Many of us slack in the winter months.
The days are shorter, they’re dark and they’re cold… of course we would much rather spend our evenings and weekends at home than bear the elements (unless it’s to go to a winter wedding!).
The fact we tend to eat more (how delicious was that Christmas dinner?) combined with this sudden lack of energy or enthusiasm to do much else other than cosy with our other half on the sofa in front of Strictly – just watching that show burns calories, surely? – it’s not surprising that our emotional and physical well-being could use a little TLC by spring time.
I’ve put together a few tips to hurry along your summer glow – from natural beauty hacks, to the right food to help maintain and enhance your natural beauty. Research shows to achieve a healthy body, the food you eat is just as essential as the products you put onto it!
Our skin is a reflection of how well we take care of our bodies, inside and out – and both are affected by stress, hormones, junk food and weather, to name just a few.
The healthy glow…
Research shows that those who consume more fruit and vegetables every day have a natural golden skin colour. It just so happens that the chemical compounds in bright coloured natural foods such as red peppers, pumpkins and carrots, can also give also you a golden hue! These fruits and vegetables have high levels of carotenoids, which give them (and us) their colour. Other good sauces to boost your natural glow are sweet potatoes, melons, apricots, and green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.
You may want to sit down for this, but… dark chocolate helps you on your way to natural dewy radiance – all down to the antioxidants within the comforting and heavenly goodness, which improve circulation to the skin. This means the nutrients in your blood can nurture your complexion. Go for the darkest you can – over 70% at least!
Just like the skin, the condition of your hair and nails is an outward sign of your overall health. Each cell in a strand of your hair requires a regular supply of nutrients.
Stronger nails, thicker hair…
Protein, iron and zinc are the key ingredients to healthy, thick hair. If you go for red meat, do so no more than once a week – a portion the size of the palm of your hand is plenty! Poultry is a healthier choice. It contains zinc, iron, and vitamin B12, which all help your delicate hair to grow strong, while avoiding excessive shedding.
If you like to keep things plant-based, opt for pumpkin seeds, lentils and kidney beans. These are an excellent source of protein, as well as iron, zinc, and biotin – a great alternative for vegetarians. Blueberries are also a great way to get in those extra antioxidants too – they’re high in vitamin C, which aids the absorption of iron. Other good fruits we can’t ignore
(for the sake of those shiny wedding-day locks) are kiwis, strawberries, oranges and papaya.
Some of the main reasons for dry lips can be dehydration, sun exposure, harsh weather and vitamin deficiency. Think of them as a sponge – when they’re put in contact with moisture, they plump up. When dehydrated, they dry and shrink.
For this reason, make sure you’re drinking enough water. Find ways to sneak water into your daily routine – some people even have apps to remind them to drink up!
Also ensure that you protect your lips before you go out into the cold OR hot weather – a great way to help repair and prevent further dryness.
You can apply Aloe Vera gel to heal them quickly and relieve the stinging. To nourish them further, coconut oil works a treat! If you’re a chronic lip biter like me, chances are you really suffer in the winter months. Try this nifty trick – mix up some coconut oil and brown sugar, and make your very own lip exfoliator! It works a treat to get rid of any dead skin, and it tastes delicious…
Cucumber is one of the better known home remedies for dark under-eye circles, and is an effective way to brighten tired eyes. Cucumber contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce any puffiness around your eyes. Top tip – keep a yummy dip nearby to further make use of cucumbers.
Strawberries are considered a great anti-aging fruit – they are full of antioxidants. They can cure tired and puffy eyes and enhance the whiteness of your eyes naturally. Place a sliced frozen strawberry under each eye for five minutes, wash and moisturise. Hello, bright eyes!
You should also help to keep your eyes hydrated by avoiding staring at computer screens for too long! Of course, it’s pretty unavoidable in today’s culture, but try to give them a rest every 50 to 60 minutes.
Baking soda is well known for working wonders at scrubbing away the stains on our teeth. Dampen your toothbrush, dab in the powder and brush with water for two minutes every other day or so.
Your diet makes a big difference, too. Avoid the acidic foods that damage your teeth. Swap your snacks around and start scoffing foods with teeth-cleaning properties like strawberries, almonds and cheese. These help to maintain whiteness over a time. Don’t forget (but I’ll forgive you if you do) to cut out the coffee and red wine. Two words: teeth staining (and another two words – soul destroying).
Finally, oil pulling. Another great use for coconut oil, although you can use sesame and sunflower if you prefer. It’s an ancient practice of swishing oil around your mouth to draw out toxins. It has many benefits of improved oral hygiene, but also gives you a whiter smile.