At-Home Spa Day Plan
November 3rd is national housewives day, so in celebration of all you hardworking housewives out there, we are doing a post in your honour. Often under-appreciated, the role of a housewife or ‘stay-at-home Mum (or Dad!)’, is a busy and stressful role, so we think you deserve a day off to pamper yourselves. With this in mind, I have designed a home spa day just for you!
All you need is an entire day to yourself with no interruptions (turn the mobile to silent!), some delicious food and a few other ingredients for your homemade face and hair masks. For the fraction of the price of a fancy spa, you can create that sense of inner bliss from the comfort of your own home.
Your Home Spa Morning
Start the day with a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey. This will rehydrate your body after sleeping, stimulate your digestive system and have a cleansing effect on the body.
Tip: never add honey to boiling hot water, as this will kill the live beneficial enzymes.
Make yourself a delicious, healthy breakfast. I would recommend porridge or poached eggs on rye toast with spinach, as warm foods are comforting now the weather is cooling down.
Here is an indulgent yet super healthy porridge recipe:
Carrot Cake Porridge
40g porridge oats
200 ml almond or coconut milk
1 small grated carrot
1 dsp raisins
¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp grated nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch pink salt
2-3 walnut halves
1 dsp coconut chips or desiccated coconut
Drizzle of maple syrup (optional)
Simply put everything in a pan, cook until creamy and then add the toppings.
Home Spa Preparation
First you are going to make your homemade face mask and conditioning hair mask. This is very easy and will only take 10 minutes.
Your DIY face mask contains hydrating avocado and skin conditioning coconut oil to give you soft, supple and glowing skin. If you decide to use the Aloe vera gel, this will provide further moisturisation, along with being very calming and soothing, helping to reduce any inflammation. Honey has natural antibacterial properties.
Here is the recipe
Avocado Moisturising Face Mask
½ very ripe avocado
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Aloe Vera gel (optional)
1 tsp coconut oil
Mash the avocado well, stir in the other ingredients.
Next, make your conditioning DIY hair mask by following the recipe below. Avocado and coconut oil are moisturising and conditioning, while the protein in the eggs helps repair damaged hair and nourishes hair roots. The apple cider vinegar has a clarifying effect on your hair.
Conditioning Hair Mask
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ ripe avocado
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Gently melt the coconut oil, allow to cool. Beat the egg, mash the avocado well and then mix everything together.
Before you apply the masks, use a natural bristled brush all over your body to stimulate circulation and blood flow, and to give your skin a gentle exfoliation. Dry skin brushing aids toxin removal, reduces cellulite and improves the appearance of your skin. Start with the legs and buttocks working upwards, then the arms and then the torso, always brushing towards the direction of the heart, as this is the direction your blood flows.
Now, apply your face and hair masks and treat yourself to a long soak in the bath while they work their magic. The hair mask should be applied to dry hair, as this will allow it to penetrate more deeply into the hair. I suggest tying hair up and covering it with a plastic shower cap. Add some uplifting essential oils to your bath, such as orange, lime and basil or some Epsom salts if you have any aches and pains.
‘Tip: avoid bath products containing chemicals or artificial fragrances, as these will be absorbed through your open pores.
Your Home Spa Lunch Time
Make yourself a large colourful superfood salad with mixed leaves, beetroot, sliced apple, grated carrot, avocado and some sunflower and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top. Make a dressing with 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, ½ tbsp lemon juice, black pepper and a pinch of pink salt.
Go For a Walk
After lunch, go for a gentle walk somewhere you will feel at peace if possible. Exercise lifts your mood, melts away stress and increases circulation.
Have a massage
If you can get someone to come to your home and give you a massage then do! Alternatively, the cheaper option is self-massage which is a daily practice recommended in the ancient Indian medicine of Ayurveda. Using a natural oil such as sesame oil, massage all over your body in a similar pattern to the dry skin brushing above. You can also massage your face and scalp if you’d like to.
Meditation is scientifically proven to improve sleep and reduce stress levels and regular meditation also helps weight loss and even increases business success and creativity! Try 20 minutes and feel the benefits for yourself. Here is a simple breathing meditation to try, or you can use your own technique if you have one.
- Sit in a chair or cross legged on the floor, making sure you are comfortable
- Bring your attention to your breath, observing it as it enters and leaves your body.
- If any thoughts come into your mind and distract you, allow them to float away. It can be helpful to visualise them floating up and away in to the sky like clouds.
- Then gently bring the attention back to the breath and repeat each time your mind wanders.
- Continue for 20 minutes
After your mediation curl up with your favourite book, watch a funny film or give yourself a manicure before dinner.
Your Home Spa Evening
Prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep by eating at least 3 hours before bed – to allow enough time to digest the meal before you go to sleep – this improves sleep quality and energy the next day.
For dinner, prepare a baked salmon fillet with lemon, garlic and coriander, quinoa or brown rice, and serve with some green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
Sleep is when all of our cellular repair and re-energising takes place. For the best quality sleep, aim to be in bed by 10pm. To aid restful sleep avoid technology for an hour before bedtime and remove electronic devices from the bedroom.
