Shape up fast and get your body looking toned and terrific in time for summer.
Uh-oh – summer is just around the corner, but you’ve been hibernating under heavy clothing, probably eating a bit too much comfort food and you’ve haven’t hit the gym in months. You are not alone! Follow our 10 easy health and beauty hacks, and you’ll soon be swimsuit-ready.
1. Love your liver:
Kickstart a spring detox by drinking a fresh juice made with beetroot, apple and leafy greens every morning. Make it even more nutritious with a spoonful of Vital Greens: this contains a treasure trove of superfoods, antioxidants and herbs, such as spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, wheatgrass and barley leaf.
2. Boost good bugs
Research shows that one of the keys to effective weight loss lies in restoring and maintaining the balance of probiotic and prebiotic gut bacteria. Eat gut-friendly fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and live yoghurt, and add nutritional insurance by taking a probiotic supplement daily.
3. Be cool:
Focus on anti-inflammatory foods that have a cleansing and alkalising effect on the body, such as cucumber, lemon and celery. These foods have a very high water content, which helps to flush out toxins. They also provide natural electrolytes, including potassium and magnesium, which may be lost through perspiration as the weather warms up.
4. Eat clean:
Cut back on sugar, alcohol and processed foods; instead, plan meals around leafy greens, fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, organic meat, legumes and whole grains like buckwheat and brown rice.
5. Excellent eggs:
Eggs are versatile, convenient and quick-to-prepare – they can be eaten hot or cold, as a snack or a main meal. They are also regarded as the gold standard in highly bio-available sources of protein, which is essential for building and repairing body tissues and regulating appetite by keeping you feeling fuller, for longer. Not a fan of eggs? Get your daily protein requirements by adding a spoonful of high quality protein powder to your morning juice.
6. Herbal helpers:
Stodgy winter food and too much time curled up on the couch can result in a sluggish metabolism. Herbs have long been used to support the body’s natural cleansing and detoxification functions. Try matcha green tea to crank up your metabolism and aid fat-burning. Other flab-busting herbs include ginger, chillies and fenugreek.
7. Brush up:
Body brushing is a simple naturopathic technique to improve skin tone, target cellulite and remove the dead cells that make skin look dull. Lightly brush your body with a natural bristle brush every morning before you get in the shower, using small circular movements and always moving in the direction of the heart. Team this technique with a little D-I-Y hydrotherapy by switching the water to cold at the end of your shower to stimulate circulation and give your skin a glow.
8. Strike a pose:
Yoga is a wonderful way to tone and strengthen your body. To firm up flabby upper arms, practice Downward Dog pose (Adho mukha svanasana), where you place your hands and feet on the floor and lift your bottom skyward. If your tummy could do with a little tightening, try Boat Pose (Naukasana), by balancing on your bottom and holding your legs up in the air with your arms stretched out in front of you.
9. Pamper yourself:
Body exfoliation boosts lymphatic drainage, speeds removal of toxins, eases stress and tension and improves skin tone. Use a natural body scrub twice a week in the shower to gently buff skin and stimulate the production of healthy, dewy new skin cells. Pat skin dry with a soft towel and lavish it with a generous dollop of a rich nourishing body lotion or oil every day. Look for organic brands that contain botanical extracts like ivy and birch to counteract sagging, and almond, rosehip and argan oils to deeply penetrate and moisturise skin.
10. Add ACV:
Apple cider vinegar has a time-honoured traditional use as a health tonic. Modern research suggests it may also assist weight loss by lowering blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn improves metabolism and favours increased fat burning. In one study of obese diabetic rats, published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, those animals given apple cider vinegar extract showed a significant increase in the gene expression responsible for belly and liver fat storage, which resulted in less body fat build-up. Add one to two tablespoons to a smoothie or juice.