Does your skin need some TLC?

Does your skin need some TLC?

Phil No Comments

It is perhaps no surprise that after the past year our skin is revealing the stress that we have been feeling with research showing that many people have been suffering with anxiety who previously had never had such concerns before. One of the first places that this sort of stress shows is in our skin as we come out in rashes and breakouts more frequently than normal. The beauty companies have used this as an opportunity to push products that are purported to heal our skin and bring back that healthy glow that we all desire.

One of the most recent developments is cica balms which have been used for centuries to treat irritation and heal skin. Searches for cica products online have rocketed in recent months as users want to firm, repair or soothe their skin.

Barrier creams have become necessary to protect the skin on our hands as we are all washing our hands more frequently and using drying hand sanitiser. The best ones contain lipids that mimic the natural composition of the skin and help to retain moisture keeping our hands hydrated throughout the day.

For those concerned with healthy skin care the next big thing is electrolytes. They are designed to provide a deeper level of hydration to the skin by conducting electricity when mixed with water, enabling cells to regulate pH levels and keep the body’s hydration system in check.

Make this year your healthiest year yet

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Instead of dwelling on the problems and difficulties of last year some people are using it to motivate them to make big changes in their lives and to think more seriously about their health and fitness. Even small changes such as reducing the amount of sugar in the diet, taking more regular exercise or making time in the day for some mindfulness can result in losing weight, feeling an increased level of fitness and better mental health.

A popular activity for those who want to improve their stamina and get out in the fresh air is running or jogging. There are many benefits to running on a regular basis such as strengthening leg muscles and improving cardiovascular health and many people enjoy the challenge of running further and further each day. There are lots of brilliant running apps that can be downloaded onto a phone, often for free that can be used as a way to motivate the runner using voice prompts and music.

If running is not an activity that you enjoy or you can not run due to health issues a much gentler exercise but equally as good for you is yoga. There are various types of yoga out there some which are more challenging than others, so it is a good idea to start with the basics and build up to more challenging moves and poses. Even if it is not possible to attend a class there are many online videos to follow to get you started. An essential part of yoga is the focusing of the mind and many people believe that it is this that helps to reduce anxiety levels and improve their feelings of wellbeing.

A large part of keeping healthy is about what we eat but this does not necessarily mean going on a diet in fact many people find that simply changing the way they think about food can have a dramatic effect on their health. Whereas a few years ago it was all about reducing the fat in our diet current thinking suggests that reducing the sugar in our food intake is much more beneficial to our general health, improving energy levels and sleep quality. Lots of processed foods have added sugar and so it is sensible to check the labels to see just how much sugar is in a food product and consider whether there is a lower sugar choice.

The benefits of vitamins to our general health

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When shoppers visit the medicine aisle at their local supermarket they are met with a vast array of vitamins and mineral supplements ranging from those that are for specific ailments or conditions or those that are for general health and wellbeing. Distinct health food stores have an even wider range of products for the health-conscious shopper to select from so what are the benefits of incorporating vitamin and mineral supplements into our diet?

One of the most important things to realise is that these products are called supplements for a reason and that is that they should be taken in addition to having a well-balanced, nutritious diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and as little processed food as possible. Some scientists maintain that if our diet is good then we do not need these supplements, but unfortunately modern farming methods and food production has in some cases reduced the amount of nutrients that were found naturally in our foods. It must be said on the other hand that some vitamins are added to common foodstuffs to increase the amount of minerals and vitamins available to us such as fortified cereals and bread and calcium enriched dairy produce.

Vitamins taken regularly after an illness along with a healthy diet may help to support the body in its recovery and as such are a useful way to boost the body’s natural defences.

Eat your greens to aid digestion

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If you want to change the way you eat to incorporate more vegetables one of the healthiest greens to eat is kale as it is full of vitamins and nutrients. It has become increasingly popular especially so at this time of the year when it is in season and can be easily bought. This fibrous leafy green is great for digestion as it helps your body process what you eat efficiently while its high iron content is beneficial particularly if you do not eat read meat regularly.

If you try to follow a Mediterranean diet rich in onions, peppers and tomatoes, kale fits well alongside these and is a firm favourite of the Italians who incorporate the vegetable into many Italian dishes.

Adding kale to a meal can be a quick an easy way to add vitamins to your diet and it is so simple to prepare. Pan fry kale with a little olive oil for a few minutes adding garlic if desired or drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven until crispy.

If you are a fan of smoothies, a handful of kale blended with banana, pineapple and avocado gives a delicious, healthy smoothie to start the day.

Easy ways to stay fit during lockdown

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As we find ourselves in another lockdown in the UK with restrictions placed on our exercise outdoors and gyms and leisure centres closed it is important to find ways to stay fit that we can do at home. Even though there may be limited space in most people’s homes it is still possible to do some exercise.

For people living in a house with stairs there is a ready-made way of doing aerobic exercise by simply walking up and down the stairs multiple times or by stepping up and down the first step repeatedly. This can raise the heart rate and increase blood flow to vital organs. Remember to always wear trainers or other appropriate footwear when exercising at home and do not be tempted to wear slippers.

Even if mobility is an issue there are still ways to exercise at home with ordinary household items such as cans of food used as weights or a by placing a ball under your feet whilst sitting down and rolling it away from you and back again.

Yoga and Pilates are easy to do at home and there are many online examples that can be followed for beginners. This way of keeping fit can also boost mood and mental wellbeing an essential aspect of staying health through lockdown.