Summer is finally here and the warm weather opens up the possibility of getting out of the gym and taking your workout outside. The great thing about summer is that you can exercise virtually anywhere and for free! Exercising outdoors has been shown to boost energy, improve wellbeing and reduce stress even more than doing it inside. Other bonuses are that you will be stimulating vitamin D production and the natural daylight is good for your mood and regulating your sleep cycle. Here are some ideas, inspiration and tips on ways to keep fit this summer.
Summer Fitness meets Rooftop Yoga
One of the best things about yoga is that it can be done virtually anywhere. This summer, rooftops across London are hosting special rooftop yoga classes with amazing views from your matt. The Shard offers classes on Saturday mornings, Triyoga are doing classes on the roof of Selfridges on Tuesdays until September 1st and there are various other locations across the city. Some of the venues also have juice bars for a healthy post-exercise rehydration. Not in London? Try doing some yoga on the beach, in a field or your garden.
Summer fitness always includes swimming
The perfect summer exercise and way to cool down at the same time! Swimming gives you a full-body workout, using all muscles of the body. It is excellent for toning as the water provides a natural resistance, similar to lifting light weights at the gym, but with a more even distribution of the weight. It’s perfect for anyone with joint problems, as the water prevents the shock impact that you get from running and other types of exercise and there is a much lower chance of injury than with weight lifting or running. Being in the water is also soothing and good for easing backache and muscular aches and pains. It is also very relaxing and stimulates production of the feel-good chemicals endorphins. With all these amazing benefits, what are you waiting for? Dig out your cossie and dive in!
Walking, hiking and running
Walking, hiking and running are really enjoyable at this time of year, they don’t cost you anything and are a great way to see the countryside or explore your city. This kind of cardiovascular exercise is fantastic for burning calories and toning your legs and bottom at the same time. Other health benefits include lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure and disease risk, keeping your brain healthy, improving mood and wellbeing and increasing your energy levels. The other advantage is that you can go at your own pace; if you are unfit, just start with a gentle walk and if you want to start running eventually you can build up to it. Starting with intervals of 1 minute jogging followed by 2 minutes walking is a good way to start of you are new to running. Using a pedometer or fitness tracker to track your progress is motivational. You are aiming to do 10 thousand steps per day, which burns around an extra 400 calories.
Summer is meant for Games
Whether its beach ball, tennis, Frisbee or even building sandcastles, do some activities that are fun this summer and get friends and family to join in. This way you are working out without it being an effort and having fun at the same time. Buddying up with a friend has the same effects, you hardly notice the 5K you have walked when you are gossiping on the way round! With the average weight gain on a 2-week holiday at a whopping 8lbs, why not buck the trend and book an active holiday this year. Whether it’s walking through the hills of Tuscany, a yoga retreat in Ibiza or learning to surf in Cornwall, an active holiday means you won’t spend the months after you return on a diet. These kind of holidays are also fun and a great way to meet people – perfect for single travellers.
Tips for Working out in Summer
- Stay hydrated – you will lose more water in the hot water and it is important to replace this, so drink up
- Get your diet right – weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise so if you are trying to drop pounds, you’ve got to get your nutrition right (see below).
- Having a cold shower before your workout may enhance your performance, according to a German study
- Wearing a heart rate monitor can be a useful way to monitor that you are not over-doing it in the heat
- Snack on fruit – they provide healthy, natural fruit sugars to fuel your workout plus lots of water to hydrate the body.
- Always wear sunscreen when exercising outdoors, to protect your skin from UV damage and premature ageing.
- Eat regularly – this is essential! Regular meals regulate your appetite and metabolism and reduce the chances of over-eating.
- Eat at least 7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to fill you up
- Don’t avoid carbs! But choose the right ones – quinoa, rye bread, sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, pulses and buckwheat are the best.
- Switch your meal pattern so that you eat a little more at breakfast and lunch and a little less at dinner – you will find your appetite adjusts accordingly.
- Protein keeps you full so include some every meal, especially breakfast, which tends to be carb-based. Try eggs (proven to make you eat less over the day), yoghurt, and nuts and seeds on your porridge.
During this time of the year we only think about one thing: holidays. Have you already decided where are you going this summer? This week we propose five destinations, one for each beauty drink —depending on the needs of your skin— to go with you on your well-deserved rest.
Towering mountains, vast deserts, endless skies, New Zealand is the perfect destination for adventurers. Nicknamed the ‘Home of Middle Earth’ after Lord of The Rings was filmed there, its magical scenery includes golden planes, snow-capped mountain peaks, enchanting valleys, waterfalls, babbling brooks and vast forests. All of this provides the perfect opportunity for exploring, walking and hiking. For the more adventurous, New Zealand offers a wide range of sports and extreme sports including bungee jumping, rafting, skiing, caving and skydiving.
With all this action, your perfect ally will be Beauty & Go Vitality, which gives you and your skin a natural energy boost. It contains energising guarana, which has natural stimulating properties. It also contains coenzyme Q10 and Ginkgo biloba that helps keep your mind alert. In addition, it includes baobab along with the essential B vitamins, which are used by the body to make energy.
New York, New York, the perfect destination for partying, theatre, restaurants and shopping till you drop! Whether it’s the famous department stores, the designer shops on 5th Avenue or the trendy boutiques of the meatpacking district, New York offers shops to suit all tastes and budgets. The trendy district of Greenwich Village is definitely worth a visit. This bohemian area offers quirky independent restaurants, bars, boutiques and a diverse nightlife including comedy venues, jazz bars, gigs and nightclubs. Visiting a rooftop bar is a great way to take in the spectacular views of the city.
Your perfect partner for all that shopping and partying in New York is Beauty & Go Detox, just what you need ‘the morning after’. It contains spirulina, a rich source of chlorophyll, a potent detoxifier and blood cleanser. Dandelion supports liver function, and helps to flush out water retention from the body. Cucumber is a super hydrator and helps regulate fluid-balance, reducing water retention, bloating and ‘puffiness’. Artichoke benefits digestion, stimulates liver function and can help relieve indigestion and bloating.
The Polynesian Triangle includes some of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world, such as Hawaii, Bora Bora, Fiji, Tahiti and Easter Island. Hawaii itself is made up of more than 100 islands and is one of the most well known locations here. The tropical climate ensures good weather all year round, and the beautiful beaches make it the perfect place to top up your tan or go surfing. Hawaii is known for the aloha spirit, creating a warm and welcoming environment. Watching or even learning hula dancing is a must-do while there! Easter Island offers a rich cultural heritage, protected by UNESCO including the iconic moai – huge monolithic figures carved by the Rapa Nui people thousands of years ago.
Your perfect partner for all that tropical weather is Beauty & Go Summer Skin.
Rich in antioxidants and MacroAntioxidants, which act in a similar (but weaker) way to sunscreen – when the sun’s rays hit the skin, antioxidants move upwards and form a protective shield to provide protection against sun damage. Vitamin A is included for new skin cell formation and vitamin E helps skin retain moisture. Beta-carotenes from carrots and green tea help build up natural protection against the sun due to their powerful antioxidant effects and aloe vera is well known for its soothing effects on sunburn.
With 7491 km of coastline, Brazil has many beaches to choose from, perhaps the most well know being Ipanema and Copacabana in the capital Rio de Janeiro. Here you will find the beautiful glamorous people of Brazil, especially in Station 9 of Ipanema beach, which is a real hot spot. There are also plenty of bars, restaurants and shops in this area, as well as a great nightlife. The Carnival festivals are another iconic sight, with their flamboyant costumes, parade floats and samba dancers.
Don’t forget to pack your Beauty & Go Skin Revive! It contains pomegranates which contain punicalagins, powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects and raspberry, a source of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that protects the skin against ageing. Resveratrol has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Selenium is needed for the body’s own protection against oxidative stress, can help protect against age spots and is great for hair and nails. Vitamin E helps skin retain moisture.
Located in central Italy, this region has a lot to offer including beautiful countryside and beaches, rich artistic heritage, wonderful cities and some of the best food and wine in the world. The stunning landscapes of Tuscany make it a popular destination for walking and cycling holidays, which are a perfect way to stay fit on holiday while soaking up the scenery. Being the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany is also a great destination for art lovers because there is a multitude of things to see.
Beauty & Go Skin Brilliance is your perfect travel companion to keep you looking and feeling radiant during your trip. Like all the Beauty & Go range, it contains collagen to help improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Hyaluronic acid support skin’s structure, helps maintain elasticity and suppleness of skin. Red grape is included for its highly powerful antioxidant effects along with aloe vera, which has soothing anti-inflammatory effects and is very hydrating. Rosehip contains 50% more vitamin C than oranges, and is a potent antioxidant. Vitamin A is needed for new skin cell formation and keeps skin firm and resistant to damage. Staying well hydrated, including essential fats from and staying active will also help keep your skin looking radiant on holiday.
Traditionally a nation of tea lovers, and now just as fond of our coffee, most of us kick-start our mornings with a hot brew. In fact, in the UK we drink 165 million cups of tea per day and 70 million cups of coffee! But how much (if any) caffeine is too much? And are tea and coffee are good or bad for you? This week I’m going to answer these questions and give you the facts on caffeine and your favourite drinks.
Caffeine – The Facts
Caffeine is a drug, its effects include boosting alertness, mental clarity and focus and improving our mood, helping us feel like we can take on the day. It does this by stimulating the central nervous system, blocking the action of adenosine, a chemical that makes us feel drowsy and sleepy. When it wears off however, the opposite effects can be experienced – lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and feeling low. This often prompts us to reach for a second cup, and then a third, a fourth and so on… Like any drug, caffeine has the capacity to be addictive and tolerance will build up over time meaning that you have to drink more to get the same ‘buzz’.
The effects of too much caffeine can be unpleasant including sleep problems, anxiety, nervousness, shaking, headaches, nausea, appetite changes and heart rhythm disturbances. In the long run, relying on caffeine to fuel you through the day tends to drain your body’s natural energy. Another affect of caffeine is that it is a diuretic, meaning that it makes us go to the loo and lose water from the body, which can lead to dehydration.
On the other hand, caffeine and tea and coffee consumption in moderation have been linked to several health benefits. Caffeine can be useful for increasing cognitive function, co-ordination and exercise performance in certain circumstances. There is also evidence that moderate consumption can reduce the risk of some diseases, including protecting the brain and cardiovascular system. Coffee and tea both come from plants and are a rich source of antioxidants, plus they contain vitamins and minerals, as well as being completely natural.
Black, green and white teas may taste different but they actually come from the same plant, camellia sinensis. The difference is due to the way the leaves are harvested and processed. Black tea is allowed to oxidise slightly, which increases the caffeine content as well as bringing out the richer flavour. Black tea is a good source of antioxidants along with folate, magnesium, fluoride and phosphorous. It also contains theaflavin, an antioxidant that lowers cholesterol levels (1) and encourages alpha (relaxing) brain waves – the reason that a ‘nice cup of tea’ has soothing effects, while at the same time the caffeine provides a ‘pick-me-up’.
Both green and white teas contain the powerful antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), which has been shown to have many health benefits. Green tea is one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet, being one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants. Its well-studied health benefits include lowering cholesterol, helping weight loss by increasing energy burning and reducing fat digestion (2), protecting the heart, lowering the risk of several diseases, protection against the flu and even against sun damage to the skin. Green and white teas are less processed, higher in antioxidants and generally lower in caffeine than black teas, making them the healthier choice.
Coffee contains the antioxidants chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, which have several beneficial and protective effects in the body. Coffee also contains folate, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.
Moderate consumption of 2-4 cups has been shown in various studies to help keep the heart healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease and possibly type 2 diabetes (3). A protective effect against diseases involving cognitive decline in the elderly has also been found. Coffee may also help keep the digestive system healthy as the different antioxidants it contains help protect the digestive system against disease (4). Compounds called melanoidins are believed to encourage colon motility and anything that helps things ‘move more quickly’ is health enhancing. These health benefits are seen even with decaffeinated coffee, so it is not the caffeine causing them.
Green Coffee is ‘raw’ coffee that hasn’t been roasted, the roasting process turns coffee beans brown and gives its characteristic flavour. Green coffee contains the beneficial compounds such as chlorogenic acid, but without the caffeine. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure, balance blood sugar levels and may even help people lose weight when on a diet (5-9).
A typical coffee shop coffee can be high in calories, caffeine, fat and sugar due to what comes with it – lots of full-fat milk, extra shots and sugar-laden syrups for example. The best options are therefore either black coffee or a small cappuccino with skimmed, almond or soya milk and no sugar, syrup, cream, flavourings or other add-ins. If you simply love the taste of coffee decaf is a good option, just check with your barista that the decaf they use has been processed by the natural water-extraction process as opposed to using chemicals.
Espresso Shot 80mg
Cup Instant Coffee 100mg
Cup Black tea 50-80mg
Can of Red Bull 80mg
Can of Coke 30mg
Cup Green Tea 20-60mg
Cup Filter Coffee 120mg
These figures are averages but can vary quite a bit depending on variety, brewing methods etc.
Like most things in life, balance is key where caffeine is concerned. In small amounts caffeine is fine for some people, but certainly too much will cause problems.
One of the issues is that caffeine affects everyone differently. Body size, physiology, metabolism, stress levels and how much you have eaten can all affect your reaction. This makes it hard to set safe or recommended guidelines. The Department of Health advises people not to drink more than five single espressos a day. For optimum health and energy however, I would recommend no more than 1 to 2 coffees or black teas per day. With green tea you can have more, up to about 4 or 5.
If you love your coffee, have the best quality you can, avoid instant coffee and stick to freshly ground. Decaffeinated coffee will give you the same taste and social ritual without the other effects.
Drinking an extra glass of water for every tea or coffee drunk is advisable to counteract the dehydrating effects. It is best not to drink caffeine first thing on an empty stomach and to avoid it after about 3pm to prevent sleep disturbances.
Stay away from sugar-laden energy drinks and colas and supplements containing caffeine, which can contain very high amounts. People who should avoid caffeine completely are pregnant women, anyone suffering from sleep problems or chronic fatigue and anyone with anxiety problems, as caffeine has been shown to make anxiety worse.
Cutting out caffeine suddenly can lead to ‘withdrawal’ symptoms such as extreme fatigue and drowsiness, headaches, irritability and low mood, so is not advisable. Luckily the symptoms are usually short-lived, usually lasting only a few days. If you want to reduce or cut out caffeine, do it gradually to avoid symptoms. I recommend reducing by one drink per week and if you do experience problems you can have a green tea or Beauty & Go Vitality to help you through any difficult moments. Beauty & Go Vitality contains green tea for a natural energy boost, along with other energising ingredients guarana, Ginkgo biloba, coenzyme Q10 and B vitamins to support natural energy production in the body.
1. Stensvold I, Tverdal A, Solvoll K, et al. Tea consumption. Relationship to cholesterol, blood pressure, and coronary and total mortality. Prev Med 1992;21:546-53.
2. Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity 2007;15:1473-83.
3. Huxley R, Lee CM, Barzi F, et al. Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:2053-63 [review].
4. Schmit, SL, Rennert HS, Rennert G, and Gruber SB. Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev April 2016 25; 634
5. Kozuma K, Tsuchiya S, Kohori J, et al. Antihypertensive effect of green coffee bean extract on mildly hypertensive subjects. Hypertens Res 2005;28:711-8.
6. Watanabe T, Arai Y, Mitsui Y, et al. The blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertension. Clin Exp Hypertens 2006;28:439-49.
7. Thom E. The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when used long-term in overweight and obese people J Int Med Res 2007;35:900-8.
8. Dellalibera O. Lemaire B, Lafay S. Svetol, green coffee extract, induces weight loss and increases the lean to fat mass ratio in volunteers with overweight problem. Phytotherapie 2006;4:194-7.
9. Vinson JA, Burnham BR, Nagendran MV. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 2012;5:21-7.
Once believed to be mainly down to our genes, scientists now know that 75% of ageing is down to our lifestyles, with only 25% determined by genetics. This is good news, as it empowers us! It means that we have much more influence over the ageing process than previously thought. Lets have a look at the measures you can take to help yourself grow old more gracefully.
Stress along with smoking and being overweight are the top three factors that affect how quickly we age. Avoiding stress altogether is not realistic, but anything that can help us deal with it better will have anti-ageing benefits. Meditation is proven to lower stress hormone levels, while increasing production of happy chemical serotonin and sleep hormone melatonin, leading to happier days and more restful nights. Regular meditation brings the body into a beneficial state of balance and harmony. In this state cellular healing and repair can take place and the harmful effects of stress on the body will dissipate. For more information on the benefits of meditation click here.
Think As If You’re Still 20 Years Old
In the 1980s scientist Ellen Langer carried out some interesting research involving a group of 75-year-old men who were asked to dress, talk and act like they were 20 years younger. Amazing things happened! After just one week there were improvements in their strength, flexibility, posture, memory and even eyesight and hearing. Tell yourself every morning in front of the mirror that you are young and full of vitality and see the benefits for yourself.
Try New Things
We tend to fall into routines as we get older and get ‘set in our ways’. Trying new things, taking risks and pushing boundaries are proven to keep the mind working and to increase well being. Learning a new skill actually changes the structure of the brain, helping it to form new connections between cells and resulting in better functioning. Learning a musical instrument or a language are particularly good at stimulating new brain connections.
This also applies to your diet as eating the same foods every day means you are more likely to miss out on key nutrients; variety is one of the cornerstones of a balanced diet. Try picking up one new healthy food (fruit, vegetable, pulse, nut, seed or wholegrain) each week in your weekly shop.
Staying active is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind healthy and to prevent weight gain and muscle loss. Muscle mass reduces as we age – the muscles literally shrink from the age of 30 onwards and are replaced by fat. Dancing is one of the best ways to reduce this effect and way more fun than the gym! Dancing also improves flexibility and balance, both important factors to maintain as we get older. Yoga is also fantastic as it increases strength, agility and balance as well as reducing stress and having anti-ageing effects on a cellular level.
Exercise also keeps the mind healthy; people over 65 who take regular moderate exercise reduce their risk of dementia by a third. From the age of 40 onwards there is a natural shrinkage of the brain, and by the age of 70 it has reduced by whopping 20%. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to help slow this down. Daily walking has been shown to increase neurone survival and growth of new neurones in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain related to memory and learning. So dig those trainers out and get outside!
One of the most anti-ageing things you can do is to get a good night’s sleep. Collagen production takes place when we are asleep, rebuilding and repairing body tissues such as skin, muscle and bones. In fact, the majority of cellular healing and repair in general takes place while we are sleeping, so is vital for good health. Sleep deprivation is known to impair insulin sensitivity and increase blood sugar levels leading to the formation of AGE (advanced glycation end products) in the body, which are substances that accelerate cellular ageing. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! For more information and tips on getting a good night’s sleep, click here.
Look after your Telomeres
Telomeres are the end caps of DNA, which get shorter as we age leading to cellular ageing. A 2014 study found that curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric may help prevent telomere shortening and could even promote their elongation. Turmeric can be added to curries, soups and even smoothies or taken as a supplement. Other factors that preserve telomere length are physical activity, meditation and getting plenty of vitamin D. Stress and inflammation on the other hand are known to cause telomere shortening. For information on inflammation and how to reduce it through your diet click here.
