Herbfacts

Holiday Health: Beauty and the Beach

As the weather hots up, we all want to look as good as possible in our shorts and swimwear.

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke shares some great tips of how to get beach-prepped and ready to holiday!

Summer is here and that means ditching the leggings and jumpers for summer dresses and bikinis. For many of us, however, the prospect of exposing bare arms, legs and midriffs can be daunting. Let’s be honest, who feels they look their best as summer starts? Skin can look pallid, dry and lacklustre after being covered up for so long. You might have also gained a few unwanted pounds over winter.

The good news is, it doesn’t take a gruelling exercise and diet regime to get ready for that well-deserved beach break, and you don’t have to spend your entire salary in expensive beauty salons.

Here are my tips for looking and feeling great this summer.

DETOX WITH HERBS

Dandelion

This bitter but refreshing herb makes a wonderful tea and when it comes to detoxing the liver is key. Why? It increases bile production helping to break down fats and reducing cholesterol.

Milk thistle

A healthy liver is vital for a healthy digestive system so if you suffer from constipation and bloating, your liver and digestive system are probably sluggish and in need of a boost for summer. Enter milk thistle, which helps the liver repair itself and works well combined with dandelion. It’s especially good if you’ve been indulging in too much alcohol and rich food, which can put a huge strain on the liver.

Nettle

Made into a tea, nettle can help if you suffer from fluid retention. Its diuretic action helps the body rid itself of excess water and has a detoxing effect on the kidneys. It can also be beneficial if you suffer from seasonal allergies.

Cleavers

This fantastic herb helps to stimulate the lymphatic system. If the lymph system gets overrun due to toxic overload, lack of activity and illness, lymph fluid backs up. This can cause fluid retention, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, nausea and fatigue – just what you don’t want on your summer break.

EAT WISELY

Steer clear of crash diets and juice-only fasts, which result in muscle loss leaving you feeling low in energy and irritable. Balance is key and you need a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Refined sugars and carbohydrates play havoc with our waistlines, too, so give them a miss if you can.

It is a myth that eating fat makes you fat. It’s all about getting the right fats. Try to avoid animal fats found in dairy and red meat and refined fats in biscuits and pastries. Instead, eat plenty of good fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados and oily fish. Opt for healthy whole grains such as rice and quinoa. Good quality proteins can be found in lean cuts of meat, eggs, nuts, tofu, pulses and fish.

Finally, get creative with salads and include them in every meal. Try adding some edible flowers such as violas and nasturtiums for colour and variety.

BRUSH UP ON SKINCARE

Body brushing is a great way to slough off dead skin cells and stimulate the lymphatic system. It can also help to improve the appearance of cellulite. Always brush toward the heart. Moisturising daily will help the skin to look healthy and youthful. Try one with a gradual self-tan for a golden pre-holiday glow.

HYDRATE WELL

Dehydration makes our systems sluggish resulting in headaches, tiredness, poor concentration and bad skin. So try to drink at least two litres of water a day.

KEEP MOVING

Regular exercise is essential for weight management and a healthy toned body as well as helping to protect against health problems such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Aerobic exercise helps raise your resting metabolic rate whilst resistance training using weights will help to keep you toned.