Cranberry may be best known health-wise as a potent antioxidant supplier and as a preventative medicine for urinary tract infections, but some advocates of this bright red berry say it has another benefit that women will be especially interested in -- the ability to help fight cellulite. About eight out of 10 women have this "orange peel" skin, most often on the thighs, rear end and hips. You can use cranberry juice as a supplement, but be sure to consult a health care provider first.
Cranberry is an effective cellulite fighter because it helps emulsify fatty globules in your lymphatic system, helps to open detoxification pathways in your liver and, thanks to its flavonoids, improves the integrity of your connective tissue, says nationally known nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, author of “The Fat Flush Plan.” The organic acids in cranberry juice are responsible for its fat-emulsifying properties, notes Roberta Foss-Morgan, author of “What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Weight Loss.” Your cellulite appears because of fat cells that accumulate between the fibrous connective cords that connect your skin to your underlying muscle. These fat cells push up against your skin, while your long and tough connective cords pull down, creating an uneven surface.
Losing weight is one way to fight cellulite, notes Ohio State University. Cranberry may help minimize weight gain thanks to its antioxidant content, notes Ian Alexander Boswall, lead author for a study published in the April 2009 “Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.” Boswall found that mice that took cranberry supplements and were fed a high-fat diet gained less weight and put on less white fat than their counterparts who were fed an identical diet minus the supplements. While these results seem promising, study is needed in humans to see if you’d enjoy the same results. Also, weight loss is unlikely to entirely eliminate your cellulite, note the experts at OSU, as even slim people have it. OSU notes that regular exercise coupled with weight loss is your best bet for fighting cellulite, due to the fact that you’ll have fewer fat cells and strengthened muscles in cellulite-prone areas.
Gittleman and Foss-Morgan both advise using unsweetened cranberry juice instead of juice cocktail, juice blends or the sweetened variety of cranberry. Combining it with water, to create “cran-water” is especially effective, both authors say. In “The Fat Flush Plan,” Gittleman advises drinking 64 ounces of cran-water along with 48 ounces of plain water daily while you are fat flushing. Gittleman’s cran-water recipe calls for adding 8 ounces of cranberry to 64 ounces of water, or a one-to-eight ratio of cranberry juice to water.
While Gittleman advises using up to 8 ounces cranberry juice a day to fight cellulite, a typical supplemental dose is 3 ounces or more of the juice daily. You can also choose whole cranberries or supplements. A typical supplemental dose of frozen or fresh cranberries is 1.5 ounces. If supplementing, a typical dose is six capsules that contain 300 to 400 milligrams per day in divided doses, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.
Cranberry juice or cranberry supplements generally are considered safe, meaning there are no serious side effects, but you need to be careful if you have kidney stones, advises University of Maryland Medical Center. Cranberry has high levels of oxalates, which are chemicals that can increase your risk for kidney stones. Consult a doctor before drinking large amounts of cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements to fight cellulite if you have kidney stones.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cranberry
- Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: Consumption of Cranberry Reduces Weight Gain in Mice Fed High Fat Diets; Ian Alexander Boswall et al.
- The Fat Flush Plan; Ann Louise Gittleman
- Before the Change; Ann Louise Gittleman
- The Fast Track Detox Diet; Ann Louise Gittleman