Adopt a Plant-Based Diet
Animal protein stimulates a hormone in the body, which is needed for growth. However, this same hormone accelerates ageing as we get older, so the less animal products eaten the less this hormone will have its ageing effects. You don’t have to go full vegan or veggie to get the benefits, cutting down on meat will give some benefit and making simple swaps like almond milk for cow’s milk all help. The less animal products you eat the more benefits you’ll gain. Nuts have been shown to have especially good anti-ageing powers, so include a handful a day as a healthy snack or as a porridge or muesli topping. For more on how to anti-age your diet, click here.
Top Anti-Ageing Foods
Sunflower Seeds – contain even more vitamin E than avocadoes and almonds (although these are great too!). Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which neutralises free radicals that cause damage to collagen, leading to wrinkles and dry skin.
Brazil Nuts – the best source of anti-ageing selenium, which is needed for the body’s antioxidant defence systems. Also supports thyroid and immune functions.
Sweet Potatoes – purple sweet potatoes contain anti-ageing anthocyanins, which protect blood vessels. If you can’t find these other purple foods such as blueberries, black grapes, blackberries, red cabbage and aubergines also contain anthocyanins.
Green Tea – potent source of antioxidants, also increases metabolism and protects the brain and memory
Drink Beauty & Go Skin Revive
Beauty & Go Skin Revive contains key anti-ageing ingredients collagen and hyaluronic acid to help compensate for the natural losses that occur as we age. MacroAntioxidants provide powerful protection against free radical damage and other anti-ageing ingredients include pomegranate, raspberries, resveratrol, selenium and vitamin E.
I am going to tell you all about the wonderful botanical ingredient Ginkgo biloba. Also known as the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba is the world’s oldest living species of tree. Each individual tree can live for over a thousand years and grow up to 40 metres tall. Native to China, it also grows in America, Korea and closer to home in France. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is one of the most popular and well-known herbal ingredients used today. The leaves of the tree are used for their health-giving and medicinal properties.
Ginkgo has been traditionally used in China for more than four thousand years. The Chinese used it for its cognitive benefits, as a remedy for asthma and also ate the nuts for their ‘strengthening’ properties.
Today, scientists understand how ginkgo biloba works, and there are three key ways it produces beneficial effects in the body. Firstly it has a potent antioxidant effect, secondly it increases circulation and blood flow, and thirdly it makes blood less thick by mildly inhibiting blood platelets from clumping together.
Ginkgo biloba’s powerful antioxidant effect is due to the presence of high levels of flavonoids and other beneficial antioxidant substances called terpenoids. Antioxidants like these protect our cells, including the skin cells from environmental damage and the everyday ‘wear and tear’ that causes ageing. This damage is caused by ‘free radicals’ and the antioxidants literally mop them up to prevent them from causing damage. In addition, ginkgo can increase blood vessel dilation and stimulate blood flow to extremities of the body, including the skin. Improved circulation in the skin means more efficient delivery of oxygen and skin-feeding nutrients along with removal of waste products, which means less free radicals and healthier skin.
The effect on blood density means that ginkgo helps protect against circulatory diseases including atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries. Its antioxidant powers have been shown to help protect the blood vessels and cardiovascular system further, making it an all-round tonic for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
Ginkgo biloba keeps our eyes and vision healthy through its protective antioxidant effects. It has been shown to help improve vision and visual field damage in people suffering with the eye disease glaucoma1. There is also evidence that its eye protecting effects could benefit diabetics who routinely suffer with eye problems2 and also people with macular degeneration, a common age-related eye disease that can lead to blindness(3).
Ginkgo biloba’s ability to increase blood flow to the brain has been found in studies to enhance thinking ability and memory in healthy older adults. It is beneficial in helping to prevent age-related cognitive decline, which is the gradual reduction in brain function and memory that happens as we age. Studies have also found benefits for people suffering with anxiety and depression4 along with other more serious mental health and age-related brain conditions.
Other uses for ginkgo include for altitude sickness, vertigo, the skin complaint vitiligo and asthma. It is also commonly used in the treatment of migraines, PMS and tinnitus, although the scientific evidence is less conclusive for these conditions.
BEAUTY & GO SKIN VITALITY
Beauty & Go Vitality contains Ginkgo biloba along with other energising ingredients such as guarana, green tea, coenzyme Q10 and baobab. It makes the perfect ‘morning after’ energising pick-me-up, or for when you’ve had a few late nights and need a brain boost!
People taking blood-thinning medications should not take it regularly without consulting their doctor.
2. Lanthony P, Cosson JP. The course of color vision in early diabetic retinopathy treated with Ginkgo biloba extract. A preliminary double-blind versus placebo study. J Fr Ophtalmol 1988;11:671-4.
3. Lebuisson DA, Leroy L, Rigal G. Treatment of senile macular degeneration with Ginkgo biloba extract. A preliminary double-blind, drug versus placebo study. Presse Med 1986;15:1556-8.
