Healthy skin

HEALTH:

As one of the largest organs in the body, our skin benefits from fitness and good nutrition as much as our heart and other major organs.

You can use as many expensive creams and lotions as you like, but it is what you put in to your body that will have the most profound effect.

EXERCISE:

Adding an exercise routine to your beauty regime can firstly calm and rejuvenate the skin by reducing your stress levels. This tends to quieten the adrenal glands, which mediates testosterone- related hormone release and helps control skin flare ups.

Physical activity also increases circulation and blood flow to the skin, giving your skin a plumped healthy glow and influencing the natural production of collagen, a connective tissue that creates the support fibres that help keep wrinkles and lines at bay.

NUTRITION:

Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin – it helps new tissues to grow and repairs existing tissues. If you are deficient in vitamin A then your skin can take on a rough texture and keratin deposits can form around hair follicles on the tops of arms and thighs.

Try to eat more oily fish, orange or yellow vegetables and low fat dairy products if you suspect you are deficient.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Fantastic fish oils

HEALTH:

When the words oil and fat are mentioned, dieters tend to run for cover. However, what many fail to realise is that the essential fatty acids found in oily fish produce hormones that regulate digestion and insulin production.

Insulin reduces fat used for fuel instead promoting fat storage, so by choosing the right fats, you can actually boost weight loss.

EXERCISE:

Studies indicate that a combination of moderate exercise and regular consumption of oily
fish can help to significantly reduce the total proportion of fat in the body, particularly in
the abdominal region.

It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids increase the elasticity of blood vessel walls and flow of nutrients to muscles during each workout. Exercise equivalent to taking a 45-minutes three times a week appears sufficient to produce this benefit.

NUTRITION:

For a healthy, omega 3-rich snack, try blending one 125g can of mackerel fillets (in olive oil), 1 tbsp cooked chickpeas, 1tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp chilli flakes, 3 tbsp chopped parsley and the juice of 1 lemon in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper and serve as a pâté on ryvita or oatcakes.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Good fat, bad fat

HEALTH:

We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free, low fat options in the snack aisle at the supermarket. But how healthy are they really?

When fat is removed, more sugar is generally added to improve taste and appeal to consumer’s taste buds. An excess of sugar in the diet triggers the over-secretion of our fat storage hormone, insulin; so while our low-fat options have steadily increased, so have obesity rates.

EXERCISE:

High intensity interval training – involving a mix of intense effort followed by bouts of recovery – is one of the most effective ways to burn excess body fat in the gym.

To get the most out of an interval session you must ensure that you really push yourself, then ease right off during the recovery periods. Try a 2:2 work/rest ratio to start with and then gradually decrease the length of your rest periods as your stamina improves. You will soon see the benefits.

NUTRITION:

Are you fat-phobic? Essential fatty acids actually help to balance the key hormones that exert control over your weight and should never be avoided.

To increase your essential fatty acid intake, up your intake of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines. If you’re vegetarian or not keen on fish, take a good quality essential fatty acid supplement (such as Eskimo 3 stable fish oil or Solgar’s fish oil concentrate) or try adding a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to your morning smoothie or mixed into dips and salad dressings.

© Sarah West Nutrition