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Spring Clean Your Health

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Right, put your coats/wellies away, it’s time to spring into a new and healthier you now that the sunshine’s on its way. our experts tell you how you can live better with some small adjustments…

Switch up your workout

The promise of an improvement in the weather should encourage you to take your workout outside, or try something new. “For example, 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!” says nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns. 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 complement to HIIT classes for fat loss or weight control.”

Welcome youthful spring skin

If your skin has felt the effects of a harsh winter you could improve its wellbeing by tweaking what you eat. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.glenvillenutrition.com) explains, “what we eat has an effect on the mechanisms that are associated with the 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 daily. Our skin regenerates every two-four weeks so changes may be seen after this time.”

Put a spring in your step with seaweed

Seaweed has multiple health benefits and there are a range of snacks ideal for healthy living. “Seaweed can support your metabolism, where the body uses iodine – a mineral that’s particularly abundant in seaweed, to make thyroid hormones,” says nutritional therapist Fiona Lawson. “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.”

Jump on the CBD trend

CBD (Cannabidiol) products have become increasingly popular and 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. “We’re living in an age of wellness awareness,” says Lawson. “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.”

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. “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,” explains Barns. “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).

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