By Merritt Watts
Now that you’ve sweated your way to a tighter bod, make some tiny adjustments to your supermarket list. “Including specific foods that hydrate skin, build collagen and prevent fat storage in your healthy diet may help keep cellulite at bay,” says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., a spokeswoman in Sarasota, Florida, for the American Dietetic Association. Follow these three food rules for smoother skin and a sleeker you.
“Anytime the skin is well hydrated, it will look suppler and healthier,” says Lona Sandon, R.D., a spokeswoman in Dallas for the American Dietetic Association. On your tush, thighs and other spots prone to cellulite, a thicker, plumper skin layer will better cover the fat cells underneath. Aim for about 8 1/2 cups of water per day, Sandon suggests. Count the water that’s in your glass, but focus as well on what you put on your plate. Don’t love to chug? Foods that contain large amounts of H2O can help you reach your daily goal. Not only can snacking on these hydrating eats help you look sleek, but you’ll trim down, too! Women who took in more fluid from water-rich foods, such as apples, grapes and cucumber, had a smaller waist and a lower body-mass index than those who took in fluids from beverages, a study in the journalNutrition reports. Get snacking!
Pick bright bites
Colorful veggies are loaded with vitamin C, which is essential to preventing collagen breakdown, Sandon says. Collagen is the skin’s support structure; as shown in the diagram on page 145, strands of the tissue running through fat attach skin to the underlying muscle layer. When these strands weaken, skin loses elasticity and fat can pop up and bulge against the skin, rendering the bumpy layer underneath even more visible. (Beach bum alert: Excessive sun exposure also contributes to collagen breakdown.) Vitamin C is linked to collagen synthesis, Gerbstadt says. What’s more, research from Arizona State University at Mesa suggests the super vitamin can help you blast up to 30 percent more fat during exercise. Aim for at least 75 milligrams of C daily.
Go for wholes
Refined grains such as sugary cereal, white bread and white rice are converted into blood sugar (glucose) so quickly that they send your insulin skyrocketing. The postmeal insulin spike signals the body that it should store fat rather than burn it. All this new and excess fat makes cells full, so they’re even more apt than usual to push through connective tissue and look lumpy. Avoid refined carbohydrates and stick to healthy whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal and popcorn, which won’t take you on a blood sugar roller coaster. Bonus: They also have more filling fiber—which means no drastic insulin jump and thus less fat packed onto your hips—to help you eat less overall. Get at least half of your six daily servings of carbs from whole-grain sources.
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