Cellulite and varicose veins are two of the biggest culprits in why women are afraid to wear shorts in the summertime. These problems can lead to self-esteem issues and generally indicate that something is going wrong internally.
Cellulite is lumpy, “orange-peel” looking skin that is a common concern, mainly in women. Statistics show that approximately 90% of women older than twenty (whether they are thin, normal-weight or overweight) have cellulite. This is predominantly a female problem due to the fact that their fat layer is organized differently than men’s. This condition causes dimpling in the skin, and is generally found around the thighs and buttocks. Cellulite develops in steps but starts with damage to the lymphatic system, the drainage system in your fat cells. This can be due to excessive or inactivity, poor diet (esp. low protein) and digestion, toxic accumulation and overloaded liver, stress, hormone imbalances, aging, yo-yo weight loss/gain, etc. Note that estrogen imbalance is thought to be a core culprit that causes cellulite to build up around the fat cells and restrict lymphatic drainage and blood flow. A poorly functioning lymphatic system means more fat deposits and more cellulite. Since fat, toxins, and other waste products are transported via lymph fluid, this system needs to be functioning well. With excessive toxins in the body, this transport system slows down and backs up the system. When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish, it triggers even more fat deposits under the skin. Essentially, “cellulite is an external reflection of an internal dysfunction” (Dr. Sara Celik, N.D).
Varicose veins are lumpy, bulging blue veins in the legs. Women get them four times as often as men. Veins have little valves on the inner walls of the vessel to prevent blood from flowing backwards, towards the arteries. These valves can become dysfunctional due to damage to the vein walls. When this occurs, it prevents proper circulation and blood pools in the veins. This extra fluid causes the veins to stretch and bulge. When the veins get sluggish, the legs can feel tight, heavy, restless, and there can be aches, cramps and swelling. Veins are fragile and pressure can be caused by obesity, smoking, pregnancy, and occupational environment (too much standing, sitting or heavy lifting). Other potential factors are constipation, heart or liver disease, Vitamin C deficiency, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and of course, genetics.
Here are 10 tips for lovely legs this summer!
- Stay Hydrated!
- Whole Body Detox! (i.e. liver/colon/lymphatic system) – Ask about cleansing supplements and incorporate natural methods such as baths, saunas, dry skin brushing, massage, etc.
- De-Stress! Try stress management techniques and ensure good quality sleep.
- Alkalize! Processed and refined foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, dairy, and coffee can create or aggravate the problem. Look for mineral-rich, alkalizing ingredients.
- Get Moving! Take part in regular moderate exercising and attain a healthy weight.
- Avoid Triggers! Quit smoking, prevent constipation, improve digestion, balance blood sugar levels, and minimize toxins in food/environment/products.
- Eat Well! Ensure adequate protein and fibre intake, be aware of food allergies, and consider a multivitamin, omega and probiotic supplement (“Prevention Pack Trio”).
- Balance Estrogens! Consider a natural hormone support formula.
- More Tips:
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. When sitting try to flex leg muscles, wiggle toes and do not cross legs.
- Raise legs above heart for 20 minutes daily.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Do not scratch itchy veins.
- Consider hydrotherapy.
- Topical Ingredients– apply witch hazel, aloe vera or castor oil.
- Supplement Suggestions
- Gotu Kola – enhances integrity of connective tissue and increases blood flow.
- Vitamin C + Bioflavonoids – improves integrity of capillaries and veins, protects collagen from damage in veins, and is a potent antioxidant. Aids circulation and maintains strength of blood vessels!
- Vitamin E- improves circulation and aids in preventing heavy feelings in legs.
- Cayenne - expands blood vessels, reducing stress on capillaries.
- COQ10- improves tissue oxygenation and increases circulation.
- Pycnogenol – protect tissue from damage, stimulates blood circulation, and strengthens connective tissue.
- L-Carnitine – promotes circulation in the legs, aids the breakdown of waste products and improves the fluidity of the blood, thus reducing deposits.
- Diosmin - used as a vein tonic and vein-protective agent. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is derived by extracting hesperidin from citrus rinds, followed by the conversion of hesperidin to diosmin.
- Horse Chestnut Extract - aescin, the active ingredient in horse chestnut, tones the walls of the veins, improving the flow of blood back to the heart.
- Butcher's Broom - acts on lymphatic drainage, the constriction of blood vessels and microcirculation. When used in combination with the other ingredients, it also improves the strength of veins and reduces permeability.
- Hesperidin - the main flavonoid in lemons and oranges. Hesperidin reduces the permeability of the capillaries and is an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Silica – an essential element required for the normal growth, development and integrity of connective tissue.
- Bromelain – anti-inflammatory, prevents hard lumpy skin around bulging varicose veins.
-This column is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -