With summer in full swing many of us are hoping to improve our health and appearance before the fairer weather encourages us to expose a little more skin, and with advances in non-invasive treatments, tricks and nutrition that promise to make you feel and look better and younger, I thought it was time to investigate further…
It’s no secret that eating plenty of fruit and veg and drinking lots of water energises you and does wonders for your skin, but for those with busy, stressful lives, supplements can be a welcome helping hand to keep us topped up with the good stuff. Here’s my pick of some of the latest health and beauty boosters (as featured in the June issue of Cambridge Edition magazine).
Green drinks & beauty blending
If you’re a fan of Pinterest and Instagram, chances are you’ll have noticed the trend for green drinks and beautiful looking health smoothies – displayed in Mason jars with pretty paper straws. I’m jumping all over this trend. If, like me, your busy lifestyle makes it hard to get your five-a-day, introducing a blended drink offers a super convenient way of getting a health kick. A dedicated tool like the Nutribullet (from £99.99, buynutribullet.co.uk) or the Kenwood Sport2Go (£22.50, Tesco) makes it easy to whizz up raw vegetables and fruits with water for a healthy, vitalising drink. Impressively, the Nutribullet even breaks down and pulverises stems, seeds and skins where some of the essential nutrition lies. And don’t be afraid of the green, I was amazed at how nice kale and spinach tasted in an ice-cooled beverage.
We keep hearing about collagen – not the type pumped into trout pouts, but the digestible kind. So one of our lovely testers tried out Qsilica’s PRO COLLAGEN (£29.95, qsilica.co.uk), reporting that “after a couple of weeks of taking the tablets, there was a noticeable improvement in the plumpness and vitality of my skin, as if I’d been getting more sleep.”
If you prefer a drink to a tablet, Wassen’s We Beautify Collagen powder sachets can be mixed with water – or green drinks (£19.99, Boots). Or try the Skin Collagen Support supplements (£22, feelunique.com) from the Advanced Nutrition Programme, a combination of vitamins and plant extracts providing the key building blocks for collagen.
Nutritional supplement boosts
Anti-oxidant has become a common word on health and beauty products, and these wonder-molecules have been proven to counter the damaging effects of the free radicals blamed for ageing skin. Adding blueberries and green tea to your diet is a good way to get anti-oxidants into your diet, but powder supplements offer a convenient, concentrated boost.
Anti-oxidant values are measured on the ORAC scale, with blueberries scoring 5905 and green tea 1253 respectively. With nearly ten times the ORAC value of blueberries, raw cacao powder used in chocolate could be a good addition to your diet. That’s not an excuse to stuff your face with chocolate, which contains relatively little raw cacao and plenty of sugar. Instead, I tried BodyMe’s organic cacao powder, which is produced from beans dried naturally and processed raw to avoid any loss of nutritional goodness (from £3.99, bodyme.co.uk).
Healthy hair & nails
For super shiny locks, keep heat styling to a minimum, use a natural conditioning treatment once in a while like MiaFlora’s Coconut Oil (£8.99, Holland & Barrett), and when washing, rinse with a cold blast of water at the end – but to help growth and strength there are plenty of supplements available too.
Nourkrin offer a choice specifically designed for targeted age ranges. The Active 20+ is for women over the age of 20 with an on-the-go lifestyle – balancing family, friends, career and fitness, etc. Active 45+ is for when hair loss and thinning can become a serious concern, often as a result of daily stressors and hormonal change – a reduction in oestrogen and increase in testosterone during the menopause and perimenopausal stages (both from £29.99, nourkin.co.uk).
For an all-in-one job, try Perfectil Triple Active (90 tablets for £19.99, Boots) with vitamins B2 and B3 and biotin as well as selenium and zinc for stronger nails and radiant skin.
If you’re new to green drinks, the trick is to include banana or avocado (or both!) to keep the taste mild and creamy. Try this recipe in the morning and sip throughout the day for balanced energy:
• 1 handful spinach
• 1 handful kale
• 1 banana
• half an avocado
• 1/8 cup cashews
• 1 kiwi
• generous squeeze of fresh lime
Or for a healthy alternative to sugary cereals or snack bars in the morning, try this tasty breakfast smoothie, following the same preparation method as above:
• 1 large banana
• 1 cup blueberries or strawberries
• 1 cup of oats
• 1/4 cup of hazelnuts, or a spoon of peanut butter
• 1tsp chia seeds
• unsweetened almond milk to blend