If you are reading this article, you are probably looking for a really functional way to combat cellulite formation and water retention. Where they come from? Are there really effective strategies to improve our appearance or to eliminate them? If these questions bother you, we want to reassure you: research agrees that these are problems that affect a large part of the female population (85-90%) and, although it is not possible to eliminate them completely, there are several ways to work. improve this aspect.
In order to improve, it is first of all important to understand the causes that lead to the formation of these imperfections, in order to be able to act at the root of the problem.
Very often behind imperfections such as cellulite and water retention are hidden alterations to the venous and lymphatic circulation. Let's see how these circulatory problems can arise and how we can counter them with the help of herbal medicines and natural extracts.
Circulation problems: the causes
Cellulite, like water retention, is a truly complex phenomenon, not yet fully defined. Often, at the basis of the onset of this disorder, we find various factors, some of which can be modified (i.e. those on which it is possible to act to reduce or eliminate cellulite) and others that cannot be modified (linked to genetic and hormonal causes). As introduced before, many times at the root of the development of cellulite there are alterations in the microcirculation, venous or lymphatic, often related to the lack of elasticity of the blood vessels themselves. These circulatory problems are also linked to various factors, modifiable or not:
- Genetic predisposition: the tendency to have cellulite and water retention is typical of the female sex, and can be transmitted from mother to daughter. Women are certainly more affected by the effect of estrogen hormones which can cause an accumulation of fat and fluids. This also leads to a lower exchange of waste produced by cellular metabolism from the level of the buttocks and hips, hypoxia and increased radical stress. Other elements that can unbalance hormones and circulation in women are puberty, pregnancy, menopause and the use of contraceptives. This phenomenon is also more characteristic of women who have a "pear" physical conformation, because they tend to accumulate fat right on the hips and thighs.
- Thyroid: certain imbalances can also originate from the malfunctioning of the thyroid, which has various effects on the metabolism and can favor the development of inflammation, further alterations and the formation of localized fat.
- Lifestyle: modifiable factor that clearly also affects the microcirculation. In fact, too sedentary habits and bad postures make circulation less efficient. When excess stress, poor eating habits, impaired sleep and smoking are added to this, it is likely that a situation of poor blood supply and oxygenation of the tissues is created, visually worsening the appearance of the tissue affected by the disorder.
- Tight- fitting clothes: another modifiable factor is the use of shoes, underwear and clothes that are too tight and tight. Per example, jeans that are too tight, compressing the thighs and stomach, slow down the lymphatic and venous circulation. Excessive use of high heels, favoring a stagnation of blood but also of lymphatic fluids, can also hinder venous return.
Why does cellulite form?
It doesn't take much to go from defective microcirculation to cellulite.
Cellulite is given by a generative process of the subcutaneous adipose panniculus, and is a multifactorial disorder due to the alteration of the adipose tissue located under the dermis and above the muscle bands. This fabric has a structure similar to polystyrene: many small spheres (the "adipocytes, fat cells) wrapped in a dense network of capillaries, whose walls are porous and permeable.
If the capillaries are healthy, the microcirculation will function properly. If, on the other hand, for various reasons the capillaries dilate, the pores located on the walls tend to open, and the blood serum (the aqueous part) escapes and is deposited between the adipocytes of the adipose tissue, thus forming an edema, or stagnation. of liquids which is the prerequisite for the appearance of cellulite.
The edema in turn causes an inflammatory process in the adipose tissue, causing the venous and lymphatic circulatory exchanges to worsen further. The area therefore becomes less and less oxygenated, thickens, and nodules and fibrousness are formed over time. In this way, the fat becomes "sclerotic" and hardens, thus transforming itself into real cellulite.
The three stages of cellulite
By "cellulite", also known as Ginoid Lipodystrophy or PEFS (Edematous Fibro Sclerotic Panniculopathy), we mean the aesthetic disturbance caused by the accumulation of fat in the subcutaneous layers accompanied by water retention, the stagnation of liquids due to poor blood circulation. It affects 80 to 90% of post-pubertal women, and can be considered both a physiological characteristic and a factor linked to metabolic or endocrine pathologies. In most cases, however, it is linked to hormonal equipment and an incorrect lifestyle.
Retention and, consequently, cellulite affect and weigh down above all buttocks, lower back, legs, knees and ankles, but may not be limited to these particular areas. Three stages of severity of cellulite can be distinguished, which are:
- Edematous Cellulite, or the "bearings": it is the initial stage, and there is a slight alteration of the microcirculation. The adipose tissue, however, is healthy and "intact", and the "orange peel" appearance is visible only if we go to "pinch" the skin of the affected area with the fingers.
- Fibrous Cellulite, the real "orange peel" skin: this is the second evolutionary phase of the disorder, and is characterized by a thickening of the connective tissue, which loses elasticity and fills with nodules, accompanied by swelling and a feeling of heaviness. In this case, when we go to squeeze the skin between the fingers, it appears rich in hard nodules, the tissue is cold (due to the lack of microcirculation) and is painful to the touch.
- Sclerotic Cellulite, the mattress skin: the last stage of cellulite, it is certainly the most difficult to treat and eliminate. The affected areas are visually altered, full of nodules and painful. In this phase, both lymphatic and blood circulation is reduced, as there is a sclerotization of the affected tissues and nerves, and can be accompanied by a more or less significant increase in body weight, especially if the phenomenon is accentuated by poor nutrition. The leather is soft and sagging, with evident hollows that give it the typical "mattress" appearance.
How and why it is important to prevent circulation problems
We have seen that cellulite is not only unsightly: it can cause pain and become a real annoyance, due to the constant feeling of heaviness in the legs and ankles.
It is therefore important to know the strategies useful to fight it, starting from improving the microcirculation and metabolic efficiency with physical activity. Furthermore, it is important to promote the recovery of the ideal weight through a healthy and balanced diet, but above all that it contrasts inflammation and fluid retention.
Fortunately, nature can come to our support, providing us with active microelements to be used as adjuvants for physical activity and targeted nutrition. These are phytoextracts able to improve capillary trophism, promote the drainage of stagnant liquids in the tissues and act in a targeted manner to improve microcirculation, thus reducing the inflammatory state and tissue suffering caused by poor oxygenation. Below, we will analyze these very important supports one by one.
Circulation and cellulite: supplements and natural remedies
To counteract microcirculation problems and cellulite it is possible to resort to completely natural remedies.
It is a flavonoid found in citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits), widely used in supplements to treat cellulite. Diosmin exerts a direct action on red blood cells in the microcirculation, reducing their rigidity and aggregation and promoting blood flow even in very small vessels. It is known to increase the resistance of the capillaries making them more elastic and less fragile, and it gives relief in case of swelling, heaviness in the legs, edema and varicose veins.
Most flavonoids such as diosmin are not completely absorbed by the body because they are not soluble enough; for this reason the new generation supplements use micronized technology, reducing the particle size of the active ingredient, making it more assimilable and effective. Diosmin, in addition to its antivaricose activity, also has anti-edematous and anti-inflammatory activity.
It is a bioflavonoid, and is extracted from Styphnolobium japonicum , but is also found in tea, coffee, cereals and some varieties of fruit and vegetables. It has a vasoprotective action that promotes microcirculation and capillary resistance and acts by improving the resistance of the capillaries and decreasing their permeability, thus preventing the liquid component of the blood from passing to the surrounding tissues (anti-waterproofing and anti-edema action). Its action also counteracts inflammatory processes and the release of free radicals.
Substance derived from the stem and pulp of the pineapple, bromelain effectively supports digestive functions and is a good adjuvant in the treatment of inflammatory states, as an antiplatelet agent, and to counteract cellulite. Bromelain helps improve circulation and drain water retention, reducing the inflammation associated with the alteration of adipocytes. Furthermore, being an enzyme with proteolytic activity (ie able to digest Protein) it has a digestive action, and has been shown to be able to reduce pain related to edema.
The delicious blueberries support microcirculation thanks to their content of anthocyanins, anti-inflammatory flavonoids responsible for both the blue-violet color and the antioxidant action . Anthocyanidins are released from anthocyanins, with vasoprotective properties both on venous and cardiac microcirculation. By improving circulation, blueberries are an excellent natural remedy for those suffering from water retention, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, all disorders related to circulatory problems of capillaries and small vessels. Several studies conducted on women suffering from varicose veins show that blueberry extract gives good results in counteracting swelling, pain, a sense of heaviness, improving the appearance of the skin and tingling. Furthermore, the tannins, present in the juice, are considered "scavengers" on toxins, helping us to cleanse ourselves of excess substances.
- Gotu Kola
Phytoactive that helps relieve heavy legs, derived from leaves, petioles and stolons of the respective plant, centella contains many microelements, essential oils, flavonoids, phytosterols, tannins, mineral salts and triterpene saponins, which make it an optimal natural remedy in the treatment of cellulite. Gotu kola helps to preserve the structure and tone of the blood vessel walls, strengthening the capillaries and making them more elastic, promoting peripheral circulation and giving relief to the legs in cases of venous insufficiency. It also helps reduce inflammatory states and improve collagen production, also improving the appearance of our skin.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are rich in bioactive substances, one of which is hesperidin, which is found in the white peel and under-peel of these fruits. Hesperidin boasts vasoprotective properties, which help prevent and counteract circulation disorders in the lower limbs, venous insufficiency and promote peripheral microcirculation, and is used for this by those suffering from varicose veins, venous stasis, potential phlebitis. It tones the veins, strengthens the capillaries and promotes circulation.
Have you ever tried any of these natural remedies? Tell us your experience in the comments.