The winter weather is rapidly approaching, and with the country now in another lockdown, there has never been a better time to really start looking after yourself.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her top tips for being kind to yourself including improving sleep, enjoying greater energy levels and having glowing skin.
Sleep – the cornerstone of wellness
Getting sufficient sleep is essential to feeling energised and having healthy glowing skin. Everything suffers health-wise with a lack of sleep, including how we look and feel. If you’re struggling to sleep (as so many people are right now), the most important thing is to look to your diet in order to make some improvements.
The mineral magnesium is incredibly calming so try to eat foods rich in magnesium for dinner including beans, tofu, green leafy vegetables and nuts, which will all help improve sleep.
The amino acid tryptophan is important because it helps produce melatonin, our key sleep hormone. Milk (soya, dairy and almond milks) contain tryptophan which is why having a warm milky drink before bedtime can be so effective.
Additionally, almonds contain melatonin, (as do cashews and pistachios, in lesser amounts) making them a very effective pre-bedtime snack. Milk and nuts also contain calcium, another calming mineral. Just by taking a little care and being kind to yourself, can make a whole lot of difference to how you sleep.
Energy – feed it to your body
Do you feel tired all the time? Firstly, be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have the energy to do things. It’s hard to feel energised and motivated when we are all in a state of flux. However, there are some particularly energising nutrients that can certainly help.
Enter the family of B-vitamins which all generate energy, primarily from the food we eat. They are widely found in a range of foods especially whole grains, meat, fruit and vegetables and beans – in fact, in all healthy foods! If your diet is colourful and varied, then you should be getting what the body needs and this will help boost energy levels.
‘White’ foods such as pastries, cakes, white rice, pasta and bread contain very little in the way of B-vitamins and will upset blood sugar levels, stripping energy rather than topping it up. Being kind to your body is about fuelling it with as much nourishment as you can at each mealtime.
Skin – radiate from within
How your skin looks and feels mainly comes from within. If what you’re putting in isn’t right, it will show in your skin which may look dull and lifeless. Being kind to your skin means providing it with specific beauty vitamins such as biotin, rich in eggs, beans, nuts and liver. Plus, collagen, the body’s main structural protein, naturally declines with age, and a lack of which can leave the skin looking dull and less springy.
It’s important for all body systems and especially the skin to eat plenty of protein each day; include some at every meal – think eggs, meat, poultry, beans, nuts, dairy or fish. This will also help collagen production. Additionally, there are plenty of collagen supplements on the market, to further boost levels.
Collagen also needs vitamin C in order to work efficiently, so make sure you’re eating at least the recommended five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant protecting skin from free radical damage which is responsible for the ageing process. Your skin will certainly appreciate some kindness.
So, treat yourself to some kindness and it will really improve the way you look and feel, both now and in the future.
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