The 20th of March marks the first day of spring, so what better time to spring clean your health and feel your best – after all those sunny days are on their way. Our experts offer their advice and recommendations to help you prepare your health for the changing of seasons, helping to make you feel that spring truly has sprung…
1. Switch up your workout
Should the promise of an improvement in the weather encourage you to take your workout outside or try something new, Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns suggests, “If your 5k runs are going well, consider signing up for a 10k.
Working towards a new goal will motivate you to train harder and improve your fitness further. You’ll be surprised at how easy the 5k seems after that!” As well as this, if you’ve been participating in a HIIT class since the New Year Cassandra explains how to boost this, “HIIT classes and cardio-type exercise such as cycling can be great for your cardiovascular health, and for burning lots of calories, but incorporating weight training or a strength training class into your workouts too can have other benefits.
First, it can be better than cardio exercise for boosting metabolism outside your workout, making it the ideal compliment to HIIT classes for fat loss or weight control.”
Top tip: Try the new NHP Cardio Support (£25.78, www.naturalhealthpractice.com) to help with the prevention of
cardiovascular disease. High levels of homocysteine in the blood have been shown to increase the risk of damaging the lining of the arteries and this can contribute to heart disease and stroke. It is important to have good levels of the three B vitamins, vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid (as the active methylfolate) in order to keep homocysteine in the normal range.
2. Welcome youthful spring skin
If your skin has felt the effects of a harsh winter you could improve its wellbeing starting with what you eat. The UK’s leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar Dr Marilyn Glenville (www.glenvillenutrition.com) explains, “what we eat has an effect on the mechanisms that are associated with ageing of the body and these benefits will be reflected not only in terms of good health but also in the condition of the skin. Vitamin C is the most important nutrient as this vitamin helps in the manufacturing of collagen. So, a good intake of fruits and vegetables is important and should be eaten on a daily basis. Our skin regenerates every 2-4 weeks so changes may be seen after this time.”
3. Put a spring in your step with seaweed
Seaweed has multiple health benefits and itsu’s new Korean BBQ crispy seaweed thins (RRP £1.00, available at Tesco nationwide are ideal for healthy snacking. Nutritional Therapist Fiona Lawson is working in association with itsu and explains “Seaweed can support your metabolism, where the body uses iodine – a mineral that’s particularly abundant in seaweed, to make thyroid hormones.
As well as influencing growth and cell repair, these important hormones control your metabolism. It can also help your gut- by dry weight; the amount of fibre in seaweed is higher than most fruit and vegetables.
Fibre is essential not only for ensuring smooth digestion, but it can also help to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Further to this, seaweed can help to combat stress! Whenever we feel stressed (emotionally or physically), our body uses B vitamins.
It’s therefore important that we eat enough B vitamins to support our stress resilience. Seaweed can help: it contains good amounts of many of the B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and folate.” With its extensive list of benefits, itsu’s crispy seaweed thins provide the ideal springtime snack.
4. Jump on the CBD trend
Why not try something new this spring- CBD (Cannabidiol) products have become increasingly popular and common-this is set to continue throughout 2019. There are now a number of dietary supplements, beauty products, beverages and even foods, which have incorporated the CBD health benefits.
Fiona explains, “We’re living in an age of wellness awareness. People are both interested in maintaining health, and are more inclined to choose a natural approach – so the popularity of CBD will no doubt increase.
I’d recommend the brand new Cannabigold classic 500MG CBD oil (£29.90, www.bionativa.co.uk), as firstly its unique extraction method means that it’s able to draw the cannabidiol from the Cannabis sativa plant, without the use of any questionable chemicals or solvents.
Secondly, CannabiGold is committed to rigorous testing to check both the strength and the purity of its products. Many other manufacturers don’t have such strict standards, which means their formulations can be both weaker and more contaminated than their product labels let on”.
5. Get your gut in gear
The gut has been described as the second brain and for good reason – its health can have numerous effects on your overall wellbeing. Cassandra explains, “Our stomach is made up of good and bad bacteria, called gut flora, which have a controlling influence over many bodily functions, including metabolism and fat reduction.
However, our lifestyle habits (taking antibiotics, having a diet high in sugar, feeling stressed) can contribute to damaging our gut bacteria, so it’s important to limit the bad bacteria and encourage the good bacteria to grow.Feed the good bacteria with fibrous foods and probiotics, which you can find in fermented foods or support your gut health this spring with a supplement, such as Natures Plus GI Natural Powder (£32.95 www.naturesplus.co.uk).