4. Schubert H, Halama P. Depressive episode primarily unresponsive to therapy in elderly patients; efficacy of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) in combination with antidepressants. Geriatr Forsch 1993;3:45-53.
5. Sohn M, Sikora R. Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Sex Educ Ther 1991;17:53-61.
6. Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther 1998;24:139-43.
Beating Spring Asthenia
Spring is finally here, but this doesn’t mean everyone will be full of energy and ‘the joys of spring’. In fact, some alternative health practitioners believe in a concept known as ‘spring asthenia’ whereby the change in seasons can bring on mental and physical fatigue and weakness in some people. The lasting effects of ‘hibernating’ over winter, can certainly leave us feeling heavier, sluggish and in need of a pick me up at this time of year. Here is some advice on how to boost your energy levels and get that spring back in your step.
Feed Yourself the Right Nutrients
If your diet has been less healthy over winter, you could be lacking in one or more of these important energy nutrients.
Iron is needed for transporting oxygen around the body and a lack can lead to low energy, lethargy and a feeling of apathy. Women are especially prone, due to the iron lost each month during menstruation. Eating a little good quality read meat or plenty of the vegetarian sources (spinach, kale, other leafy greens, seeds, nuts, beans, wholegrains, dark chocolate and tofu) will keep you topped up. Having vitamin C rich foods at the same time will help the body to absorb more iron.
B vitamins are needed to release energy from food for use by cells of the body. Nuts, seeds, fish, whole-grains, peas, eggs, avocadoes & spinach are good sources and Beauty & Go Vitality contains vitamins B6 & B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can leave you feeling mentally foggy or exhausted and as it is only found in animal foods, can be a problem for vegans. Low B6 is associated with PMS and low mood and is needed to manufacture brain chemicals responsible for sleep, happiness and motivation.
Magnesium is needed for energy production and is also great for the nervous system and stress levels. Unfortunately many people in the UK don’t get enough of this important nutrient in their diets and factors such as stress, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars can cause magnesium to be lost from the body. Spinach, kale, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, lentils, whole-grains, avocadoes, bananas, dark chocolate are all good sources.
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance used by the body to convert food into energy. Under perfect conditions the body produces enough of its own, however stress can block production and levels naturally decline as we age. Sardines, mackerel, chicken, nuts, seeds, broccoli and spinach are good sources and one Beauty & Go Vitality contains as much as 120 sardines!
Dehydration is one of the quickest ways to see your mental and physical energy drop. Just 1-2% dehydration can lead to a 40% reduction in productivity, so drink up! We need 1.5-2 litres of fluids per day.
Balance Your Blood Sugar
Your energy is determined by the amount of glucose present in your bloodstream for your cells to use for energy. This includes cells of the brain as well as the body, so we are talking both physical and mental energy here, and our mood is also influenced by blood sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day keeps energy, mood and appetite stable. Here’s how:
- Regular Eating – don’t go longer than 4 hours without eating
- Complex Carbs such as oats, rye, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, sugar-free muesli, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and root vegetables such as beetroot, pumpkin and sweet potato release their energy slowly and gradually
- Protein combined with complex carbs is the KEY combination for balancing blood sugar. (Also include some healthy fats).
- Avoid sugar and refined carbs (white bread, white flour, white pasta, pastry, cakes, biscuits) which send blood sugar rocketing, followed by a low.
Energise Your Mind
Laugh with Friends or Watch a Funny Film
Anything that makes you laugh and focuses your mind on something positive for a period of time can have an energising effect. Build in time each week for activities like this to experience the energising effects – this kind of thing is just as important for our health and energy as diet and exercise, so make it a priority.
Copy the Happiest Country
Denmark is the happiest nation according to the UN’s happiness report, so looking to them for inspiration is a good idea. They have a word ‘hygge’ which can’t be translated, as we don’t have the same concept, but is similar in meaning to ‘cosiness’. Hygge encompasses revelling in life’s simple but important pleasures all year round, so things like candlelit suppers with friends, beautiful music or simply enjoying a luxuriant evening curled up with a great book and cashmere socks.
It will improve your circulation, give you more energy and help relieve stress or low mood. Being outside will also boost levels of the happy chemical serotonin and vitamin D. If your energy is low, start by going for a gentle walk outside and build up to fast walking or jogging if and when you can.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is an essential ingredient for good energy. 7-8 hours is optimal for most people and remember it’s not just about the hours you get, sleep quality counts too. For advice and tips on getting a good sleep, click here.
Take Regular Breaks
The human brain can only concentrate and work optimally in periods of 90 to 120 minutes. Take regular breaks in between for 10-15 minutes and your productivity and energy levels will increase! Get up and move during the break for even more of an energising effect.
Include a daily Beauty & Go SKIN VITALITY drink
This will help give you an energy boost due to its host of energising ingredients. The herb Ginkgo biloba increases circulation, including to the brain, helping support brain function and memory. Guarana has natural stimulating properties, along with Coenzyme Q10, B vitamins and energising superfood Baobab.
