is less noticeable.
Protein also helps build muscle. By increasing your muscle mass, you’ll boost your metabolic rate, and your body will become more efficient at burning off calories.
Experts also say that proteins contain a substance called albumin, which helps absorb excess fluid in your tissues. Water retention around the thighs and bottom is another oft-quoted cause of cellulite. So if you tend to retain water, aim to eat optimum amounts of lean protein to help reduce water retention.
Oh, and protein’s also good for your brain function too. And if you eat enough of it, it’ll make you so sharp-witted, cerebral and brilliant that no one will notice your cellulite anyway.
So How Does Protein Help Beat Cellulite?
About 15-20% of your diet should come from proteins and we should aim to eat three portions a day. Women need about 45 g each day. If you consume a 2,000 calories-per-day diet, roughly 300 of those calories should come from protein. Use your plate as a gauge: divide it into three and imagine filling about a third with protein foods such as turkey, cottage cheese, fish and nuts.
Recent studies have shown that just by increasing your daily intake of protein to 25-30% you can lose several kilos. But don’t go overboard. High-protein diets may have been all the rage this millennium, but they come with heavy warnings from nutritionists as excessive intakes of protein can have adverse effects on your kidneys, your bones and your breath!
So if you want to increase your protein intake, make sure it doesn’t exceed 30% of your overall dietary intake. And also make sure you eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as cottage cheese and yoghurt, as some research suggests that diets rich in protein may prevent calcium loss from the bones.
A portion is about the size of your fist. That’s equivalent to 25g of nuts, about 50-75g cooked lean meat, fish or poultry, one egg or 100g cooked beans.
Here’s a guide to how much protein you get in different food sources:
155g lean rump steak 44g protein
85g lean roast chicken 26g protein
130g grilled cod steak 27g protein
boiled egg 8g protein
1 litre semi-skimmed milk 33g protein
150g low-fat yoghurt 7g protein
40g cheddar cheese 10g protein
200g tin baked beans 10g protein
30g peanuts 7g protein
• Amino acids Animal proteins such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy produce contain all the eight essential amino acids your body needs, but plant proteins (nuts, pulses, grains and seeds 1 lack some of these, so veggies and vegans should make sure they eat a variety of different protein sources each day.
• Calcium Dairy proteins – yoghurt, milk and cheese are the obvious sources.
• Omega-3 fatty acids Fish – particularly salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel and trout – is rich in these fatty acids, which are good for your skin.
• Fibre and vitamins Beans are a great source of low-fat protein, and are also rich in fibre and B vitamins. Nuts and seeds are rich in protein, fibre, minerals and vitamin E. Prawns are rich in the antioxidant selenium, vitamin B12 for healthy blood, and iodine for healthy thyroid function, plus they’re a tasty low-fat source of protein.
Soya products such as tofu are the only plant-based food equivalent to animal products in terms of protein quality. They’re packed with complex carbs and B vitamins, zinc, potassium, magnesium and iron. They’re also loaded with fibre and are rich in calcium. Soya products also contain isoflavones, which may protect you from certain cancers.
Q: What’s the best form of protein to keep the dimples down?
A: A healthy variety of sources is the best advice. But when it comes to keeping skin looking good and your weight down (which are both crucial for beating cellulite), oily fish is a top choice. It’s low in calories, but rich in omega-j fatty acids: these repair skin and help keep it elastic and firm.
Q: Should I avoid red meat? Is it bad for my cellulite?
A: Depends. Lean red meat is a great source of iron and zinc, and B vitamins, which are important for energy and growth. But if you eat lots of fatty red meat and processed foods such as sausages and bacon, you’ll almost certainly gain weight, and therefore make your cellulite worse. In fact one recent study found that vegetarians, vegans or semi-vegetarians were less likely to be obese than meat eaters. But you don’t have to give up red meat completely. Eat it once a week, and the rest of the time stick to low-fat proteins such as skinless chicken, beans, nuts or fish.