The human body is made up of approximately 60% water, the brain is 75% water and our blood is 83%. We are continually losing water over the day through urine, sweat and in our breath as vapour. This water has to be replaced, as the body cannot store water. In fact, the human body can last weeks without food but only days without water; water is absolutely essential to life.
Essential Functions of Water
- Acts as a delivery system, taking nutrients to cells and removing waste
- Forms the base of many bodily fluids such as blood and saliva
- Helps regulate body temperature
- Forms fluid surrounding joints
- Needed for digestion, softening and dissolving food components
- Essential for normal bowel movements and preventing constipation
- Keeps skin hydrated
Dehydration can result from not drinking enough, from losing too much fluid through sweat – for example in hot temperatures or when exercising for long periods, or from vomiting and diarrhoea when we are unwell. The cells of the body cannot function properly without water and a drop in our body’s water levels can trigger the following symptoms of dehydration:
- Loss of concentration
- Mood changes and slow responses
- Light headedness or dizziness
- Dry mouth and throat
- Dry skin
- Dry and cracked lips
Furthermore, if the body is continually dehydrated there is a risk of more serious problems such as constipation, urinary tract infections and kidney stones. The simplest way to tell if you are getting enough is to check the colour of your urine – it should be light in colour, dark urine is a sure sign you need to drink up.
Energy and Exercise Performance
Dehydration is one for the fastest routes to low energy; a drop in body water of just 1 or 2 percent can result in your energy levels dropping significantly. And it’s not just physical energy, its mental energy too; ability to think clearly, mood, concentration and memory all suffer when we are dehydrated. If you feel your energy or concentration is flagging, a glass of water may be all you need to perk up. Water is also essential for exercise performance, as your muscles cannot function properly without adequate fluids.
Appetite and Weight
The feeling of being thirsty is often mistaken for hunger, particularly as we get older as the thirst mechanism declines with age. Therefore, drinking plenty of water can actually help with appetite control.
Water ‘pre-loading’ (drinking water before meals) can help you to eat less and is a relatively easy habit to implement if trying to lose weight. A 2015 study for example, found that simply drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes before each meal, helped overweight adults lose an extra 1.3kg in 12 weeks (1). Foods with a high water content will also help keep us feeling full and help appetite control; fruit and vegetables, porridge and soups are especially good for this.
Water is important to remove waste products from the body and to help the body process and get rid of any toxins. The kidneys require plenty of water to filter and remove impurities and waste from the blood. The liver, your body’s main detoxification organ also needs water to neutralise harmful substances so they can be safely removed from the body. Adding a squeeze of lemon to your water will further stimulate the liver’s detoxification pathways.
Dehydration causes the skin to become dry, and look dull and even makes wrinkles look worse. Staying well hydrated is essential for your skin to stay radiant, to help prevent acne and to generally look and function at its best. Fluid retention also occurs when the body is short on fluids, as it hangs on to the precious water it does have – this can make skin look puffy and can make you feel bloated all over. When we drink plenty of water, it helps the body rid itself of excess sodium and ironically reduces water retention.
Women need around 2 litres of fluid per day, while men require 2.5 litres to stay hydrated. We do get some of this from foods, so a woman eating 7 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day, for example, may only need 1.5 litres. However, requirements will increase in hot temperatures or if exercising.
Tips and Help
Simply keeping a bottle of water on your desk at work, or filling a jug of water to drink during the day at home can help you drink more. Seeing it is a reminder and it also means you can easily monitor how much you have drunk, compared with trying to keep score of how many glasses you’ve had.
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plain water, preferably filtered or mineral water. However other drinks such as spa water, diluted fruit juice, vegetable juice, herbal and fruit teas can be included for variety.
It is not good to drink gallons of water with a meal, as this will dilute the digestive juices making them less effective. Limit yourself to a glass of water with meals if possible.
It is not good to drink gallons of water with a meal, as this will dilute the digestive juices making them less effective. Limit yourself to a glass of water with meals if possible.
Try the following for some variety
- Simply add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water
- Spa Water – add slices of fruit and herbs to water and leave in a jug or bottle overnight for the flavours to infuse into the water. Try orange and lemon slices, strawberry and basil, mint and cucumber or make your own combinations.
- Steepers – like spa water but with hot water – apple slices and a cinnamon stick or ginger with lemon are great.
- Make a juice with mostly vegetables and a little bit of fruit to sweeten; cucumber and celery are both high in water and work well. Cucumber, pear and mint is a refreshing combination, apple, carrot, celery and parsley is also good.
- Some good herbal and fruit teas are: Pukka vanilla chai (caffeine free), Pukka Apple and cinnamon, Teapigs Rhubarb and ginger
- 1-3 daily Beauty & Go drinks will contribute to your fluid intake as well as feeding you and your skin with essential nutrients, antioxidants and skin-feeding superfoods.